Can’t Help Falling In Love (Our Story)

love post

We’re often asked what our “love story” is, and I usually share the short version. Because, well, the long version is just realllly long. So, for those who want to read the long version (who haven’t read/heard it yet), here you go! Be sure to grab a large cup of coffee! You’ll need it! 🙂

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Some people say we’re crazy. Some say our relationship was a whirlwind, taken too fast. Others say it’s like a perfect storybook romance. We say we are just two people completely and totally in love, eternally blessed by an all-too gracious God.

Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamt about a prince charming who would come and sweep me away. The idea that “cooties” were bad never occurred to me. Let’s face it, I liked boys. Little did I know that while I was plucking the petals of daisies wondering if so-and-so loved me, my future husband was “fighting monsters” in his backyard. We lived on complete opposite sides of the state and never knew the other existed. As Evan and I grew, we both longed for a significant other but each continued to be rejected by one individual to the next. Now we know that it wasn’t because we weren’t desirable; God just hadn’t yet brought us to His intended—each other.

After I accepted Christ at the age of sixteen, I began earnestly praying and desiring the man God had for me. It was then that God implanted in me the innate desire to marry a military man. I grew up surrounded by military. My grandparents and father all served for our country. Even my younger brother started desiring a future military career at a young age. As the years went on, I watched and heard stories of so many broken military marriages. This tore my romantic heart to pieces. I wanted to be that military wife whose husband could know beyond a shadow-of-doubt that she’d be waiting for him when he came home. I just knew in my heart of hearts that this was one of my callings. I will admit that I was mocked for such strong feelings. People questioned how I could know that I’m supposed to marry a military man. Each time I just calmly responded, “How can some girls just know that God wants them to be pastors’ or missionaries’ wives? This is no different.”

By my Senior year in college, I thought I was going to burst. I wanted to meet my husband so badly. Though I didn’t know him, I prayed for him during classes. I wrote letters to him in my journals. I didn’t know if he was home or overseas. One thing I did know was that he was a Marine. Maybe I was crazy or maybe that’s just what I desired. But, I do know that when following in His will, God “give[s] you the desires of your heart.” On Memorial day, I wrote a letter to this Marine I didn’t know and kept it close to me. I had no one to mail it to yet; it was a letter meant for him.

5/25/09

Dear Marine,

You don’t know me, but I’ve been thinking about you today. The country celebrated you this day. It was the perfect day for it; everything was beautiful. I’m afraid America doesn’t think about you often enough. You might wonder if anybody is thinking of you every day. There is no need to wonder anymore. A certain girl goes to a comfortable bed and is able to safely lay her head on a soft pillow each night. She is able to rest in peace, because she knows you are out there guarding her freedom. That girl is now sitting on the same comfortable bed writing to you.

Dearest Marine, you are in my thoughts each moment. Thank you for sacrificing for me. You deserve more than the thoughts I can give you, yet you go on fighting. You give of yourself so that Old Glory can proudly wave. Those stars and stripes represent all that you do. I pray that America will not forget. I have not forgotten you. Pride for you pulses through my veins. I wish you could see the smile on my face, sparked by thoughts of you. I wish you could see the tears I’ve shed for you. Marine, you don’t know me, but please know that you are loved. You’ve captured my heart. I give these words to you, because you have given me so much more. You give me hope. You give me freedom. You give me safety. And one day you will give me the same love I have for you. I can lay my head on my pillow tonight, because I know you’re taking care of me.

I pray to God every day specifically for you. Please be safe, dear Marine. God is watching over you. You are loved, for a certain girl thinks of you each moment.

Waiting for you . . .

Loving you . . .

Lydia

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

While I was spending my days at home waiting and wanting, Evan too was waiting and wanting for that special someone, in his barracks room, in the desserts of Iraq, in Africa, and everywhere else the Marine Corps sent him. His mother told me of his many frustrated phone calls to home, wondering why he couldn’t find a good, Christian girl to love; why he seemed to be consistently rejected; why he couldn’t find a woman who could handle being with a military man. Evan’s mom patiently told him each time to just wait and pray, and God will bring to him the exact woman of his heart. So, he did.

By July, I had given up looking for the “one”. I was tired of my heart being broken by one man after another. Maybe he didn’t exist. Apparently, Evan had done the same. We both had thrown our hands in the air and thought God must have different plans. Though I had given up on finding him, I was still intrigued when a coworker of mine, who was dating a Marine, started telling me about her boyfriend’s housemate. This housemate sounded exactly like the man I had been searching for all along, but I tried not to entertain the thought; he probably would have no interest in me. Unbeknownst to me, my coworker’s boyfriend also was telling Evan about me; it was a set-up. Frustrated from being pulled along and then abruptly ignored by girls, Evan didn’t care to know about this girl who was supposedly “perfect for him.”

Early August, Rachael (my coworker) wanted to visit her boyfriend but had no way of getting there. Her car had sputtered its last, she didn’t have to money to fly, and I was in need of a vacation. What perfect providence! In a matter of days, a road trip ensued. When we arrived at her boyfriend’s house, “the invisible roommate” (a nickname we tacked to Evan) still remained invisible. He was gone for a couple days, visiting another Marine friend. I stopped holding my breath. There was no way I would meet this man. Who was I fooling? That’s not why I came on this trip in the first place . . . right?

The Sunday of that weekend, I went to a nearby church, and during that service the desire to meet my future husband returned. Maybe he was there somewhere. Oh I hoped so. But I was sure it probably wasn’t that housemate. I returned to the house, feeling renewed and tried to ignore any more thoughts of meeting this Evan guy. God decided to not let that happen. I was sitting in the kitchen when I heard, “Hey Evan!” My blood pressure skyrocketed. It was him! I took a peek toward the doorway just to see a closed door. The invisible roommate was once again invisible—he had bolted up the stairs. I scolded myself for being ridiculous, grabbed the 6-ear of corn we bought for dinner and went out back to husk them.

In a matter of minutes, Evan was playing with his housemate’s dogs in the living room, on the other side of the sliding glass door that led out back. When I realized this, I couldn’t help but try to take sneak peeks over my shoulder. He was really cute! Once again, I mentally slapped myself and got back to work. When I went inside, Rachael’s boyfriend introduced Evan and I. The cleverest thing I could think to say was, “So you’re the invisible roommate!” to which he replied, “Uh . . . yeah.” (He later admitted to me that he had absolutely no interest at that moment.) With that, he turned to leave for work; he was night crew. I’m not sure how many times I mentally slapped myself, but that incident added another tally. I didn’t see him again for a few days.

Tuesday rolled around and we girls got up early to get some groceries. With my arms full of grocery bags, I walked through the doorway and accidentally ran straight into him. Embarrassed, I muttered a quick “excuse me” and kept walking. Evan says that moment is when he truly noticed me. He recalls thinking, “She really is cute.” But, he remained cautious, because he didn’t know if I knew the Lord, which was the most important attribute on his list (as was mine). After that moment, he headed off to work, and I remained embarrassed for a few hours. The true “test” finally came the next afternoon, when Evan and I found ourselves alone in the kitchen. I tried desperately to not act awkward and started talking incessantly. He responded well and in a matter of minutes, we discovered each was a born-again believer and an immediate connection sparked.

We eventually exchanged numbers: a story in of itself, which I can’t resist telling. Evan said a quick “goodbye” before heading to work, and I sat at the kitchen table with the other girls acting nonchalant but wanting so desperately to get his number. But, Evan didn’t leave immediately and just awkwardly stood in the doorway. He repeated his goodbyes then tacked on, “You know, night shift gets really boring. You should text me.”

I smirked and replied, “But I don’t have your number.”

“I could give it to you.”

I figured I’d play hard to get; I didn’t want him to think I was too eager, so I responded, “But I don’t have my phone on me.”

By this time, his nerves were running taught. He tried not to sound exasperated, “Well then, go get it!”

I took the eagerness in his voice as enough initiative and shot up the stairs to retrieve my phone, all the while he had already begun shouting his number to me. I refrained from giving him my number in return, because I wanted to be able to have control of the situation. I wasn’t about to let myself get hurt again. Evan left, and I waited nearly twenty minutes before sending my first text. From that moment on, we texted all day and all night while he was at work.

I prayed so hard. I liked this man a lot. Maybe I was just too much of a romantic. Maybe I had been wishing more than I should have. I didn’t know. I prayed myself to sleep that night. I was awakened at 5:15am by a gentle shaking. I opened my eyes to find Evan sitting on the couch at my feet, smiling. He nervously stood and said, “So, I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind going to the beach and watching the sunrise with me. Would you like to do that?”

I pinched myself. I had to be dreaming. I bolted up and exclaimed, “Of course!” We grabbed a blanket, drove to the beach, and walked along the sand as we waited for the sun to rise. We talked of everything, or maybe I talked of everything. (I recall being a chatterbox that morning.) I talked about my fears, my goals, my desires, and the man I hoped to marry someday. I wasn’t saying all those things to try to get my foot in the door. I was just being honest. Evan quietly listened, smiling the entire time. I finally let him talk, and after the first half hour, I was in love. He had to be it. He had to be who I was searching for all my life. We would later discover that that day on the beach was the day we both fell in love with each other.

That day Rachael and I returned home, but that didn’t stop Evan and me from continuing to talk. Evan called his father on his way to work and asked, “How soon do you know when you’ve met ‘the one’?”

His dad replied with, “Evan, I knew I was going to marry your mom the moment I met her.” (His mom said the same.) That was enough for Evan. The following day he asked me to be his girlfriend.

The following days consisted of little notes, emails, facebook, text messages, and 7-hour phone calls. I was rapidly falling in love with this man. Was he feeling the same? A single letter answered that question.

8/16/09

Dear Lydia,

Well, here I am, on duty . . . and all I can think about is you. I know I’ve said it so many times, but I’m still so amazed that after only 6 days, I care for you so very much. Meeting you has been the greatest thing that has ever happened to me and I thank God every day (all 6 of them, so far) for blessing me with the most beautiful girl in the whole world. And the greatest part about you is that you’re beautiful, not just on the outside, but on the inside too! You love God so much, and it shows in all you do. . . .

Whenever I think about my future now, I can’t help but see you too, sharing it with me. . . . I can’t wait to get to know everything about you. I want to know every little detail, every little random fact that exists about you! I can’t wait for the day that I know you better than you know yourself—when I can finish your sentences, know what you’re thinking just by the way you look at me. . . .

In the 6 days I’ve known you, I have grown closer to God than I have been in a long time. And that’s what I’ve prayed for, ever since I was younger—for a woman who would help me grow closer to God and who would grow with me. I still have a hard time believing you’re real! You seem too good to be true, and you seem too good for me. . . . I know that you have been hurt in past relationships; hurt by guys who couldn’t see the treasure they had. But I can see what treasure you are! You are like a precious jewel that I’ve been searching for the whole world over. . . .

I could go on all day about you, and still not cover it all. . . . I don’t ever want to lose you, and I will fight to the very end to make you mine!

Your Friend,

Evan

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Of course it didn’t take long before we exchanged those famous three words, and we meant it with all our hearts. A month went by, and we did indeed start knowing each other better than ourselves. We never tired of talking. I took a trip to meet Evan’s family and fell in love with them. Evan visited me and my family when he could take a long weekend to make the 9-hour trip. Then he got sent to the other side of the country for training. We talked about getting married but wanted to make sure it was in the Lord’s will. I never felt more at peace.

September was almost gone, and I was in for a big surprise (one Evan had told me was coming). I had a terrible morning. I was supposed to open the store at my job but woke up an hour late.  I ran to my car, unshowered, grumpy, and bedraggled.

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Sitting on my windshield was a rose, a picture of Evan and me, and a simple note—“Hey baby! So, the wait is over! The day of your surprise has arrived! But, I still can’t tell you what it is. This is just the beginning! Now, go to work, and have a great day. I love you!” With tears streaming down my face, I drove to work. This terrible morning had taken a turn. I arrived at the store to find yet another rose, picture, and note.

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Pretty soon I was kidnapped from work by Rachael (bearing another rose and note) and taken to a spa, where I was treated to an hour massage.

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Sitting on the spa table was a teddybear, roses, and the following picture and note . . .

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“Lately I have been trying to view my life as one big adventure. But, I have come to discover that life’s adventure is way too big to be taken on alone. I realize I am going to need some help along the way. I need a princess to share my adventure with, and baby, I want that to be you! I’m going to ride in, slay the dragon, and steal you away with me forever! That is, if you will have me. I love you so much baby, and I can’t wait to start our lives together!”

 

After the amazing massage, Rachael said we needed to stop by her house to pick something up. I followed her into the house to find a trail of rose petals. I giggled and followed the trail to a table with lighted candles, a bouquet of flowers, framed pictures, and an open computer—there was Evan on webcam. I erupted into tears. He apologized for not being able to be with me physically (an ongoing reality we’re having to cope with because of his job), then he very romantically asked me to marry him.

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Of course I said yes!

We couldn’t wait and decided to marry in December. Our parents approved. So many people thought we were crazy, especially since we wanted to go ahead with a complete ceremony in such a short time. Several people questioned us. Were we doing the right thing? We knew we were. The day we were engaged, we promised ourselves that no matter what comes, we would stay together (separation is not an option).

One time, early on in our relationship, Evan proclaimed his strong desire for me to never leave him. I responded with the only thought that had been flowing through my mind since the day we started dating—“The only way I’d ever leave you is if God decided to end my life on this earth. But, I would rather He come again before that happens, so that we both could join Him in heaven together forever and never be apart on earth or in heaven.”

I wish I could say our engagement was easy, but as strongly as we felt God wanted us together, we felt Satan also was trying to keep us apart. Multiple discouraging events occurred in those two months till our wedding, including a car accident on Thanksgiving morning. We were in the car, driving to the mountains to spend Thanksgiving with my family, when the road took a sudden turn. It was extremely foggy, and by the time we cleared a certain fog patch, it was too late. My car careened head-on into a large boulder. We walked away from what could have been a fatal accident with minor injuries. We immediately prayed and thanked God for His protection.

Days later, Evan and I sat in the local diner discussing the crazy events. Each booth had a juke box. We emptied our change in it and played song after song. We had one song left and Evan chose “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley. I giggled. It was my dad’s favorite song and he often sang it, using his best Elvis impersonation. Evan then stood up and pulled me out of the booth. We were soon dancing. The diner was full of people, but neither of us cared. The only ones that existed to us at that moment were each other. I felt like I was dancing on air. The man I was soon to marry was holding me in his arms, and as the famous song goes, I could have danced all night.

After that, military responsibilities kept Evan away until the wedding. During that time, we exchanged more letters.

Hey Baby,

I just wanted to write you a note to remind you that I love you so so much! God has blessed me with such a wonderful man. . . .

With every kiss and caress, I know I’m loved. With every whisper and silent moment, I know I’m loved. With every laugh and every tear, I know I’m loved. . . . Thank you for loving me for who I am and not who I used to be. . . .

I know I say this all the time, but it’s true. You are more than I ever asked for or wanted. You are my umbrella in the rain, my blanket in the cold. . . . You’ve come riding by on your trusty stead and snatched me up; and I will ride with you till the end. I know the path won’t always be smooth. We’ll hit some potholes, some rocks, and maybe even some snakes. But, know that my arms will always be wrapped around your waist. I will be there through every pothole, rock, and snake.

With God as our strength, we’ll get through anything. I love you with all my heart, soul, and being. All that I have, all that I am is yours forever.

Loving You Always,

Lydia

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The not-too-long awaited day came. We were married on December 19, 2009. At the reception we danced to “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” That song best described our relationship. Right from the beginning, we couldn’t help falling in love. What a wonderful time it has been since our wedding day. Yes, we’ve since stumbled on a few rocks, but God has held us strong. God remained true and granted the desires of our hearts. He brought me to my Marine, and the adventure has just begun!

Some people say we’re crazy. Some say our relationship was a whirlwind, taken too fast. Others say it’s like a perfect storybook romance. We say we are just two people completely and totally in love, eternally blessed by an all-too gracious God.

I love hearing from you! Please leave a comment below or connect with me on Facebook!

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  • Kendra Cunningham

    This is a beautiful story. Whirlwind romances are so amazing and I love that it has worked out so amazingly for you! We too had a whirlwind romance (started dating in October and married in March) while we were both Active Duty Air Force and so I totally understand that when you know you know. I am so excited to follow along now

    • Thank you for your sweet reply, Kendra, and thank you to both you and your husband for your service!

  • Bailey

    I’ve read this blog post multiple times now and I still find myself reading it occasionally, on the especially hard and lonely days! It’s such a wonderful testament to God’s faithfulness!

    • Yes, it is! I think even I need to go back and read it again, especially during this seemingly desert season. I could use a good reminder of how much God has worked in our lives! Can’t wait to see you soon!

  • Colie

    Such a beautiful story Lydia! Couldn’t help but notice our anniversaries fall almost a month apart, loved reading this! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you, Colie! I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  • I enjoyed your wonderful love story. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. xo

    • Thank you, Katherine! It was certainly all God-ordained.

  • Jeri Ross

    Love your story. Met my marine and had a similar story. Met April 15, first date May 1, engaged June 5 and married August 30, Best decision I ever made! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Amen to being the best decision ever! I’m so thankful God blessed me with such an amazing husband! Please tell your Marine thank you for his service.

  • Jeri Ross

    Sadly my Marine left for Heaven in 2005. The DOD said that 58 year old Vietnam vets were dying like flies all over the US. He was rarely sick but something lay dormant in his kidneys I guess. Sorely miss him!!! Please keep your stories coming. I so relate to them. God bless you and your family richly!!!

    • Oh Jeri, I am so sorry for your loss! My father is a Vietnam vet, but he never got the chance to go over and fight, though he wanted to. He thinks God was sparing him because, at the time, He didn’t know the Lord. He got saved after he got out of the military.

      My heart goes out to you! I know it’s been several years since his passing, but I imagine there are still difficult days. I will pray for you whenever you come to mind!

  • Domesticated Combat Boots

    My husband and I only knew eachother for a 2 months before we got married. 7 years, and 2 kids later…we’re still going strong despite all the nay sayers!