True Stories: The Marriage Tree

Once upon a time there was this girl who was perfectly fine on her own. (This is me, by the way, in case that wasn’t clear.) She had a job, a house, and a collection of strays to keep her company. She had an individual one-on-one relationship with God and she moved through life with him.

No need for a man.
A tree can grow on its own, thrusting its own root system into the ground, producing its own nutrients and holding out its open-handed leaves to catch the sun. Like this tree, I had everything Ineeded to maintain my own life.

It was at this stage that I met some guy on a motorcycle who wanted to date me, and I said yes–once. I said no the next time he asked. He wasn’t my type and, like I said before, I didn’t really need a guy.

But he stuck around and I eventually said yes to a second date–many months after the first. Our tentative relationship began. He fixed my car when it broke down, rescuing me from another state. He taught me how to eat healthy. He picked up the phone when I reached out for someone to talk to. When I struggled with worry over something, he asked me if I’d prayed about it yet, speaking of God’s sovereignty in nearly every situation, and drove me deeper into God.

When my little dog was hit by a car, he came over to bury her. I could have done that, and so many other things he did for me, but I didn’t have to. And that felt wonderful. Words cannot express my gratitude for all the ways in which this man has served me over the years in each stage of the relationship we shared.

Our relationship consisted of phone calls and car trips in which I read my novels out loud to him. I’d been writing all sorts of things for years, but it was amazing to read my little thoughts aloud to him and get his very honest but very heartwarming reaction to everything I wrote. He steered me in a different direction sometimes–especially in the actions of my male characters–and he filled my head with ideas that perhaps God had intentions of me being a published author. I talked it over with God and, as often happened, He agreed with Vince.

I married this man, my best friend, in 2012 and tried writing a novel that I could possibly publish. Vince shoved me out of the nest, forcing me past my objections into forward motion. Then in 2016 I signed a contract with Revell that would catapult me into the world of my childhood dreams. I could have kept working at my steady job and taking care of myself, idly dreaming about writing fiction and raising babies. I’d always been pretty independent, and I could have continued to be so. The same could be said of Vince.

Yet over time, we became more and more bonded and life grew around those joints, strengthening the connection.

As I incorporate romance into my novels, this tree is the image I keep in mind. It grows on the property we bought in the first year of our marriage, where we now live. I call it the marriage tree because it so perfectly depicts some of the best marriages. Neither of us were missing half of ourselves or incapable of being alone when we met. We were whole and healthy and autonomus. But we grew together and became a unit. A pair. Fully connected and better because of it. So connected that you couldn’t remove one without doing major damage to the other. I’d consider us inseperable, and that’s ok by me.

Once upon a time there was this girl who was perfectly fine on her own.
But she was better with him.