I confess that writing a blog while writing a book on the same topic is a little tricky especially when they aren’t exactly coinciding. My blog is ahead of my book, but I realize I’ve left parts out…crucial parts, and I tend to feel tempted to go back and fill in the blanks. For those of you following our online dating story, that may thrill you, and yet as in any good book or movie I don’t want to give away the ending.

Okay, so for those of you who know us, you know the ending already. Many of you were there at our wedding. So it’s a little like telling a story backwards. And as I’ve said, that’s a bit tricky.

In spite of the temptations and expectations, what I feel led to write today, while it may not seem pertinent to the ongoing story, is the bottom line of pertinence.


Relationships no matter with whom, are complicated and difficult. And amazingly wonderful. And we won’t grow without them.

Last night after hearing a bit of our story, a young woman posed a question to my husband and I that went something like “So do you still feel like you’re in the honeymoon stage? Is the romance still there?”

Very good questions. With multiple levels of answers. Which is why I think I feel drawn to the issue of relationship today.

The easy answer is yes and no. Our honeymoon introduced the “end” of the honeymoon “phase” (our first real fight), and yet we often gaze at each other with eyes and hearts of honeymooners. We feel the romance of our love, devotion and miracle story frequently and deeply, but we also sometimes look at each other and wonder (like all couples) “what the heck is going on, how did we get here and how do we do this?”

My husband and I just started reading Love and War by John and Stasi Eldredge. It’s a book about marriage being a picture of God’s love story with us. Before we finished the introduction, I was crying and my husband was tearing up. It’s that powerful, honest, encouraging and hopeful. I’m so grateful that someone has the guts to talk about the struggles in their marriage, not with the shame and embarrassment that we all feel, but with the transparent truth that shouts out “the emperor has no clothes!” Aren’t we all sighing with relief when someone finally states  the obvious that no one else will dare utter? Marriage is hard, and we don’t get it. I’m crazy in love with this person that bewilders me and makes me want to punch them at times. By the way, is that okay? Are we doomed then to be a statistic or is there hope for us?

Sometimes it’s hard to admit that the fairy tale isn’t working out as we imagined it would, but what I’m learning is that the fairy tale is true and happily-ever-after IS possible, it just takes a little more hard work and perseverance  than movies ever have time for. It’s okay to struggle and to let people know we need help. It’s not only okay, it’s normal, typical and to be expected. The problem is that we just don’t expect it, and then panic when difficulty comes and we aren’t sure how to handle it.

One of the best (and most frequent) encouragements we have received from other further-along-in-marriage couples is the concept of being on the same team. We love each other; that’s a given. So instead of fighting each other and each other’s baggage, we want to learn to fight together on behalf of each other. How can I help my husband become all God intends for him to be? How does he do the same for me? We can apply this to relationships with siblings, friends and parents as well, not only spouses.

Next week maybe I’ll fill in some of the blanks of our story, though not so much as to keep you from wanting to read the book, but for now let’s just say that marriage is a fantasy, a reality, a dream worth pursuing and fighting for. And, we win in the end. Isn’t that what romance is all about?

Fairy Tales Do Come True

So much can be said about online dating. Technology has taken over our lives and social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace have mushroomed practically overnight. But regardless of whether we meet someone in person, through Facebook or on an internet dating site, some topics remain constant. One is our innate desire for a fairy tale romance. And even guys can get into the happily-ever- after theme.

Our internet dating story proves that fairy tales do come true. You know the kind that only happens in the movies, but never in real life? The type of story I could only dream about with an intense conviction and a deep, unexplained yearning. Don’t most of us? Our story defies everyone who ever told me I was an idealistic, unrealistic dreamer. This IS the fairy tale, happily-ever-after story of love and marriage between two soul mates absolutely made for one another. And I’m not just saying that because it’s my story. Other people have kindly pointed it out to me.

Maybe we need permission to believe in that fairy tale kind of love and marriage. What we subconsciously are convinced of and yet desperately hope to be true can be, in fact, a reality. So, I’m saying it here. Believe it. Have faith that this kind of heady, in-the-movies romance exists and always has, even in spite of our out-of-control divorce rate. It’s not only a possibility, it is a reality. God created it to be that way.

I realize that technically I’m still a newlywed with only a couple of years to my fairy tale credit. You might easily dismiss what I’m saying with a shrug and a wave of your hand, and some comment like “Wait until the honeymoon is over.” But, just for the record, let me assure you that our “honeymoon” ended as soon as we stepped off the plane into the arms of our waiting children; settled into a rental house full of mold that made me chronically ill; tackled step-parenting issues, and talked about finances for the first time. The first two years of married life could easily be classified as one of the most difficult seasons of both our lives. Yes, even including both of the years I went through divorces and the year my family lost everything we owned, not to mention the devastating year Brendan lost his first wife and was left caring for three young children. But, every good story has a climax of impossible conflicts that confines us to the edge of our seat with breath holding anticipation of the resolution. Ours is no different.

And, I believe in miracles. Yes, I believe God is still all about raising-the-dead kind of miracles, but the kind I’m talking about here are the everyday things that really don’t make sense, and shouldn’t happen, but do anyway. Some people call them coincidence, but these “God things” are really just too coincidental and leave us marveling in a perplexed kind of awe. That is what fairy tales are made of, and that is what our story is about–the one that began on a Christian internet dating site a few years ago.