Terry and Valerie in Florida 2004
It was all I could do to walk away that cold January night. I headed for my car, staring at the dark concrete as I walked, tears stinging my eyes, wanting to turn back, but refusing. I knew that those first steps would be the hardest. I was walking away from a one year relationship with a guy that I thought consciously – but knew better subconsciously – would be my future husband. I did not admit to myself that I had “pushed” the relationship along the entire year. I had suggested that we go do “so and so”. I had asked if he would call. I had done almost everything for both of us. Deep down, I knew I didn’t want that. I wanted a guy that wanted me. But who would want me? Finally, the day came when I had to admit he wasn’t the one. He had been drinking. He had another girlfriend in another town. He was doing drugs. This relationship was turning into a nightmare. It was over. I knew I deserved better, but truthfully, I had zero faith that I would get anyone, much less anyone better. After our break up, he left our small college and headed for the hills, where he could party undisturbed by my “ideas” for another date.
I spent my teen years in an active youth group. We had several guys in our church, and they dated every girl in church, well every girl except me. I had only had a few long-distance relationships. When would some guy -that lived around there- want to date me? All my friends were not only seriously dating someone, but two were married!
Then, I met Terry. Well, I met him at teen camp when we were 15, but at 18, he came to my church’s college. He had also dated every girl in church – but me! (Do we see a pattern here?) He had been living a worldly life shortly before I broke it off with that guy. Terry came forward in church one night, crying and asking our church to forgive him. We did. That was that. He stayed in college. He kept going. That guy, didn’t. He quit.
Terry came to me one night after church and told me he was “crazy about me”. Okay. Right. I may be blond, people, but I’m not dumb. I had seen all the broken hearts he had left behind, and I had just been through that myself – I wasn’t about to do it again. I was preparing to leave for a Bible college in northern Indiana. I had had it with small churches and my hometown. I was moving on to bigger and better things…I thought.
Terry sent me a rose to work the next day with a note that read “Since you don’t believe me, I’ll convince you.” It was unsigned, but I knew who had sent it. I was reeling. This was what I wanted! Someone who wasn’t afraid to win me. That was the end of February,1997. And let me tell you, convince me he did! He had his work cut out as I am very stubborn! He had to win my Dad over, as well as me! Dad wasn’t too fond of any guys at our church after what that guy had done. Terry prayed and worked very hard at winning me. Our first date was April 25,1997. We got lost! We finally made it to the restaurant. It was, well, it was exactly how I envisioned a date to be. After all, this was my first date! Well, the first date that I hadn’t organized! ;o) We dated “steadily” from then on. We were soul mates. It was obvious to us, but I will admit that at 19, you’re still very immature!!!
He purposed marriage to me on Sept. 11, 1997. We were married January 2, 1998. He has not been perfect, but then, neither have I. We have our ups, and our downs. Life has hurled many trials our way. Some trials our closest friends don’t even know about. But through it all, God’s love has led us. And through all my faults and failures, Terry’s love has been there – waiting for me, and winning me all over again! He’s a wonderful husband, he’s my best friend. He’s a great leader. He’s a tender hearted soul winner. He’s an honorable man and loving father. Every quality I looked for in a husband, he has it and more!
I love you, Terry. Thank you for wanting me. Thank you for convincing me. Thank you for 10 exciting years.
Terry and Lauren with her new doll, Christmas 2007
(She named the doll Elsa)
Terry and Mitchell shooting his BB gun.
Terry and Leslie with her broken arm. 😦
Terry with Leslie and Laci