Derek and I met at a three-day leadership conference at Miami of Ohio in July of 2004. After the conference, we were in the same town (Indianapolis) for about a week before we had to hit the road as consultants for our Greek organizations. We spent a total of 30 days in each other's presence in the four months it took before Derek popped the question. How did we do it? Communication, communication, communication.
We talked on the phone ALL of the time. I think we once had a 10-hour phone conversation on Derek's drive from Oklahoma to Texas... Ah... young love.
I remember one late night phone conversation after we got engaged (which may or may not have ended with me snoozing well before hanging up...) about what it would be like to be married. We definitely were looking at everything through rose-colored glasses and didn't know what we were in for. But everyone does that, right? However, one thing still sticks out in my mind about that conversation that has turned out to be more meaningful, real and treasured than either of us could have imagined when we talked late that night. Since we were apart for the first nine months of our relationship, we vowed never to take the time we had together for granted.
As a couple having just celebrated four years of marriage, do we slip up sometimes? Sure. But on the whole, we value the time we have together. Take this past weekend for example: we were "stranded" at our house in the snow with no vehicles. We were stuck with each other. LOVED IT! We truly love being around each other. We definitely have our own interests and activities, but those we can do together are the ones we enjoy and cherish the most. Of course it's not easy when we're having an argument or something. No one said marriage would be easy all of the time. But we make a decision to keep to our vow and value the time we have together instead of wishing it away.
Derek and I want to vow to do the same with our children. We fully realize we are not parents yet and "things will completely change when (we) have kids," as we're reminded. The same could have been said as we were going into our marriage. But we are still able to keep that vow of cherishing the time Derek and I have together.
Maybe it's the life experiences we've had. Maybe the months of maintaining a long-distance relationship helped us form our view on marriage. Maybe our struggle with infertility helped us form our views on parenthood. Whatever it is, I just know that it pains me to witness people taking things for granted that others would LOVE to have--specifically time with their own children.