Our time as the McCue’s was quickly coming to a close. The focus of our time together shifted from the characters we played to understanding the person sitting opposite of us. We talked, we laughed, we smiled often. We even tentatively, briefly, held hands until someone would casually walk by our rehearsal space. I began to open my heart back up to the possibility this relationship might finally go somewhere. I wasn’t disappointed.
The week before our final performance we went to lunch at Panera. He paid. We kissed for the first time in the parking lot. On March 14, he showed up on my parents’ doorstep with a rose in hand and took me on a walk in the cool spring air. He didn’t know what the future held, but he asked me to be his princess anyway. I said yes. March 17 was not just the end of Justin and Jennifer McCue. It was the beginning of Mike and Christine.
Outside of our families, we managed to keep our relationship a secret until after the Easter production at our church. Some people were completely shocked by our revelation. Others suspected something had been brewing for much longer than we let on. Then there were the few who couldn’t seem to get past Justin and Jennifer McCue – bless their hearts.
Mike left for El Salvador the end of May but was back home by September. I tossed my out-of-state acceptance letter in favor of the local Christian college minutes down the road. We each came to love working for our church so much we ended up on staff occupying offices across the hall from each other.
Mike and I dated for three and a half long years before he asked me to marry him on a beautiful day in September. We married six months later on March 18. Life since the wedding has been fantastic and fast. We moved away, started a family, and moved back – all stories for another time, another day.
Every March when I smell the softening of the ground and enjoy the lengthening of days, I remember the March we started dating, the March we got married, the March we had our second baby. This March marks ten years of our love story. My heart is full and happy at the thought of it.
Like everyone else, we have had high points and low points, challenges to overcome from outside and those that come from within. We have loved deeply and wounded deeply, but never once questioned how precisely we were made for one another. Our marriage is far from perfect, but so is life. There are growing pains, struggles and triumphs all along the way that make life and marriage colorful and meaningful and precious. We have come to accept both the good and bad as the gifts they are from God and love every moment we are able to journey together.
There’s no one in the world I’d rather do life with than Michael. What was a fleeting premonition at fifteen has become my joy approaching thirty. I. am. blessed.
Happy Valentine’s Day.