For months I have been telling Ed I would write my version of our love story for his blog. I have sat and thought of how to start it several times now, and after he shared his two more minutes to forever, wanted to share my side of forever. I couldn’t figure out if I should start with the years of long-term relationships I had been in that never felt right, that always felt forced and left me wondering what I was doing wrong. Or should I start with realizing once those relationships ended the problem wasn’t that I was doing anything wrong in those relationships, it was that I was not loving myself the way I expected others to love me. What I realized after years of trying to make sense of love and opening myself up time and time again, only to be left dumb founded was that I needed to focus on myself, learn to love myself and my life as it was, alone. I came to understand that being alone was much better than always feeling like I was begging someone else to love me in the way I needed. I had decided I would focus on my career and the life I had instead of looking for the life I wanted.
For the next two years I dated casually but was putting my energy into work and school. It gave me time to figure out who I was as a person, what was important to me and what I truly wanted in life. What I wanted was peace. I wanted to feel happy and laugh. Even if that was with friends as a single woman. I knew without a doubt that I was not going to settle in a relationship. I wanted an equal partner who loved and respected me in the same way I did him. I knew that it was going to have to be a man who was willing to give to the relationship, and not always take. I had come to believe that man did not exist and that relationships in the modern world were meaningless. I felt men were always keeping their options open. They were treating me like an option, not a priority. I thought maybe it was because I didn’t really go anywhere to meet anyone new. I worked all the time. I had the small group of friends. I do not go out bar hoping (God knows you won’t find anyone in a bar looking for true love). I was pretty much in my own little world and I learned to be happy with myself and my life. I have amazing friends. I have a family that is at times dysfunctional but at the end of the day loves me unconditionally. I had decided life was good the way it was. I prayed at night that God would guide me to live the life that was meaningful. My prayer was that my focus was not on my happiness but instead it be on my purpose.
One night I was having dinner with my friend Meredith and we talked about dating sites. I have known people over the years who had done it. Some had successfully married and some were still single. I thought ‘Well, it couldn’t hurt. I could at least make new friends, get outside of my little world and have fun meeting new people.’ So, I signed up. Filling out the list of questions, I realized something about myself. I realized that I was a bit pickier than I had even realized in some areas but open to other things that some people wouldn’t. I didn’t want to waste time going out with anyone who didn’t have the same life views as I did. For instance, I decided I only wanted to go out with men of faith. I felt over the years that part of my relationship issues was that I had dated men that were either not strong in their faith or had no faith at all. I did not want to date a man who liked to go to bars, drink, smoke or do drugs. I do not do those things and don’t want to be with anyone that does. I did not mind a man having children as long as he was a great dad and made his children a priority. I did not want to go out with anyone who had been divorced because of infidelity on his end. I also did not want to date anyone who was looking to sleep around and who was not seriously looking for an exclusive relationship.
After several conversations on eharmony I went on a few dates or talked on the phone with potential matches. I still laugh about some of the introductions and the face to face interactions I had on there. My friends and I would go to dinner and exchange stories and laugh uncontrollably at some of the “dates” we were going on. I started to think that social media and dating sites were just another way for people to keep their options open and be noncommittal. I then made the decision I was not going to renew eharmony once the time I had paid for was up. I was over dating and was just ready to focus on myself again.
Then one night while I was lying in bed getting ready to go to sleep and prepare for the long day ahead of me the next day I got a notification from eharmony that I had a new match. I thought ‘well, let’s see if this one is the same as the rest.’ I clicked on it and there he was, Ed Deiss. A man strong in his faith, a dad who loved his children, a handsome man who had a look of kindness in his pictures. So, I thought ‘ok, this is it. I will send him a message and see where it goes but if he is another man who wants options, I’m done with dating sites.’
I sent him the general questions and we started communicating. I immediately knew he was different. He was interesting, interested in me, thoughtful and kind in his responses. Seemed like a perfect gentleman. After emailing back and forth we exchanged numbers. He would call and we would chat. What seemed like a few minutes would be a half hour. Conversations were always interesting. He made me laugh. He was sincere. We talked for weeks before we finally met for dinner. By the time we meet in Roanoke Rapids to meet face to face it felt as if we had known one another for a long time. There was excitement on the drive to meet him. When I walked in the Applebee’s and saw him, we both smiled from ear to ear. I remember walking up and hugging him. It was like meeting an old friend for dinner, meaning it felt very comfortable and natural. There was never a moment of weirdness or odd moments of silence. We talked, laughed, smiled and had a wonderful time together. What stood out most to me is that when our dinner arrived he held my hands and prayed with me. It was an amazing first date.
Unfortunately, after being together for several hours, I had to get on the road back to Greenville because I had to get up at 4am to go to work the next day. When we walked to the car I felt so happy that the date had gone so well yet sad that it had to end. We said our goodbyes at my car and he made it clear to me that he did not want to communicate with anyone else. He wanted to make getting to know more about me a priority. I was so happy to hear him say that.
As I got in my car to leave I had a moment of ‘I don’t want to leave him yet.’ So I put my car in park jumped out of the car and ran back to him. He opened his door and ask if I was okay. I told him “yes, I just wanted another minute or two with you”. He smiled and we hugged. I felt myself breath in a way I had not let myself in a long time. As I got back in my car to leave I thought ‘Oh boy, I am in trouble here (in a good way). He is a keeper!’ The next day he let me know he cancelled his subscription to eharmony. The next time we met for dinner he asked me in the cutest, most loving way to officially be his girlfriend. I was beyond joyful and said “Absolutely”. I got on eharmony and canceled my account as well and wanted to focus on him and see where our relationship could go.
The next several weeks he was out-of-town on vacation with his family. I told myself if he didn’t call while he was gone it was okay and to not let myself get my hopes up that he would call or text while he was away. Well, he called and texted everyday. Again, we were talking for what seemed a few minutes yet it was a half hour or more. He would send me pictures of where he was and what he was doing. He was always interested in my daily life. His voice was always like music to my ears, his laugh is contagious, his faith is strong; he is the man I had always prayed for.
Over the months of us dating he has shown me I am a priority. He has made trips to see me even if he could only stay a few hours. Living three hours away from one another, it means a lot that he would drive to see me for just a few hours then turn around and drive three hours back home. He always calls or text me every morning to tell me he good morning. He always asked how my day is going, makes a point to tell me I’m beautiful (even when I’ve worked an 85 hour week and look absolutely exhausted).
We would meet in Roanoke Rapids every chance we had a day it would work for a picnic or dinner. Those dates were always perfect. They went by way too fast. I always hated leaving him. I remember the first time I told him I loved him. We were sitting in my Tahoe saying goodbye and the love I felt for him was undeniable. I told him I loved him, not knowing how he would respond. Not knowing if he thought I was crazy because we had only been dating for a few weeks. With that said I did love him and wanted him to know it. Not expecting him to say it back. He did tell me he loved me too. I knew at that moment he was going to be in my life for a long time.
After dating for months we decided it was time for me to meet his children. He had always said he did not want to introduce anyone to his children unless he saw a future with them. So when he asked me to meet him and his daughters in Roanoke Rapids, I knew this was a special moment not to be taken lightly. The meeting with them was absolutely perfect. They were beautiful young women inside and out. I left that dinner feeling more filled with love and joy than I had even imagined. There are so many special moments since then with Ed and I or all of us that I could write about but I will fast forward a few months.
Four months after our first date, Ed and I went on a walk the day after Thanksgiving. It was supposed to be a quick walk on the Greenway before we met Melissa for lunch and black Friday shopping. We walked up to the park and he asked me to go on stage so he could see what it was like on there because we had passed by it many times. We walk up there and I briefly looked away from him to look out in the grass. When I looked back he was on bended knee asking me to marry him. I smiled from ear to ear and said Absolutely! As I went to hug him I noticed my best friends mother standing beside the tree. I said “There is Melissa’s mom” (She was supposed to be meeting us with Melissa for lunch). All of the sudden I realized Melissa was standing close by her with her camera. Ed had arranged for them to be in the park so he could have them photograph the proposal. I was floored. He had gone out of his way to make that moment so special for me. I then realized I had been procrastinating that morning by eating cereal, going to the post office etc. I immediately realized he had patiently waiting for me to propose while I was going in circles. We all went to lunch and discussed how happy I was and how thankful I am for him. I knew from our first date that he was going to be special in my life. We started planning our wedding and decided to get married February 4th, 2017 at 3pm; a date and time that stemmed from the saying 143, meaning I love you.
I was working 85 hours a week and trying to plan a wedding in another city. Through it all Ed kept me grounded, at peace and always helped me with it any way he could. Now as I sit here today February 6, 2017 writing this, he is now my husband. We had our wedding this past weekend. It was absolutely perfect. Everyone pitched in and helped us plan the wedding in 7 weeks. The weather was beautiful. Many came long distances. I felt beautiful and loved.
Everyone kept asking me if I was nervous about getting married or if I was having cold feet. I can say without a shadow of a doubt He is the love of my life and the man God brought into my life to be my husband. When riding in the limousine to the church with Major Barbera, who was giving me away, he took my hand and asked me if I was sure about this. I told him “I have never been more sure about anything else in my life. I am completely sure and ready”. He said that was all he needed to hear and that he was happy for us and supports us one hundred percent. When I walked into the doors of the church and saw him standing there we both smiled and I felt the most at peace and loved I have ever felt in my life. When I stood in front of God and our friends and family and vowed to honor, serve and obey him until death do us part, I had no doubts, no fears, no second guesses. I know with all of my heart and soul he is my forever love. Standing there looking at Ed saying our vows I felt joyful, peaceful, loved, respected, treasured and beautiful. Completely filled with emotions of excitement about our life together.
He has made every dream of mine come true. He has calmed me in a way I never knew was possible. He makes me feel loved, respected and cherished always.
I am blessed beyond measure that those two minutes in the parking lot after our first date has turned into our forever.
Being his wife is the greatest accomplishment of my life. Being a step mother to his children is one of the most important things in my life. My life with Ed is about all five of us, not just me and Ed but also about our lives as a family with Will, Rachel, and Zoe. To say I am thankful does not give it justice. I am madly, deeply in love with my husband and our family. I look forward to our life together and look forward to what God has in store for us.
As I reflect on the wedding weekend and look at the photos my heart is over filled with joy and love. This is a once in a life time forever love. It was worth every horrible date I had gone on before, every failed relationship I had before, every year I spent alone. Being in this moment with the love of my life is exactly what God was preparing me for with every moment of my past.
Ed asked the question is a blog post last year “Is love worth it?” We can both say without a doubt YES!