For Part I, go here.
During our dating days we spent a lot of time getting to know each other. Kevin and I had extremely similar values, and (as we later confirmed with a personality test :) ) similar personalities. We both liked to laugh, we loved to read, we went to the same church and came to have many friends in common. (Prior to meeting each other though we actually didn't have any mutual friends. It is actually thanks to Kevin that I ended up meeting Lara who would become one of my best friends.)
So yes, we were a lot alike. Both of us:
thoroughly disliked school, but loved learning.
thought seeking God mattered more than anything, even though we didn't do it perfectly.
had been raised in rural areas.
were extremely stubborn.
thought Seinfeld was really, really funny.
We did come from slightly different religious backgrounds--I was raised amidst evangelicalism, and Kevin grew up in a Lutheran church. Although he didn't identify himself as a Lutheran and didn't really hold their beliefs per se (the church we met at was non-denominational but I guess he didn't really believe all of their stuff either), I had this occasional paranoid feeling that he was suddenly going to revert back, we'd never be able to go to church together because the Lutherans wouldn't let me take communion, and that the church would someday force me to baptize my babies. Ha! (On a side-note, have you ever read much about Luther? He was a rather..."interesting" fellow. On another side note, all five of our children ARE baptized--that's another story for another day though.)
But that never happened. :) What did happen was that we had a lot of conversations about religion, and Jesus, and books we'd read. (I'd had God in an itty bitty box for so much of my life and it was fascinating being exposed to some different ideas.) God worked in our hearts to bring us--independently--to many of the same conclusions.
And overall I'd say we got along really well. We really believed in mutual respect within our relationship. (Later we'd also come to embrace the idea of mutual submission in a marriage relationship.) The disagreements we would have (nothing overly serious, don't worry) came mostly after we were engaged.
The stakes were higher.
It's hard work building a relationship and preparing for a life together.
We were young.
No one else we knew was really in our life-stage.
And quite frankly I think we waited too long to get married, period.
Yes I know those last two don't go together, but we knew we would marry, and I think the stage we were at in our relationship just didn't match our level of commitment. We were obviously very close--best friends, really--, engaged for nine long months, just plain wanting our life together to start...It was sort of like a holding pattern or balancing act, and while that can be a good thing, in our case it just wasn't. Not to mention we were committed to practicing abstinence outside of marriage, and that's a hard thing to fight for. Or at least it was for us. (Our reason for the nine month engagement was to minimize the amount of time Kevin would still have in school after we got married, which ended up not mattering anyway since he graduated earlier than expected.)
Still, we made it, got hitched and moved to Santa Barbara. We pictured living a simple life together that would include Kevin not being married to his job and me eventually at home, raising our 2-3 kids that we'd start having five years down the road--you know, we had to give ourselves time to really be together as a couple, to make our marriage really strong before adding children to the mix. While living out in the country, of course.
Ha, ha, ha. Hee, hee, hee.
So we didn't have everything figured out. (Not that we thought we did.) Turns out there was a lot God had yet for us to discover, an entirely new path and new way of viewing life. And marriage. And God's calling for us.
More on that soon.