We drove towards Asheville, North Carolina. Our honeymoon was waiting. We had only known each other for five months when we married the day before. So that day, we knew each other, five months and one day.

We didn’t know much about each other, but we knew we shared a love for each other and for the Great Smokey Mountains. We drove, listened to each other talk and listened to music. We were supposed to be heading towards Greenville, South Carolina. But, for some reason we got detoured and started heading towards Greenville, Georgia. (Since this incident fourteen years ago, I have realized almost every single Southern state has a Greenville.)

I would be lying if I said we noticed it right away. When we figured out we were going the wrong direction, we laughed. We were so in love we didn’t care. It didn’t even matter if we actually made it to Asheville. It didn’t matter that we spent more in gas because of our detour. It didn’t matter that we were off schedule. We were just happy to be together. All that mattered was we were married, we were in love and we had a whole life waiting for us.

In Love And A Whole Life Waiting For Us

Things Were Looking Up

I was married. Things were looking up.

No more waiting for Mr. Right. No more bad date decisions. No more dating.

We arrived at Asheville. Asheville is full of so much history, but honestly all I wanted to know was Chris’ history, his present and his future. All that mattered was we were married, we were in love and we had a whole life waiting for us.

We talked, we listened, we laughed, we got to know each other even more.

No Regrets

People ask me all of the time: How did you know the he was “the one” so quickly?

Chris and I only knew each other for three weeks before we were engaged and five months to the day when we married. (I say that last sentence so much it rolls off of my tongue naturally. I love telling people our story and I tell it often.)

The answer is this: God.

Chris and I both had given up on love. We were not looking. But, God….

God put us in the right place, at the right time and sparks flew. I can envision God looking down and thinking, “suckers”. No seriously! Just kidding! I believe we only dated for a short time, because God knew we needed each other. We needed to find love again. We needed to experience love in a new way. We needed to experience God’s love in a new way.

Has marriage been easy? No!

Do we regret dating for only a short amount of time? No!

Do we wish we would have gotten to know each other more before we married? No!

It works for us. We just knew! All that mattered was we wanted to marry, we were in love and we had a whole life waiting for us.

Hey Ma, Look At Us Now

Our life has changed a lot since our honeymoon. So have I. (Gushy warning!) I can say, it’s partly because of my “direction-challenged husband”. (I will pay for that one later, even if it was wrapped into a compliment.)

He’s let me cry on his shoulder when I couldn’t get pregnant. He’s lifted me up when I have needed a confidence boost. He’s pushed me to do things I never would have ever dreamed I could do. Example: this website and the career I have now. He’s held my hand when I had our three kids. And most recently, he sat by my bedside when the doctors told me I had a rare genetic heart condition.

“For better or for worse”. When we exchanged our vows almost 14 years ago we were starting our lives together with excitement. We had only known each other for five months when we were married and only three weeks when we got engaged. It was sudden! 😉We weren’t thinking about the “worse”. We were only thinking about the “better”. • • As we walk through my heart health journey we talk about how we never would have dreamed that this would “happen to us”. • • God didn’t say life would be easy. (Matt 7:13-14) He said there would be hard days, hard times and hard seasons in life. We may not have envisioned our journey to take such a turn at such a young age. We may not have envisioned our lives to be turned upside-down from a health scare. We may not have dreamed of the scariness, the craziness and the heartache (literally and figuratively), but one thing is for sure we envisioned life would be better with the other. No matter if it was and is “for better or for worse”. • • He’s held my hand to show his affection. He’s held my hand while I brought our three kids into the world. He’s held my hand when I thought I was dying and so did he. He’s held my hand when my heart wouldn’t allow me to breathe, literally. He’s held my hand when I’ve felt like I’ve had no hope. He’s held my hand as he’s prayed for me. He’s held my hand and hair as I vomited while taking horrid heart meds. He’s held my hand through “for better or for worse”. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. • • When a loved one falls sick, we sometimes forget about the caretakers and the hand holders. Today I honor this caretaker and hand holder. He’s an amazing man of God and I pray my boys grow up to be just like him and my daughter marries someone just like him. • • He is an example of a man of his word and faith! He’s a testimony from God and he’s mine. ❤️ • • Marriage isn’t easy. Life isn’t easy. But I’m so blessed to have someone by my side that will hold my hand through “for better or for worse.”❤️

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He showed me for the first time in my adult life how to love and to be more like Jesus.

I am not usually this sappy. And I do not usually feel the need to shout my love over the world-wide-web. I am secure in our love and do not need a pat on the back, but if I have learned anything on this journey to heart health, it is this: Life is too short. Eat the cake. Buy the shoes. Never take anything or anyone for granted. Tell your loved ones you love them.

So that is what I am doing! Shouting it from my little soundboard of love that I call a blog.

I love you Chris! Happy fourteen!

You’ve done good. You’ve put up with me for this long. It’s been a lot longer than anyone else ever has. Congratulations!

I will get lost and go to the wrong “Greenville” any day with you.

Faith

You wonder why I have faith and why I believe in God so wholeheartedly. It’s because of Chris. I cannot doubt my faith and love for God when God brought Chris and I together.

All that matters is we are married, we are in love and we have a whole life waiting for us.

This is a pretty appropriate memory that popped up on my FB timeline. After the seven months we’ve had, he’s been my rock! I seriously don’t brag enough on him. [this pic was taken shortly before my heart troubles surfaced.] • • I don’t brag on this dude enough. He puts up with my wild ideas, business and family oriented. He puts up with my Disney love, don’t let him fool you, he loves it too! He puts up with my love of clothes and makeup, don’t let him fool you though he loves them just as much, well the clothes not the makeup. 😜 • • But most of all he loves me. Our relationship isn’t perfect. We drive each other crazy somedays (okay most days 😜) but the love is there. There’s only one love of mine that champs the love I have for him and that’s the love I have for Jesus. • • Those of you who know me, know I’m not a sappy or mushy person. So this is out of my element for me to “claim” my love for this man on Facebook. 😂 • • But, it’s so important for others to see that marriage isn’t perfect, it’s not a fairytale. It’s a journey. A journey to an incredible love story that you can create all of your own! • • Maybe it’s the vacation that’s making me a bit sappy. Either way it’s amazing to sit back and look at what’s really important. 😜❤️ • • P.S. the whole time this photo was being taken we were steadily pushing a twin away! He told us we weren’t “good looking” enough, we needed him in the pic with us. Obviously according to him, his “good looking” looks didn’t come from us! 😂 #sothankful

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Until next time…

~xoxo

Mandi

photo credit: ucumari photography touching the clouds via photopin (license)
photo credit: BlakeLewisPhotography Biltmore Estate via photopin (license)

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