Once Upon a Time, Twenty Years Ago

By Tammy Skipper, Contributing Writer

Our son is bound for books and lecture halls next month to start his first year of college. Our daughter is in denial about the number of days remaining before she begins her senior year of high school. It is almost beyond my comprehension that 10 months from now, they will be the ages my husband and I were when we got engaged.

Yes, we became engaged when I was a senior in high school. You may automatically begin to think of reasons we would come to a decision at such a young age, but let me tell you our story . It has nothing to do with many of our cultures assumptions.

Our high school consisted of grades ten through twelve. The summer before tenth grade, a friend of mine took Driver’s Ed and met this guy. He had a crush on her. She hadn’t returned the favor. He happen to be pretty persistent and (while keeping his social calendar quite full) he kept in touch with her as the school year started.

My friend and I didn’t have many classes together, so we often wrote notes in class and swapped them when we saw each other. We didn’t have text messaging back then. One day in class, she was politely ignoring Mr. Persistent by writing a note to me. He thought it would be funny to write one to me as well, despite the fact we knew nothing about each other.

He didn’t expect me to write him back. 

My friend quickly became the mail carrier between Mr. Persistent and I. We began to get to know each other as our schedules continually interfered with actually meeting face to face. There were no facades or games like their often are between teenagers. I would honestly say we developed a friendship before we ever saw each other face to face, three weeks after I first received his note.

We remained friends for well over a year, but by the fall of his Senior year he was focused on having more than just friendship. It took months for me to get the message. But one day on our way to Walt Disney World, he took my hand in his…

In a way it’s like he’s never let it go.

As a high school senior, I had a heavy course load of Honors and Advanced Placement classes. I was never great at sports, but I was great at school. I was on a mission to earn enough scholarship money to attend college. Somewhere in the deep recess of my being, I knew I wanted to get married and have a family but I thought it would be years down the road. As our relationship developed from that first note to the middle of my Senior year, I knew this was the man who could fill that role. I wasn’t willing to take a chance on letting him out of my life because others thought we were too young.

We both love our families and we didn’t want to disrespect them. We were not perfect and we didn’t do everything right, but we knew we were committed to each other. We had serious discussion, I prayed countless hours, I wondered how everyone was going to react, but in my soul I knew God would bless us if we sought after Him.

On Easter weekend of my Senior year, Mr. Persistent officially asked my (not super excited about it) father for permission to marry me. Since they already had an amazing relationship, it was the first time he was actually nervous in my father’s presence. Somewhat hesitantly, we received the blessing of our parents.

Now that my teenagers are approaching this age, I truly cannot imagine everything our parents felt during that time.

I do know that a few months later, we promised forever before God and family.

Once Upon a Time, 20 Years Ago

Every single day we make that same promise to each other. Sometimes it’s been in sickness and sometimes in health. Compared to the rest of the world, we’ve said it for richer…but many times during the toddler years it felt as though it was for poorer.

I pray our marriage would continue to be protected from our own human weakness and sin. We have had our trials but we are blessed beyond measure. To this day I do not believe our youth was a hindrance to our ability to develop a strong marriage…because in all things in our lives our success depends entirely upon our God.

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. “