Saturday, July 31, 2010

5 Years and Counting

July 30, 2005

I love this guy so much!! Happy 5 year Anniversary, babe!!

Tad and I met at Moody Bible Institute our freshman year in 2002. We were friends right from the start and served in ministry in Cabrini Green together and were on the same brother/sister floor at Moody. We started going to the same church, and the hour and a half commute there helped us to get to know each other quite well. Though we came from very different backgrounds, we hit it off right away. I'm so glad that we really developed our friendship that first year instead of rushing into a relationship. It got to the point where we were very comfortable together; we were friends before we pursued a relationship.

My cousin, Emily, came to visit me at Moody, and I had to go pick her up from the train station, so I asked Tad if he would come with me (I am still not good at navigating those things!). He subsequently asked if I would like to go on a date with him before we picked her up. So he knew I liked Italian food and researched to find one of the best little authentic Italian restaurants in Chicago. We dressed up, and I can still remember him leaning over the desk on the ground floor of my dorm waiting for me to come down. After we ate dinner, we got on the train, and he told me that was his first date!! I was completely taken back!! It was the sweetest thing and I could hardly believe I was his first date!!
From there, we didn't start "dating." We mostly hung out in groups, at church functions, in ministry for Moody, or on our bro/sis floor outings. It wasn't until that summer that we officially started dating.
Tad and I are complete stark opposites. We still laugh that God put us together, but we really balance each other out. Tad- listener. Steph - talker. Tad - peacemaker. Steph - fighter. Tad - sports. Steph - academics. Tad - homeschool. Steph - public and private school. Tad - big family. Steph - small family. Tad - lived all over the world. Steph - northeast Ohio. Tad - spontaneous. Steph - planner. Anyways, you get the picture!!
Our common interests right off the bat were that we wanted to be in ministry overseas, and we wanted a big family. We both ended up graduating from Moody with degrees in International Ministries, and hope to one day be living overseas doing some kind of ministry.
Our marriage has not been without its hardships, either. Our first year we were still in school, in choir, on exec for choir, and I got pregnant 4 months into our marriage. That summer, Tad worked 2 jobs and I barely saw him. Finally, I gave birth to our beautiful daughter, Madelynn. Tragically, 12 days later, Tad's brother was killed in a car accident with 3 of his friends. It was probably the best and worst time of Tad's life, and it was definitely hard on our marriage for the next couple years. I didn't know what it was like to lose a sibling. He didn't know how to talk about it. Nevertheless, we made it through.
There were some rough years in there, but looking back over this last year, we have really grown together, deeper and stronger in our relationship. In December of 2009, we welcomed our first son, Judah Paul, into the world. He is such a joy, and we love being a little family of 4!!
I never used to understand how people said, "I love you more today than the day I married you" until now. I loved Tad when we were dating. I loved him when I said, "I do." I loved him after our first baby was born, and after his brother died. But over these last 5 years, and 8 years since we have known each other, our love has deepened. I love him so much. I can't imagine spending my life with someone else. I still can't get enough of him. I count down the hours until he comes home from work. We text all through his shifts at work. We love spending time together as a family, and as a couple.
Tad, you are the love of my life. Thank you for making me a better person, for pushing me to do better, and for loving me unconditionally, no matter how bad I screw up. Thank you for not fighting, yelling, or being unkind. You are a kind, gentle spirit, and I hope to learn that from you. You are an amazing father to our children, and they absolutely adore you. I am so happy with you as my best friend and soul mate for life. I cherish your wisdom, see you growing as a man, and love you more than ever. Happy first 5 years!!

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