We first met Morgan and Ronnie virtually through Instagram. They share a similar heart for marriage and life together through their site Romance and Adventure. So when we were in Portland we knew we had to meet up. Morgan and Ronnie’s story is one of heart break and challenge. But together, they found a true love built on a foundation of friendship and shared faith. Together they describe their marriage as being on the #1 team in the universe. Continue reading to learn more about their amazing love story.
Morgan and Ronnie – Portland, OR
Wedding Date: June 12, 2009
Tell us your love story: It was Christmas day, 2007. I sent him a poem. We were not close enough friends for me to share all that was on my heart, but in the poem I hoped he would here me saying: “I get you; I get where you’ve been.”
His Christmas letter, sent out in an email, confessed the pain of his divorce and the chaotic experience of wandering through life unsure of who you are. It also shared a hint of Spring returning- a deep gratitude for days spent less miserable than before. I had never been divorced because I had never been married. But, I knew the dark pit he was talking about, because I had landed there too, my womb full of unexpected life by a man who had no intention of loving me or fathering the life within me. I also knew the glory, the relief, and the great gratitude of days not confined to pain and misery anymore. Single motherhood is awkward, the way divorce is akward: no one knows how to talk to you about it, especially religious people. But in living life as a pariah, after you go through a season of incredible darkness and self-destruction, you gain a certain character strength, humility, and intimate awareness of your own deep brokenness, and the reality that despite all the muck and mire of your life, some beauty within still remains.
In our shared social imperfections we soon found comfort and freedom in a rekindled friendship. We also saw glimpses of God’s mercy.
The poem I sent was from T.S Eliot’s East Cocker, with the infamous last line that says, “In the end is my beginning.” I didn’t know that T.S. Eliot was a Christian or that later I would become one too, or that what he was pointing to in his poem was the miracle of God’s redemptive work; that when we come to the end of ourselves, God can and does act to work all things for good.
I also was wonderfully unaware that indeed a new beginning was unfolding in both our lives: the beginning of us.
Flash back to 2004, We met on a blue-sky morning near a building made of adobe in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I was starting my year as a Grad student in the Eastern Classics Master’s program. My hair was strawberry blonde, and in a few shorts weeks I would experiment with dying it barbie doll white. I was 24, six years away from knowing God, ready to learn Sankskrit and drink a lot of beer with interesting, worldly, and good-looking people.
Ronnie was the husband of a girl he had met at church camp when he was 19 years old. He wasn’t a student at St. Johns, but his wife was, and all of us became part of the same dear circle of friends.
A year later, as soon as I had graduated, I moved to California. Ronnie and I gradually lost touch. My life started to unravel when I found out I was pregnant and the father of the child was heavily into drugs. I didn’t know his life had begun to unravel too. The very first love of his life, his wife of 6 years, didn’t want to be married anymore.
When Ronnie and I reconnected in 2007, thanks to a rouge invite email from Linked-In, life had dramatically reshaped us both. He, who along with his wife used to drag me to church and read me the bible, had now lost his religion and his trust in God’s goodness and was desperately seeking to regain some faith while climbing the corporate ladder in Birmingham, England. The bottle blonde he once knew, the one who bubbled and bounced and lived for the party, had grown out her roots and was now managing life as a single mother in Portland, Oregon.
As imperfect people painfully aware of the folly of being human and hungry for God, we bonded. Immediately we knew each other as kindred spirits, both having been thrown crazy curve balls by life.
Despite the 4,287 miles of continent and ocean between us, our connection and friendship grew. We began to notice something dear in one another we had not noticed before, and then one day—on opposite sides of the globe—we both woke-up, utterly in love.
In the time between that poem I sent him in December of 2007, to his response of a simple ‘thank you’ 4 months later, in April of 2008, God was patiently preparing in each of our heart’s room for the other. Both of us had experienced the end of “life as we knew it”.
That Spring, the whirlwind began. Falling in love long distance was very literally a poetic experience: nearly every hour we spent awake and without one another, a love note was written. From May 2008 until September we exchanged more than 1,500 e-mails, hitting “send” 500 times a month, 125 times per week, 17.5 times per day. When we were married less than a year later at a bar in Kentucky, it seemed long overdue.
Even though married life started out quite unideal (we were poor, without family or community, thrust into a new house in a new state, suddenly parents trying our best to raise a 2 year old together, just beginning to learn each other’s intimacies and love languages, inching closer, but still far, from God) we were doing okay.
What is your best marriage advice? Love your spouse into who they were created to be. See in them their highest and best self and look for ways to affirm that person in them daily.
What is your secret to a happy marriage? Making “all day foreplay” and a life of True Romance & Meaningful Adventure.
What does an amazing marriage look like to you? An Amazing Marriage to us is feeling like the #1 Team in the Universe. We are best friends, partners in crime, beloveds and lovers.
The Amazing Marriage Adventure Book
We travelled over 40,000 miles to all 50 states in 2015 to meet and document the stories of Amazing Marriages throughout the country. We are currently writing a book that will feature everything we’ve learned from all the amazing couple we’ve met during the adventure. Want to read more of this couple’s love story and find out what we’ve learned during the Amazing Marriage Adventure? Join our mailing list below to be among the first notified of more details and to learn how you can get one of the first copies of the book. Plus you’ll be able to take part in our upcoming e-mail only 15 day Amazing Life Together challenge!