Friendship, and being each other’s best friend has been one of the keys to an amazing marriage that couples tell us over and over again. Amy and James relationship started first as a friendship that turned into a best friendship that eventually turned into marriage. But it almost didn’t turn out that way. Continue reading to learn more about Amy and James’s love story.
Amy and James – Denver, CO
Wedding Date: August 5, 2000
Love Story: James and I met in February 1997 in Abilene, Texas. I was a Sophomore at Abilene Christian University, and James was in his second year at community college in New York. He was in Abilene with his parents for a conference at ACU. He knew my roommate, Dawn, from church camp in New York, so I met him in Sikes Dorm. I specifically remember thinking he was cute and, since I was dating someone else at the time, Dawn and I talked about setting him up with our single friend when he transferred to ACU that next fall.
When he transferred, he was dating Dawn’s little sister long distance. Dawn and I both had long distance relationships lingering from that summer as well, so the three of us hung out a lot in those first few weeks of my Junior year. Eventually, James and I established our own friendship separate from Dawn, and we’d get together for lunch once a month or so as he created his own network of friends.
It was a year later when he came to my apartment to tell me about a breakup – a completely normal occurrence. He had a party he had been planning to take her to that weekend, and I remember wanting to go. I just knew a lot of the guys in that fraternity and thought it would be fun. He left my apartment that night and didn’t invite me. Turns out, he was making sure his ex-girlfriend wasn’t still expecting to go. He found me and invited me to join him the next night. I accepted, and we went and rented costumes for the renaissance-themed party. During the party, there was just a chemistry there that hadn’t been there before. By the end of the night, he had his arm around my shoulders as we watched the bonfire.
Because I was raised in a Christian denomination that was far different from his, the next week he got some serious cold feet regarding our relationship. He wouldn’t even return my calls so that we could give our rented costumes back! He finally did, and I boldly took that chance to invite him to the Homecoming musical at ACU the following weekend. He accepted, and we had “the talk” about our relationship the night after the musical. He didn’t want to lose our friendship and he was scared we’d ruin everything if we dated. I said I thought we could just commit not to do that and give dating a try. I really thought we had something. He agreed, and we had our first kiss that night.
The next day, he picked me up and we were going to run some errands. We were at the Walmart on Judge Ely in Abilene when he starts breaking up with me!! He said he just didn’t think the difference in our theological beliefs would work. I told him that when I said I wanted to give our relationship a shot, I was thinking we could try for more than 24 hours! I sort of talked him out of the breakup, and from that day on, our relationship and love grew.
Because we had a fairly lengthy friendship on which to base our relationship, we fell in love quickly. I remember going to Dallas to stay with my parents for the weekend. We went to see Meet Joe Black at the AMC in Plano, and after that movie (maybe only one month into our relationship) James told me he loved me. I was thrilled as I knew I felt the same. It was a sweet moment.
We spent much of our first 6 months studying the Bible together which also solidified our relationship. There were also a lot of arguments. But, working through that conflict helped us grow stronger. We knew after that 6 month period that we could make this work and that we’d likely get married.
We dated for a little over a year before James proposed at my parents’ house in Plano at Thanksgiving. It was a sweet proposal with a scavenger hunt that resulted in a very happy couple! We were married the following August in Dallas.
We’ve lived all over the country – and even in Dublin, Ireland for a summer – which has further strengthened our love and relationship as we learn to build community again in a new place. We are now on an amazing church plant adventure that has grown us even closer still. As we approach the 15 year mark this summer, I’m not sure our relationship has ever been stronger. Something I prayed for us from the very beginning.
What is one exciting moment from your marriage?
As for a particular event, the birth of our 3rd son was pretty amazing. I had some medical issues that prevented me from having an epidural with our kids. Both of my girls were born late – 6 and 11 days respectively. I was expecting Nathan to be late as well, but I started going into labor a week early. Being my third rodeo, I knew what to expect and what it felt like. We went to the hospital, and they just wouldn’t believe that I was in labor.
My dilation wasn’t progressing (which I told them would change), so they sent us home and gave me an Ambien on the way out. We went home and each slept in two of our spare rooms as my mom was in the master as we thought she’d be watching our girls that night. I slept for a bit – maybe 45 minutes – and then I woke up with severe contractions. I knew I needed to get up and head to the hospital again, but the Ambien had my judgement clouded. I just couldn’t execute on the decision. After about an hour of that, I had to pee.
I finally got up and was determined to head to the hospital after that. As I walked to the bathroom, I felt my first pushing contraction. I knew that was bad, but I just thought to myself: I pushed for 30 minutes with Emma. The hospital is 12 minutes away. We can make it. I did my business and decided to check and see what was going on down there. Nathan was crowning! I could literally feel his head. The next contraction came, and his head popped right out.
I’m standing now and just super focused on him not hitting something on the way out. So, the next contraction comes and the rest of his body just slid right out into my arms. I couldn’t believe it. He yelped a couple of times but was breathing and seemed fine. Only then did I finally have the wherewithal to call James – who was dead asleep in another room. It took several times of calling him before he finally appeared in the bathroom. I said: Well, we have a baby! He said: You mean it’s time to go to the hospital? Mind you, the bathroom was dark. I hadn’t turned the light on, because I thought I was just going to pee. I didn’t know I’d be catching my baby, too. I told James to turn the light on, and of course he go QUITE a shock! We wrapped up in towels and headed to the hospital and are grateful for our now 4 year old little guy!
What is your best marriage advice? Don’t undervalue strong communication. Work at it, learn about it, get better at it, go to counseling to do better at it. Do whatever it takes to keep your communication strong. James and I don’t keep secrets from each other. Our friends know that they shouldn’t tell me something if they’re not ok with me sharing it with James. There’s really no discussion topic off limits. That’s my best advice.
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