Have you ever felt like someone you know online is totally your friend in real life? I have the biggest girl crush on Caitlin from Catholic Cookie Jar. Her blog is full to the brim with sweet, inspiring date ideas, decadent-looking treats, reflections on Scripture, and gorgeous photography as she chronicles newlywed life with Thomas, her husband and high-school sweetheart. I'm so excited to share their love story with you today! I'll turn it over to her now...
My husband and I are high school sweethearts! Thomas was the new guy from England, and I was the new girl from another school system, both starting out our freshman year at a Catholic high school. It sounds so cheesy, but it all started at our lockers (which were side by side). During the first year of high school, we made small talk at our lockers every morning, but it wasn’t until sophomore year that we became good friends. We had several classes together and lots of mutual friends, so much of our time was spent together in group settings, where we got to know each other better.
I had the biggest crush on Thomas, but I was as shy as could be. Little did I know that he also had a huge crush on me too! Since I lived 45 minutes away from school and neither of us had cars, Thomas joined the track team to spend more time with me after school.
Our relationship went from being just friends to boyfriend and girlfriend shortly after our junior prom! He got the code to my locker from one of my friends, and stuck roses and chocolate in there to surprise me and ask me when we were at our lockers together. He was just as sweet then as he is now!
|Thomas and Caitlin's first date, proposal, and wedding day!|
I liked that boy a lot, and I figured I had to keep things going! So I gathered up all my nerve, and told him I wanted to take him on a surprise date to make up for all the fun we had at prom! He came home with me on the bus, and I took him out to a park on the lake for a picnic, and then we went out for some ice cream.
After that, we were pretty much inseparable. There are two things that come to mind when I reflect on why I was so drawn to Thomas. The first is that he was always so incredibly witty and cheerful. He cracked me up multiple times a day (and still does), and he always put me in such a good mood. The second is that he was the only person I ever felt like I could totally and completely be myself around. I was able to let all my quirks out, only to find out that he had just as many quirks that I enjoyed as much as he enjoyed mine! He was always so respectful, and I felt like he really cherished me and loved everything about me.
By the end of high school, I truly foresaw marriage as a very real possibility for the future, and it was something that we had both talked about. We ended up going to the same college, and now those four years together seem like an absolute blur! We kept the tradition of picnics going, ran our first marathon together, went to sorority dances, went on some of the most random dates, studied together, and just enjoyed the college experience.During the summer before our senior year, Thomas worked about two hours away from me. I went to visit him for the day to celebrate our four year anniversary. He told me he had a secret date planned to celebrate, and I was really excited to see what he had in store! When I got there, he already had a cooler packed so he told me not to worry about lunch, and he took me to a park. Thomas insisted that we go eat our lunch in the grass by the water, even though I did not want to and tried so hard to get him to sit at a picnic table! He finally convinced me to sit on the ground, and he pulled a folded blanket out of the cooler. He asked me to spread it out while he got the food ready. I spread it out and was shocked to see that there were words on the blanket that said "I love you more than words can say, but maybe this will help..." Before I could even process it, I looked over to see Thomas down on one knee with a ring in his hand, asking me to marry him! It was one of the best moments of my life, but between the tears and the excitement, all I remember is that I said yes!
It was an especially sweet and special proposal because Thomas had spent a lot of time sewing the letters on the blanket over that month…In his apartment…with three male roommates. Now that’s a true act of love if I’ve ever seen one! It was also really special because Thomas had made plans for us to go celebrate with both of our families with dinner at his parents’ house! It was such a joyful day, one with sweet moments I will remember forever.
I had so much fun with all of the wedding planning, and I think I really surprised my family with being such an easygoing bride about everything. I just felt so incredibly blessed to be marrying my best friend after so many years of dating, and I felt so appreciative of all my parents were doing to make sure I had an amazing wedding. I was really excited about our wedding, but even more excited about the marriage after the wedding!
We got married on a hot summer day in July. It was everything I had dreamed about and more, and I couldn’t get that smile off of my face!
While I wish that I could say we were faithful Catholics with some sort of awesome Catholic love story that involved intercession of the saints and so forth, that’s just not the case with us. It was more of a journey to get to where we are today, and it’s a journey that will continue throughout the rest of our lives. We both loved our Catholic faith throughout high school, and we continued it by going to mass together every weekend and having conversations about our faith during college.
However, I think it was getting married that really moved us to further delve into our Catholic beliefs. We decided that we needed to provide ourselves with a solid faith foundation in our marriage to help us avoid the negative influences of our culture. Once we moved to a new town for me to start graduate school and Thomas got his first job, we had to adjust to being away from all of our family and friends. We joined the local Catholic church, and we fell in love with everything about it! The priests are just wonderful, the people there are so welcoming, and they had so much to offer. We joined a couple’s Scripture study at church right after getting married, and we’ve been participating in them ever since. The Scripture studies have been the best way for us to really learn and grow together.
We have met so many wonderful, holy couples who are striving to live out their faith, and they have been amazing role models for us. We even met an NFP instructor through the study, and decided to stop using contraception about a half a year into our marriage. What a blessing that has been! It has made us fall more and more in love with the church, and God’s blessings began to increase tremendously after starting to use NFP.
In terms of bringing our Catholic faith and prayer lives into our relationship on a day to day basis, we read the Bible together and pray together. We have adapted the Lectio Divina type of study into our own way of reading the Bible with one another. We talk about our intentions for each other and our intentions for our marriage. Above all, we constantly try to make sacrifices for one another every day to model the love that God has for us.
God has blessed us and our relationship so abundantly, and I am so thankful that he planned for me to share my life with Thomas. I constantly pray that we will glorify God through our marriage and let our love be a sign of God’s love to others.
Don't you just adore them? Be sure to visit Caitlin's blog for more, and if you'd like to see your love story featured on Captive the Heart, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!