Monday, October 14, 2013

Veritas: Jared and Rebekah, Part 2

{real life love}

Did you catch the first part of Jared and Rebekah's love story last month?  When last they were on the blog, they'd begun a wonderful relationship through letters, but after officially dating for a while, Rebekah felt uncertain of Jared's interest.  After some searching and prayer, he committed himself to pursuing and romancing her.  Read on for what happened next!

Love, love love the pure joy in their wedding exit!
We lived in a new rhythm. Jared did his best (which was quite a bit) to sweep me off my feet, while I tried to relax and let things unfold on their own time. We went to church and family functions together, did a lot of "everyday life" together. On Wednesdays, I would come to his house and cook dinner, and then we would go to the young adults' group at our church.

Everything felt more natural now. We meshed in ways we never had before, and the emotional awkwardness disappeared as we both felt free to express how much we liked one another. Days when I didn't talk to Jared felt somehow flat. I loved it.

Late one August Wednesday, driving home from church in the still summer dark, I asked myself The Question. It was the one I had been asking myself all summer. What if Jared and I broke up? Whenever I had considered this before, I had felt peace. No sense of heartbreak. Sure I would be sad, but I'd get over it pretty easily, I thought.

Now I asked again. What if Jared and I were to break up? Could I do it?

The suddenness of the response punched the air from my lungs.


I clutched the steering wheel, unable to breath for a moment, unable to think for a moment more. Then again the answer came: NO WAY. Stunned, I vibrated between joy and panic. The answer was unmistakable. If I had to say goodbye? If my future didn't include him? Oh God, I would feel like part of me had died, I truly would. My chest hurt just thinking about it. I had never wanted anything as much as I wanted to be Jared's wife at that moment. This is from you, isn't it? What I asked for? Love without any doubts?

It was. Just like the beginning of our courtship, I felt absolutely certain of my answer and had no need to reason myself into a conclusion. I had pitched smack into a certainty: I loved Jared and I wanted to marry him. The end. And I never asked myself The Question again.

My mom always told me that when I fell in love, I would know it. She was--as usual--right. 

By the end of September, Jared had a full-time job and I would have bet my boots that he was going to propose. Eventually. In the meantime I was delighted to stay as I was: completely twitterpated. How wonderful to finally know how I felt. 

On the night of October 1st, 2010, just before I went to bed, my mom asked me how I felt about my relationship with Jared. Of course, she was well aware of the fact that I had fallen in love-- I doubt that was a mystery to anyone at that point. But she wanted to hear my thoughts on the future.

I told her, "I am sure Jared's going to ask me, but I don't think it will be for a while. Probably the end of November, at the earliest. I'm not expecting anything."

Famous last words.

The next morning, I was watching Jared's two young nieces (I'll admit that by then, I thought of them as my nieces too). My plan was to be at their house all day. Around noon we were just finishing up lunch when I heard a knock at the front door. I walked over and peeked through the window. There was Jared, with a rather sheepish grin on his face. What in the world? He's supposed to be at work.

I opened the door and let my boyfriend in. Our nieces were of course very pleased to see him, and demanded that he read them a book before naptime. Once I had put the youngest one to bed, Jared announced, "I'm taking you on a date."

"Hold on! What about the girls?"

"I've got a replacement coming." Sure enough, one of Jared's brothers showed up and shooed us out the door.

I had been too befuddled by Jared's sudden appearance to reflect, but once in the car, my curiosity kicked in. Having convinced myself that he would under no circumstances propose until late November, that possibility figured only briefly in my speculations. Besides, Jared liked surprising me. An elaborate plot such as this would not be unheard of.

I soon figured out that we were going to Longwood Gardens. Jared had never been there, but we had been talking about going for a while; I was delighted to realize that he had gone ahead and planned a trip. Of course he was not going to propose there, no way, even though it would be the perfect place to do it so this was just going to be a really special date.

I honestly don't know how I refrained from collapsing under the weight of the obvious. But I did. We arrived at Longwood and I was still certain there would be no ring that day.

As we got out of the car, Jared grabbed a large backpack. "Sweatshirt," he mumbled. "And a water bottle." I rolled my eyes-- whatever, boyfriend. I was determined to enjoy our visit and show Jared all of my favorite places. We wandered through the beech woods for a while, then turned up towards the meadow. There's a nice view and a bench just before the treeline. I stood looking out at the golden, grassy expanse, with Jared right behind me.

"Ah, do you want to sit down a while?"

It finally hit me.


There was a letter and a poem. "Remember when I brought you a white rose on our first date?" he asked. "That was for purity and friendship. Well, now I'm giving you red ones, because I love you. One for each month we've been together. Here's one for January, here's one for February . . ."

Oh, so that's what was in the backpack. By the time he had given me all nine, I don't know what I looked like, but I felt radiant; it was the first time Jared had told me that he loved me and those words held incredible power. (They still do.)

"I don't have a rose for October." He reached deep inside his backpack, pulled out a tiny velvet box, and grinned. "But I do have this."

So he asked. I took a long breath and looked into his eyes. I said yes.

After Jared slid the ring onto my finger, we just sat there a few minutes, too happy for more words. The first thing Jared asked, then, was when I wanted to get married. Cut to the chase, why don't you! I suggested January. We knew our wedding had to be over a college break, since we had quite a few friends and family members at school. We ended up settling on January 2, exactly three months from the day Jared proposed.

Not long to plan a wedding, but we weren't doing it alone. Our families pitched in to help and were marvelously supportive through the whole thing. Mostly, it was fun, despite the inevitable snags and worries.  I tried to view the wedding as a big party, a celebration of what God had done. That perspective relieved the stress and increased my enjoyment of the whole process. Those three months could have become an emotional nightmare, but by God's grace, they didn't.

Our wedding day approached and our excitement rose. My parents' house was jam-packed with party paraphernalia; I made dozens of meatballs and cranberry bars; Mom filled urns and pitchers with gorgeous flowers. Jared and I drove to the airport to pick up several out-of-town wedding guests, glad for the excuse to be alone for a couple of hours.

On the morning of our wedding, I got up fairly early. My youngest brother woke up around the same time. We spent some quiet minutes together, making breakfast and talking. It was odd, eating fried eggs and toast in the big echoing dining room, knowing that I would never do this quite the same way again.

Then the morning's business of beautification got underway. My aunt worked miracles with a curling iron and hairspray, while a friend from church applied makeup. Once I was all dolled up, I drove with our photographers to the bed and breakfast where the reception would take place later that day. I didn't feel nervous at all, partially because the day had been planned so well, and partially because I knew that Jared was waiting for me, and what could possibly make me nervous then? I was going to see my man!

When we arrived, I asked the photographers to wait outside for fifteen minutes; Jared and I had decided to have our first kiss that morning, without the entire world (well, 120 wedding guests) awkwardly watching. It was a very smart decision. And that's all I'll say about that.

Almost time.

Our moms and all of my bridesmaids spent several minutes praying for me. Then we went to line up outside of the sanctuary. As I took my dad's arm, I started to shake. It was a bit surreal, on the verge of terrifying, that I was actually going to walk down the aisle in front of everybody, stand at the front of the church, and enter the most important covenant I'd ever make on earth. Even though I was more excited for this than anything in my life so far, there was that inevitable moment when I thought, Good Lord, what am I doing?!

I felt dizzy. I felt, for the first and last time, unsure.

Then we started walking and the fright dropped away. I know there were people all around, standing up, taking pictures, grinning, but Jared was really the only thing I saw.

Everything went according to plan. To this day I cannot think of a single thing I would have changed about our wedding ceremony. It was beautiful, filled with Scripture and music. I  can still remember what our pastor said in his short sermon.  At the end, we walked out to Marvin Gaye's “Ain't No Mountain High Enough”-- that kicked off the rest of the afternoon and evening, and it was party time. Music played by talented friends, poetry and prayer, swing dancing, beautiful flowers, abundant laughter. Finally becoming Jared's wife. Truly the most perfect day of my life.

Life since then has been pretty wonderful too. I won't call marriage a total bed of roses--well, actually I will, because roses have thorns. We've had arguments, walked through infertility, struggled to communicate, gone nearly batty over a crying newborn. But we have also grown in our affection for one another. We both believe that marriage has been nothing but a blessing, even the hard parts. Jared has helped me to love God more and to understand myself better, and I hope that I have helped him too. This January we'll celebrate our fourth anniversary. The following March will be our little girl's first birthday. Who knows what might come next?

I love Rebekah's thoughts that happily ever after is so much more than the perfect ending, but the roses with the thorns.  Beautiful, no?  

Want to share your love story on Captive the Heart?  Email me at!


  1. I really enjoyed reading this post! What a beautiful story. I love the part at the end about marriage being a true "bed of roses," with thorns and all. Marriage is for the purpose of lifting your spouse to Heaven, and the rough parts build virtue and make us holier! So cool.

    Rebekah, I was wondering, where did you get your wedding dress? It looks so lovely!



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