25 Years and Counting

June 20, 1992 we said, “I do.”
Ken and I never should have gotten married. Actually, we never should have started dating. When we met, some 30 plus years ago, I was a 17 year old High School Senior and Ken was a 22 year old college graduate. I didn’t have many boyfriends, and rarely dated. Ken had a lot of female friends, and had been involved in several serious relationships. We weren’t even friends. At best we were acquaintances…he was just some guy I knew.
Four years later, we were still involved with St. Nicholas’ Youth Fellowship. Only, by now, I was 21 and had just completed by AA degree at the local community college. I was accepted to Franciscan University of Steubenville and was eager to go away to college. Thanks be to God, we couldn’t afford it. Because, if we could, I wouldn’t be here today.
That September (1990) Ken had just gotten out of a bad relationship and decided he just wanted to date. I had hesitated that night about going to Youth Fellowship. Perhaps I needed to be “done” helping out. What did I really contribute anyway? But, as it turns out, I had nothing else to do, and so I went. Good thing, too. That was the night Ken started flirting with me.
It was awkward…He kept asking me all these questions, “How come we’ve never gone out?” “We should go out to dinner.” “What kind of food do you like?” Etc.
Um, does he “like” me? Do I like him? Do I want to go out with him?
As I mentioned, I didn’t go out much. I thought it would be fun to go out on a date.
My dad was super excited. Ken was 26, Catholic, and he still went to church. Well, most of the time. But Daddy didn’t need to know that part.
Our first date was on October 19, 1990, a day we still celebrate. We would have gone sooner, but unbeknownst to me, Ken had already lined up two other dates, with two other women.
He was fifteen minutes late picking me up and during that time I developed butterflies in my stomach, which was weird, because, um, why was I so nervous? “Did I like him?” I questioned for a second time.
That evening he took me to a nice restaurant, Maxwell’s By the Sea. I do wish I had been in a cocktail dress. But when I asked him previously where we were going he said he wasn’t going to tell me. Hmm, why so secretive? Then I asked what I should wear. He responded, “California Casual.” (To this day my beloved will insist he said, “California Dressy,” which he did not. And since it is MY blog, I get to tell my version of the story…)
Anyway, ratty tennis shoes or not, I had a wonderful time. We talked, and talked, and talked. And when he brought me home that evening I thanked him and gave him a big hug goodbye. Cause, that’s what we did. Only I didn’t kiss him, so Ken thought we were “just friends.”
I went inside, closed and locked the door, looked in the mirror and said, “I could live like this for the rest of my life.”
Once dear one realized I was attracted he was more interested in pursuing a relationship. None of his friends voted for me. They thought one of the two other women he was seeing would suit him better. But, fortunately, I had the Holy Spirit on my side. And within a month he stopped seeing the other ladies and put me on the two year plan. We would date for a year, get engaged, and then marry a year after that. Did I mention I married an accountant?
So, when I said we never should have gotten married, that was from a human perspective. God had a plan for our lives. God STILL has a plan for our lives. And here we are, 25 years, and almost 11 kids later. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

1 comment

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  1. Kristin Kemp

    I love this story and am glad that I got to be one of the first ones to see this relationship grow! Love you guys and happy anniversary!! šŸ’•ā¤ļøšŸ˜


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