Saturday, October 19, 2013

the story of us

I was reading through a list of journal jar questions and came across this:

What convinced you most in your choice of a spouse?

This is a question worth answering, one I want my kids and grandkids to know the answer to.

Wendel and I have known each other for a long time. We knew each other in high school, mostly because we were in the same ward. His family moved to Mesa, Arizona from Zionsville, Indiana his Junior year of high school. I was in Utah at the time but moved back my Junior year / his Senior year. We were only ever acquaintances in high school (this post explains all about that). Picking up from that post, we parted ways that summer of 99, when Wendel was dropping me off from a date and I thought he was going to kiss me. I stepped away and told him I really wanted to serve a mission (which he already knew), I was writing a missionary and I was dating someone else (Wendel and I had only been casually dating - I was casually dating others and one guy I was seeing was getting a bit more serious). He was supportive of my mission, which always impressed me, but I think he figured things wouldn't work out between us. We left on a positive note but with no intention to write to each other while I was gone or try to date in the future. I remember thinking he was such a fun guy and it would be fun to get to know him better and spend more time with him. The timing wasn't right though.

We really stated dating seriously after my mission. While I was on my mission, I worked with a family from Russia. I thought about writing to Wendel, because he served his mission in Russia, but I never did. I received a letter while on my mission from one of our mutual friends, Julie Berky. In her letter, she mentioned Wendel Schultz was engaged. I didn't think much of it, other than I was happy for him, until I got home from my mission.

My mom not only got married and moved to a new town while I was on my mission, but she and her husband moved into my mission president's (old) house! I came home to a new family - two step-brothers and a step-sister and a step-father I had never met. I was working full-time at a bank as an Administrative Assistant (thanks to my step-dad for helping me get the job) and spent my free time working out, sometimes hanging out with girls from my ward or my sister, Lindsey, going to the gym or walking/running in my neighborhood, or reading scriptures and writing in my journal.

I was heartbroken about a boy and trying to move on. Things had not worked out at all with the guy I wrote to for three years (while we both served our missions...seriously thought I was going to marry that guy). There was another guy I had also written while on my mission. Things were pretty serious with him too. He actually proposed to me before I left and I told him no. He wrote to me faithfully and would've married me. I loved him and loved his family but I just didn't feel right about it. He wasn't the best person for me so I told him not to be at the airport when I came home. His mom later told me the day he got that letter from me, he proposed to the girl he had been dating. Even though he was engaged, he still came to my homecoming. It was very uncomfortable for me and I even doubted my decision to break things off with him. I went to his wedding reception and felt like my heart was breaking. It was a difficult time. I had dated a few guys since I'd been home but nothing serious.  One was a guy I had a crush on since 6th grade. I would write my name with his last name all through school and dreamed of marrying him someday. He was visiting Utah and asked me out. We had fun together and he is a great guy. We loved dancing together and picked up right where we left off with that. We even tried to do the long distance thing (he was living in Arizona at the time) but I felt like our communication wasn't very good and it just wasn't happening. There was another guy who turned out to be completely wrong for me in every way and ending that relationship was a very good decision.

I had been home six months and Wendel had crossed my mind a time or two, mostly because my sister (who loved Wendel when we dated before) kept bringing him up. She told me I should email him, almost daily. I told her he was married and she told me to at least tell him congratulations. I finally figured I could at least do that. I sent him an email telling him I heard he got married and congratulating him. He wrote back and told me he was never engaged and didn't know what I was talking about. He said he had tried emailing me at my old email address about once a month from the time he knew I was coming home from my mission. He then asked, "Dinner sometime?" That was in October of 2002. On our first date (for the second time), we talked on the front porch, which led to the living room, until 4:00 am. We hadn't held hands or kissed at this point. We were just talking and laughing and we couldn't get enough. I couldn't remember the last time I smiled so much. I felt so comfortable and happy and couldn't wait to see him again. He was down in Provo, going to school at BYU, and I was living in Centerville at my mom and step-dad's house. He came up a lot and I went down to Provo sometimes too. In December we took a road trip to Arizona together and unbeknown to me, he had a ring with him. It was also on that trip that the roads were closed in Flagstaff due to bad weather and we had to get a hotel...together. We had a rule in that hotel that we would only kiss in the hallway, not in the room, and we slept in separate beds. It worked but I was falling in love with him, which meant all sorts of anxiety flags were going up for me.

Luckily, he did not propose to me on that trip. He actually thought he lost the ring and was very worried about it. He didn't tell me he had a ring but said he lost something very important and from the way he was talking, I thought it could be a ring, which freaked me out. We had only been seriously dating for two months! I had always been nervous about marriage; sure, it was fun to think about being married someday but when it came down to it, I was terrified and didn't know how I would ever take that leap of faith with anyone. My parents are divorced and I saw several unhappy marriages to add to my "quiver" of reasons why the thought of marriage gave me an anxiety attack (literally). There was my dad, who told me how difficult marriage is, and bribed me not to get married until I was 24 with the promise of a car if I kept my end of the bargain (which I did...and I never did see that car). He also wanted me to kiss 10 guys before I got married and Wendel just so happened to be #9. Now, my dad was probably just pulling a number out - not being literal but just asking me to date several guys before settling down for the rest of my life. But to a teenage girl who hung on to every word her dad ever told her, I took it very literally. I did not want to repeat his mistakes and if this was his advice and wisdom, I would take it. And I did.

Wendel did propose to me in December of 2002. He knew by this point just how nervous I was about marriage. I knew he had a ring, as he had told me he did, and I had told him I wasn't ready for it yet. He said he was okay with that and we could take it slowly. But one evening in December I was leaving his house in Provo to drive back up to Centerville. He had told me to come back if the roads were bad. The roads ended up being so bad, I could hardly see in front of me. I called him and told him I was coming back to sleep on his couch because the roads weren't safe. When I was in his house for the second time that evening, he started walking toward me in the living room and stumbled a little, saying something was wrong with his knee. I thought he was hurt but then saw him kneeling in front of me, holding a little white box. My heart started racing as he opened it and I saw the most beautiful ring I had ever seen. It was exactly my taste; simple but beautiful. He told me he loved me and asked me if I would be his wife. I didn't answer right away. I was surprised and nervous and excited all at once. I then said yes and threw my arms around him. It felt right to say yes; I never felt that it was wrong. However, it only took a day or two for the anxiety to come back. I took the ring off and told him I couldn't be engaged right now.

It was the way he reacted that convinced me most in my choice of my spouse. 

He was understanding. He was patient. He held me and cried with me. He told me he would wait and work through this with me if this is what I wanted. He paid for me to go to counseling to work through the anxiety. He gave me space. He drove up to Centerville more than once, late and night, when I called him crying and just needed him to be there with me. His heart took a beating during the next two years, as we were engaged a total of three times before actually getting married. At one point, I broke things off entirely and moved to Logan, where I attended Utah State for a semester. I even dated someone else while I was there, and that absolutely broke Wendel's heart. I feel badly about that now but I was scared and needed space. That space and time away from Wendel helped me realize I didn't want to live my life without him. Wendel called and asked me if I would go to dinner with him on Valentine's Day. The guy I was dating also wanted to take me out on Valentine's Day. He had recently told me he loved me and I knew things were getting more serious from his point of view. I knew I had to make a decision. I told this guy I wanted to spend Valentine's Day with Wendel (whom he knew I was engaged to previously). He was completely shocked and hurt, which is understandable. He told me he needed time away from me and I told him I was going to spend some time with Wendel, as I still had feelings for him. Spending time with Wendel again felt so right. I felt like I was coming home. I spent a lot of time on my knees and at the temple, praying and pleading for guidance about Wendel. Over and over again, I felt peace come to my heart and the Spirit wash over me. I knew, without any doubt, it was right and pleasing to my Heavenly Father to marry him. It still scared me to take the leap of faith and I still had a million "what if" questions floating around in my mind. But after that semester in Logan, I told Wendel I wanted to marry him - for real this time - and for the third time, he asked me to be his wife. I told him I wouldn't be able to wear the ring until our wedding day, which I felt would help with the anxiety. He completely understood.

I spent ten days of our engagement in Australia, with my favorite mission companion (which was previously planned before we got engaged for the third time). This helped with my anxiety, to not be there planning the wedding. Wendel emailed me pictures of the invitations and other things and I gave my input. I came home a couple of weeks before our wedding. I had received several blessings from my step-dad, Dave, about Wendel. In one, he had told me when I walked through the doors of the temple on my wedding day, all of the anxiety I felt would wash away and I would feel complete peace about marrying Wendel. I wanted to believe this and held onto it fiercely. I was terrified I would be like the girl on "Runaway Bride" and run out of the temple crying. But as I exercised my faith, that blessing came to pass. I walked into the Bountiful, Utah temple on June 16, 2004 and saw Wendel standing there, smiling at me. I felt every bit of anxiety leave me and felt the Spirit wash over me. I felt joy and excitement and knew it was right to be there at that time, marrying Wendel Schultz. I knew there was no one I would rather solve a problem with and I knew he would be by my side no matter what.

1 comment:

Katelin said...

I love that you shared this! It is going to a great record for for kids to read one day about the faith and strength of their mother in a time of trial and uncertainty! Thank you :)