Two. Thousand. Miles.

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Gianna Nicole,

For each one of these two thousand miles that separate us, I have 2 reasons for choosing to love you.

That’s 2,000 reasons to miss you, but 4,000 reasons to celebrate us.

So, to every mile that threatens to keep us apart, I say this: I’ll see your 2,000 and raise you 2,000 more.

Because we’re stronger and more resilient than any number of anything that can be measured in units.

We have a love that has been tested and tried by the worst that life can throw our way.

But we’ve survived and thrived through worse. 2,000 miles is nothing.

God –> You –> Everything Else.

Your’s for life,

Chad Charles Baur I

.Two. .Thousand. .Miles.

As I write this post I sit in a new home, in a new town, in a new state.  I am 2,000 miles removed from everything and everyone I know and love so deeply. But, worst of all, I am 2,000 miles removed from my bride-to-be.

A select few of you know the details of the events that have unfolded in the last two months, but I’m sure there are a few resounding questions in the minds of our readers.  Thus, I will begin with a few disclaimers:

1. Gianna and I ARE STILL TOGETHER and hopelessly in love.  My move to Nashville, Tennessee had nothing to do with our relationship.  Rather, because of our relationship, the decision to move across country was one of the hardest I’ve ever had to make in my life.

2. I was completely happy in San Diego.  I loved my job, my school, my friends, my home, my roommate, everything.  It was all wonderful.  Again, those things all made this move that much more difficult.

3. Yes, I have a new job here in Nashville.  It was a major God thing (I’ll elaborate further below).

BUT IF YOU LOVED YOUR LIFE IN SAN DIEGO SO MUCH, WHY MOVE ACROSS THE COUNTRY?!

Great Question!

My father’s health has been steadily declining for some time now.  He was a part-owner in a large company in Los Angeles but his failing health was severely limiting his ability to work.  He had been diagnosed with “Degenerative Disk Disease” in his lower back about 15 years ago but none of his doctors could understand how such a disease could cause the degree of discomfort that he felt on a daily basis.  So, last January, my mom and dad made the decision to cash out on their assets in Los Angeles and move to a more affordable part of the country so they could slow down and focus on finding a solution for my dad’s health.  One month later they were making the big move to a new home in Nashville, TN.

Gianna and I were engaged on March 7th and boarded a flight to Nashville the following day to see my parents’ in their new home.  During our week stay we enjoyed many fun activities with my dad, although the pain forced him to stay in bed for a few of our days there.  It was unfortunate to see his decline in health, but reassuring to know that he would be able to full-hearetedly pursue a solution to his failing health.

As days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months, my father’s condition continued to worsen.  Thus, Gianna and I packed the car and made a 10 day trip to see him in July.

I was utterly unprepared for what I saw after just four months away from my father…

Of the 10 days that we were in Nashville, my dad was maybe up and moving around for 10 hours…maybe.

For days I wept.  To see someone, who you love, in such agony (and to not be able to do a thing) is the most devastating, unbearable thing I’ve ever experienced.  This man, my father, at 49 years old, had withered from 170 to 135 pounds.  When he stood to walk his whole body trembled from the pain, no matter how much medicine the doctors prescribed him.  As it was, his pain management doctors were concerned that his heart might stop from the combination of medicines that he was forced to take just to take his pain for a 10 to an 8 or 9.

Upon returning to San Diego I was a mess.  I, myself, suffer from a severely herniated disk in my middle back and I fully understand back pain.  But mine came and went; my dad’s remained steady…never ceasing.  My health began to deteriorate under the stress.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I began to suffer from panic attacks.  I toyed with the idea of moving to Nashville to support my family but knew that a solution to my dad’s problem was just around the bend.  With only a small handful of classes left, I couldn’t throw away my education. I couldn’t walk away from a job that I loved and was finally beginning to succeed at.  Most importantly, I couldn’t walk away from the woman that I’ve dedicated this entire blog and my entire life to.  Could I?

I wrestled with these questions for a month before the call came.

It was Tuesday night, September 2nd, 2014: my parents called to announce that they had received an answer to the cause of my dad’s pain.  The answer: arachnoiditis.  A disease for which there is no cure and no proven, effective treatment.  A disease that causes pain beyond what most stage 4 cancer patients will ever experience.  A pain that cannot be efficiently treated by any medicine. It was a devastating diagnosis for so many reasons.

Thursday, September 4th, 2014: I quit my job, dropped out of school and began packing my things for my move from San Diego to Nashville the following week.

It was the scariest, most uncertain decision of my life, but God provided…

I have now been in Nashville for exactly one month and I’m learning to find joy in each day.  I was offered an amazing job on my third day here with a really fun company called Go West Creative Group.  They are based in Los Angeles but just opened a location in Nashville in August and needed someone to fill the position of “Account Executive”.

I was quickly drafted into my new life here by pulling an all-nighter on my first night because my dad needed to be rushed to the hospital.  But in just one month I have had the privilege of laughing, crying, praying and talking with my father on deeper levels then ever before.  None of this is ideal and I wouldn’t wish any of it on my worst enemy, but I am constantly reminded of the fact that I serve a God who is so much bigger than the sum of all of my problems.  Not a day goes by that I don’t cry for the condition that my father is in, but I am choosing to find the good in EVERYTHING.

Gianna is back in San Diego, being a boss, as usual.  She is conquering the world and, with the assistance of modern technology, I am able to cheer her on every step of the way.  She is the most incredible life-partner I could have ever asked for.  Absence has certainly made the hearts grow fonder (I miss her more than I’ve ever missed anything in my life), but our relationship is growing and maturing in ways that we never knew possible.

WEDDING UPDATE:

We are continuing to plan our wedding together and we will share more of that in a follow up post shortly.  We are most likely going to be required to pay for almost all of our wedding on our own.  Neither of our parents are in a place to offer much in the way of financial assistance, so we are having to take everything in stride (weddings are so freakin’ expensive! lol). That being said, if anyone wishes to assist us in the preparation for our wedding, the link is: http://www.gofundme.com/amlkwg.

Regardless, there are many posts to come as Gianna and I settle in on separate sides of the country and continue to plan our special day (and our life together that follows).

Sincerely,

Chad

The Scoreboard Technique

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If you know me at all you’ll know that I am nothing if I’m not curious…I have an insatiable appetite for adventure and I am always trying my hand at new things, regardless of how skilled I might or might not be. Thus, it should come as no surprise to you that I played football my freshmen year of high school. It was a time filled with dozens of valuable lessons; one being that I don’t belong on a football field but one being something that would follow me for the rest of my life…

One obvious statement about football is that it is competitive.

One not-so-obvious statement is that some coaches actually teach sportsmanship.

And my coach, Coach Brannan, certainly knew sportsmanship. So it is of no surprise that he taught us the importance of walking away when the other team tried to start something. However, in his lesson he told us that if we must respond to our opponent we ought to just say “scoreboard” and walk away. See, my high school was one of the most winning teams in the country so the “scoreboard technique” was a very simple solution that applied to most every game we played.

All this being said, today I had the privilege of sitting down and speaking with a very close friend who is going through a separation with his wife of 20 years. A separation that was instigated by different variations of the “scoreboard technique.”

The technique’s workings are simple: every time someone does something good or bad in a relationship a point is added or subtracted accordingly. There are more than a few problems with this technique and yet it’s one that everyone in any relationship, anywhere in the world is guilty of at one time or another. The technique has ravaged even the healthiest of relationships and yet, human nature often prevents us from recognizing our error before it’s too late.

Relationships go through seasons. Some are pleasant while others are turbulent. Some are life-giving while others are life-taking. Regardless of your current season you are sure to experience the opposite sooner or later. This law of seasons applies to individuals independent of the relationship, meaning that an individual in a relationship can go through a bad season while their partner goes through a good one. Furthermore, an individual can be completely content in their relationship and yet me miserable as an individual. We see this often with people who suffer from illness or personal strife. The danger is that, when this occurs, the person who is well is often left to care for the person who is ill; thus, racking up a slew of points on their scoreboard while their partner is incapable of balancing the scoreboard. This is part of what happened to my above mentioned friend. His wife grew so weary of struggling alongside him that she ended up leaving. I’m sure most everyone who reads this knows of someone in a similar position.

While the above example appeals primarily to our basic understanding of love, the following is a deeper, more vital example of the scoreboard’s danger. The premise of this is that LOVE KEEPS NO RECORD OF RIGHT OR WRONG. It is a biblical principal that applies, universally, to healthy love. The danger that is implied in this case is that as the point total climbs, love is lost. This is due to the fact that points build resentment and resentment builds walls and walls serve two dangerous purposes: keeping others out while trapping yourself within.

Of course, no one is perfect and the “scoreboard technique” is a natural phenomenon that will always exist. Therefore, the key to success in this matter is not to stop altogether, because thats not realistic. Rather, be aware and intentional so as to not let your scoreboard continue its incessant adding and subtracting. This means being ready and willing to ignore the scoreboard even when your partner is being a real douche. It means granting forgiveness regardless of the other persons level of remorse (or lack there of). It is the difference between selfish love and selfless love.

God Bless,
Chad and G

Choosing Love

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**My apologies for the lateness of this post after announcing it some days ago**

In an Instagram post I made earlier this week I alluded to some trials that Gianna and I have endured in our relationship, thus far. Some of these trials have been such that we often see in the news but rarely experience personally. Unfortunately, I do not have express permission to share two of the most daunting trials as they pertain to loved ones who endured some very personal tragedies. That being said, I solemnly swear to be transparent and sincere in all other matters discussed.

One thing that most people don’t know about me is that I suffer from severe panic and anxiety attacks. These attacks are often completely unprovoked and can occur at any given time without warning. In fact, as I sit to write this post I am in the midst of a severe attack with no end in sight (thus, my writing might not be up to its typical standard). This anxiety is something that has haunted me for nearly 10 years and is often manifested in the sort of PTSD you might see in a documentary about war veterans. It is an ugly disorder that has taken Gianna a lot of time to adjust to. She, being radiantly beautiful (inside and out) has learned how to assist me in my times of need and has exceeded any hope or prayer I’ve had for a wife. The unfortunate thing is that, as I write this, Gianna is in Mexico on a mission trip and cannot be reached to help calm my symptoms, and myself, down.

 

********************** Update ****************************

 

It is now the following morning since I write the above portion and, for the first time in my life, I was hospitalized due to the severity of the panic attack I was suffering. The attack lasted from 5:30pm until 2:00am and was the most debilitating thing I’ve ever endured. And yet, there is a miracle in the midst of this madness: Gianna is the single best person at helping me out of an impending “attack”. A simple hug and a soothing word from her have the potential to stop an attack in its track…I am certainly blessed beyond belief with this wonderful woman I’ve prayed for since my youth.

That being said, my anxiety is one of the least of our worries the last couple of years.

Our relationship began (in it’s third month) with a terrible family tragedy that I’m unable to expand on for privacy reasons. It was a tragedy that still affects me deeply so, by extension, it affects my relationship with Gianna. Then, just as I was conquering the stress and anxiety that accompanied said tragedy two devastating things occurred: Gianna’s step dad stole $10,000 from me and my best friend from middle school died unexpectedly of heart failure while studying for midterms in his room at UC Davis. In fact, I found out that Craig, Gianna’s step dad, had scammed me while I was in the car driving to my friends funeral. Talk about stress on our relationship.

Now, as if that wasn’t enough, Gianna and I have since continued to endure awful events. Since my friend’s death my dad’s health has severely declining to the point of being bedridden 95% of the week and my parents have left California to live in Nashville, TN. I have also suffered two herniated disks in my back that have left me bedridden for weeks on end and have struggled with some of the residual effects of those injuries on my body. Oh, and how could I forget?! In the midst of all of this Gianna and I are trying to live normal lives and prepare ourselves to be married to one another. WHAT?!

Now, when you see us posting cute, sappy, love ridden things on Facebook and Instagram, please know that our love is a love that has weathered brutal storms and adversity and we haven’t even made it to marriage yet. Gianna and I have both seen our fair share of “dark days” and we CHOOSE to love one another through anything the world can throw at us. Our life is far from perfect but we each have an enormously selfless love for one another that is tested and proven through some of the worst that life can hurl at us.

So, before you judge or misinterpret our love as being cheesy or “fake”, consider this: we have been through some things that have shaped our love into something so incredible and powerful.  We thank God constantly for the struggles we’ve endured because of how richly it has blessed our relationship.

 

Please don’t interpret this as a sob story; rather, we hope this will encourage you to persevere through struggles and know that you’ll be made stronger through them.

 

James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you are faced with trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Tough Love

This past week one of Gianna’s lifelong friends from the Bay Area came down to visit us in San Diego. It was an amazing week that I was glad to be a part of. That is, until the last night of her friend’s stay…

After having a great night out on the town, Gianna and I got into one of those stupid arguments that, looking back, was so petty and ridiculous; in truth, I can’t even recall how it began!

Anyways, before long the argument had become a back-and-forth shouting match…in front of her friend. Embarrassing, right?!? As usually occurs in such instances, mean things we said by each party and feelings were hurt pretty badly. Thus, in the aftermath of this experience I decided to share some wisdom with you all!

But first…

To my beautiful bride-to-be,

Before I proceed with this post, I want you to know that I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the ways in which I fall short as a man, partner, friend and leader. Like many men, the world over, I like to think (and act) like I have everything together. Like nothing is wrong. Like nothing will be wrong. And like nothing has ever been wrong. But the fact is, I suck. I have an ego, a temper, and a stubbornness that almost certainly comes from my dad and grandma 😜. I’m needy, high maintenance, and kind of a princess. So, for all these things, and many more, I’m sorry. You’re an angel for putting up with me!

Now, to the official topic of discussion…

One of my favorite books of the Bible is Hosea. It’s a book that isn’t often quoted or paraphrased, but it’s message is of paramount urgency in a world where the Christian divorce rate is estimated to be anywhere between 50 and 80%.

Now, to briefly summarize…Hosea was a prophet who was commanded by God to marry a woman who was not to be exclusively his (she was a bit of a whore, to be blunt). Of course, it’s no secret that infidelity strikes devastating blows to relationships, but imagine vowing to be faithful to someone you knew (beyond a shadow of a doubt) would not be faithful in return. That would suck. Like, a lot. But that wasn’t all…Hosea was commanded to forgive her and take her back. Repeatedly. Constantly she cheated on, humiliated, and disrespected him. And each time Hosea responded with love and forgiveness.

DO NOT MISINTERPRET THIS! lol

Gianna and I have never done anything to violate one another’s trust in such a way, but the lesson in Hosea is beautiful, none-the-less.

There have been numerous times when I’ve been a miserable person to be around and vice-versa. Times when we’ve said and done things that have hurt one another deeply. However, Gianna and my personal convictions are such that we feel called to love one another unconditionally….until death do us part.

All this being said, if you ever want to challenge yourself in the context of your relationship, give Hosea a read…there’s some really good stuff in there.

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We’re Back!

Hey guys! Chad here….Sorry I’ve been absent from this page for so long! Gianna and I have a really awesome series of blog posts in store for everyone, so thank you for your patience as we paused to focus on our engagement/preliminary wedding planning procedures!  That being said, here’s a little sneak peak into what we have coming on the blog:

 

1. Wedding Madness!

Occasionally, Gianna and I will post (as a couple) about the process of planning our wedding and all that joys that go along with that.  Whether it’s planning, budgeting, venue shopping, cake tasting, or any number of other pre-marital events that I knew nothing about until about until very recently.

*Note to all unmarried men*

There is a massive amount of detail that goes into a wedding and chances are that your future spouse has been planning hers since long before she ever understood the value of a dollar! However, if you’ve got a good one, like I do, she’ll be understanding of the fact that my money tree in my backyard hasn’t yet yielded a significant harvest.  Thus, we are learning of a number of tips and tricks (which we will share!) on how to save a few bucks along the road to marital bliss =]

 

2. Life Lessons With Chad!

Due to the fact that I am an awesome, yet imperfect, human being, I am constantly learning new life lessons – most of which relate directly to my relationship!  I am incredibly blessed to be surrounded by some very wise people who are constantly reaching out to punch me when I’m being stupid and high-five me when I’m being smart.  And, due to the fact that I am an incredibly transparent person, I will frequently share some of my personal struggles and the resulting change that they’ve brought in my life.

 

3. Personal Stories of Success and Failure

Unfortunately, I suck sometimes.

Fortunately, sometimes I don’t suck.

I’ll share stories of both accounts =]

 

All this being said, Gianna and I sincerely appreciate your love and support!

Stay tuned and please give us a follow or a comment if something we say resonates with you!

 

Blessings,

Chad & G

Happy Birthday, My Love!

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To My Beautiful Bride-To-Be:

God has blessed me with you beyond anything I deserve in this world.  You’ve taught me to live and love differently than I ever knew possible.  You’ve walked alongside me through extreme tragedy just as you have through times of great joy and happiness.  I’ve prayed for you since I was young (although I didn’t know specifically who I was praying for) and it’s amazing to see the way that God has preserved and protected you on your journey into my life.  While I will today, and forever, choose to spoil and love you, I hope you know that I love you so much more than any gift could ever express.  In fact, I am constantly learning to love you more than I ever knew possible.  Today won’t be a perfect example of how I love you simply because I can’t adequately express it with words or otherwise.  I can promise you, however, that I will never stop trying my hardest to show and share my love for you.

 

Happy birthday, my love!

-Chad Charles Baur I

SHE SAID YES!

The time that you all have been waiting for finally arrived in the form of a beautiful 75 degree San Diego day this past Friday, March7, 2014.

Location: Balboa Park

Time: Roughly 4:45 pm

There are so many things I want to share with everyone that I’m sure I’ll leave out some details, but here I go:

I began my day by wandering Balboa Park to find the perfect location to pop the question.  The entire park is absolutely beautiful, but I wanted to ensure that I had chosen a location that would provide quality lighting and scenery for photography.  Upon finding the perfect location, I notified the photographer (yes, I hired a fantastic professional photographer whose contact info I will list below) and I set the plan plan in motion.  

The Plan:

The plan consisted of two critical components: a reliable “assistant” and extreme secrecy.  

I had planned for her close friend, Hanna, to organize a “girls night” that would consist of coffee and quality time together in Balboa Park.  The two were set to meet up at 3:30 and proceed straight to Balboa Park for the afternoon.  Upon arriving at the park Hanna would direct her to the garden that I had chosen for the proposal and the rest would be history.  And, other than a few timing issues and a couple cases of misdirection, everything was executed as planned.  The two came strolling into the garden at around 4:40 pm and I got down on one knee and asked the most important question of my life…

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As for our identities:

My name is Chad Charles Baur and I officially have the wonderful opportunity to call Gianna Nicole Faulk my fiancé!!!

Thank you to everyone who has followed and helped to make this website special for her and me.  I shared the website with her and she cried after reading through it.  It meant so much to her and serves as such an amazing way to remember this special time in our life together.  

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MORE PICTURES AND POSTS TO FOLLOW AS WE CONTINUE ALONG OUR JOURNEY TO MARRIAGE!

As for our photography, we had an amazing photographer capture this pictures and many others.  Her name and contact info are as follows:

Michelle Lillywhite of Lillywhite Photography

http://lillywhitephotography.com

Why Do I Love You?

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To my fiancé-to-be,

While you’re certainly far from perfect, so is everyone else.  And, if being in a relationship means dealing with the imperfections of your partner, I wouldn’t, in a million years, wish to confront anyone’s imperfections but yours.  

Recently I was reminiscing on watching movies in my youth and seeing how men have a tendency to withdraw in the midst of a fight while their partner grows exceedingly more frustrated with her man’s apparent lack of interest or concern.  I remember watching and thinking, “my future wife is going to be so stoked to have married a man who rarely, if ever, fails to effectively communicate”.  Well, I’ve accomplished the improbable: I – the one guy in the world who loves to communicate everything, all the time – have found the one girl in the world who all but refuses to speak when she gets frustrated, hurt, angry, irritate, etc.  In fact, my love, there are times when I wonder if you enjoy communicating at all.  

This blatant disregard for effective communication leaves me feeling so so so soooo annoyed/angry/frustrated at times, and yet, I still love you to the moon and back. Sometimes, in moments of excessive frustration, I ask myself the question, “why the heck do I love this girl? ‘Cuz I certainly don’t like her right now.”  

However, even in the worst of fights between us, I have always and will always CHOOSE to love you. It isn’t always easy but in those moments I try to, mentally, return to the early days of our relationship.  The days that we spent woo-ing one another and attempting to win the undying affection of one another.  Well, I’ll tell you what my dear…YOU’VE GOT MY UNDIVIDED ATTENTION. I love you so much and thank the Lord daily for the wonderful role you play in my life.  Our fights are sometimes brutal and our attitudes towards one another sometimes suck, but I want you to know that I will ALWAYS fight for you.  

You are wonderful and I love you so much, even when I don’t particularly like you.  

 

God In Our Marriage

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“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,” – Ephesians 5:25

To my fiancé-to-be,

The words “I love you” are terribly overused in our society. Love is many things, but I believe love’s greatest attribute is selflessness. The above verse in Ephesians supports this belief by reminding us that it was because of Christ’s love that he gave Himself (died on the cross) for us. I can’t think of anything more selfless than sacrificing one’s self in order to save someone else. Now, I’m not equating myself to Christ, but I want you to know that I would give my life for you, my love. I promise to love you and defend you selflessly for the rest of my life.

While I am originally from the south-east part of the country (can’t be too specific for the sake of anonimity), I was raised with respect being a vital part of my parents’ household.  Unfortunately, this is not the standard amongst our nation’s youth (or adults for that matter).  However, I want to assure you, my love, that I will not let chivalry die as long as I have you to spend it on.

To the rest of mankind out there,

Please, STEP YOUR GAME UP!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a guys’ guy at heart; I like to shoot, play xbox, hike, ride motorcycles, and rock climb, but I also treat the women in my life with respect.  You see, being a man isn’t about conquering and ruling, it’s about loving and protecting.  It’s about opening car doors and buying her flowers for no reason at all.  It’s about standing up for her, NO MATTER WHAT.  It’s about putting her first.  Whether it’s your mother, sister, wife, or total stranger, treat her with the respect that you would want a man to treat your mother, sister, or wife with.

Bottom line: be a gentleman to the women in your life because there’s nothing more tough and no calling more noble than loving and protecting the women in our lives.

When You Know, You Know

If life were a book filled with cliches, the story would contain everything and nothing all at once.

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To whom it may concern,

Cliches, in general, are dumb. No way around it, but there is truth in them, otherwise they wouldn’t exist.  The problem with finding the truth in a cliche is that there must be a precise, given context.  For example, if I say, “it is what it is” but fail to give context to the phrase, then I’ve just made a completely nonsensical comment that doesn’t mean anything.  However, if I’m speaking to you about a French test I’ve just failed and proceed to say, “it is what it is”, I’m essentially conceding the fact that I failed the test, but it’s now in the past and nothing more can be done. 

Having briefly called out our society on an excessive use of cliches, I must admit that I find some of them to be exceedingly useful. Their usefulness lies in the fact that, like an idiom, they are understandable to those who who share common cultural/social roots with me. Returning to the above French test example, the being able to simply say, “it is what it is”, is significantly easier than explaining my determination for acceptance of the fact that I just failed a test.  

Why am I rambling about cliches, you might ask?

BECAUSE I AM ABOUT TO REFERENCE A MASSIVELY OVERUSED CLICHE

Growing up, my parents used to tell me that, when you know, you know.  As many of you probably know, this phrase is supremely obnoxious when you are persistently dating people that you sincerely like, but don’t “know” about.  Well, if you’re one of these people who feels stuck in a perpetual state of unknowing, I wish to throw my two cents into this fountain of wisdom: there is, in fact, hope. 

You see, I dated a lot. During my dating escapades, I dated a number of quality girls, but even with the best of matches, something was always slightly off.

To my fiancé-to-be,

I love you so much. I’ve told you in the past that I knew within the first month that you were the one, but the truth is that I was afraid I knew you were the one well before that. To be precise, I might have loved you within the first hour of knowing you. It sounds so stupid, but at my parents encouragement, I had been praying for my “future wife” since I was a child. I dated dozens of girls, and treated each of them with the respect that I prayed you were being treated with. Upon meeting you, I was overcome with the craziest idea that you were the one I had been praying for.  I can’t describe it adequately, but it was like God saying, “here she is, I’ve been waiting to introduce you two”.  

My dear, I write this because I want you, and everyone else to know, that you are “the one”. I’ve been praying for you, and continue to do so.  

 

I love you.

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