Category: True Love Stories

True Love Story: Tender Love

martyandgraceeditGrace was ready to throw the plant away. It had become nothing more than a stick in a pot; not a sign of life to be seen. As she prepared to throw it away, her husband, Marty, came out and asked what she was doing.

“The plant is dead,” Grace replied. “I’m going to throw it out.”

Marty protested. “It’s not dead – it just needs some TLC. A little TLC and it’ll come back to life. Just like you when we first met.”

Grace’s first two marriages ended in disaster. Broken-hearted and discouraged, Grace decided marriage wasn’t something she wanted to attempt again. She built a wall around her heart, protecting it from any type of vulnerability. And the wall might have remained if God hadn’t sent in a man to demolish it.

Running late for class at church, Grace tried to sneak into the back to grab a seat. The chair she pulled up, however, had no interest in being sneaky. It was noisy, catching the attention of people in the room, including Marty. He looked over his shoulder, saw Grace, and instantly knew that she was the woman he was going to marry. He called his mother and sister both that night, announcing that even though he didn’t know her name, he knew she was his future bride.

Marty then started his footwork. He asked church members who Grace was. He found out her name, and that she was a divorced woman with a two year old son. Passing by the nursery one day, he saw the boy and he fell in love with the child just as instantly as he had fallen in love with Grace.

His feelings, however, were not reciprocated. Grace found Marty irritating. She rejected his pursuit, and even threw other women at him. Whenever a lovely young lady would cross her path, she would point to Marty and say, “See that guy over there? He’s looking for a girlfriend. You should go talk to him.” And they did. But Marty had all ready decided, and Grace’s efforts to set him up with someone else became futile.

To make things even harder on Grace, Marty soon became close friends with her family. Grace lived with her brother at the time, and Marty would appear at the door playfully stating he was there to see her nieces and nephews, not her. But his pursuit never ceased. Despite her attempts to avoid him, they would often cross in the hallway where Marty would smile and sing an old Hank Williams song, “…I’m going to melt your cold, cold heart.”

Grace was able to resist it. For awhile.

After five months of pursuit, Marty informed Grace that he would be taking a golf trip with his buddies and that he would be gone for a week.

“Why are you telling me this?” Grace replied. “I don’t care.”

But by this time, Grace had become accustomed to Marty’s persistent daily attention. As the first two days passed, Grace felt content with Marty’s silence. But by the third day, Grace became anxious. In the most non-nonchalant way possible, she asked her family members if they had heard from him. They hadn’t. The fourth day, she asked again. By the fifth day, she was completely frustrated by the fact that he had not spoken a word to anyone.

On the evening of the fifth day, she received a call from him.

“Where have you been!” she demanded, skipping past casual greetings.

He laughed. “You missed me!”

Reluctantly, she admitted that she had.

She could hear the phone drop at that point, but could hear Marty chanting in the background, “You missed me! You love me! You missed me! You love me!”

“I did NOT say I love you! I simply said I missed you!”

Her denial didn’t faze him. On the day he came home, he rushed from his car and ran to embrace her.

Looking back on the event, Grace describes it this way: “When he came home that day, I could just see the love pouring out of his eyes. I have never seen love like that before. It made the wall around my heart crack.”

Marty’s intentions to spend his life with Grace were true. His fearless pursuit and tender care helped raze the wall around Grace’s heart. He was aware of the task he had in front of him. Before he left on his week-long golfing trip, Marty had come to Grace and said, “Obviously you have been hurt before. But I want you to know that even though you and I know it was not me, I’m willing to pay for it and wait.”

They were married five months later. This year marks their 20th anniversary.

“The most important message I would want to relay,” Grace says, “is the fact that Marty and I have the relationship we have thanks to the fact that we love God more than we love each other. Therefore, our source of love, peace, joy, contentment and so on, is not each other but God; giving us the freedom to be who we are with each other without fear. When we give God our dreams, our sorrows, our fears, our will, He can turn beautiful things into manifest!”

True Love Story: Unexpected

LeesWhen Steve and Twyla first met, there were no sparks. They shared a fond friendship, but there were no sparks or heart-shaped arrows in the picture. Attraction beyond friendship didn’t cross their thoughts. But God kept them together until they changed their minds.

Steve and Twyla met at Bethel University, where they both majored in psychology. For two years they became acquainted with one another, spending time with mutual friends, sharing classes, and working together as lab partners. But even through all of this, there were still no notes of romantic electricity between them.

That changed in Steve’s senior year. A banquet was being held for the senior class, and Steve found himself without a date.

“I asked Twyla knowing that nothing would happen.” Steve recalls with a smile on his face.
They spent the evening at the banquet having a wonderful time together as friends. After the banquet ended, they found a gorgeous view – a railing that overlooked the dance floor. As they looked over the railing, their hands touched, and neither one of them pulled away. That’s when the sparks ignited and developed into a warm glow.

The Lees recently celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary. And what’s even more impressive than their many years of marriage is what they do with their experiences: they teach. They are now the professors of Marriage and Family Studies at the Focus Leadership Institute, a semester-long college program sponsored by the worldwide Christian organization, Focus on the Family.

Steve and Twyla teach a spectrum of topics including dating, marriage, Biblical perspectives on divorce, dealing with conflict, and common cultural misconceptions about love. With 30 years of experience in premarital counseling, marriage enrichment, and family life conferences, the Lees take everything they’ve learned about marriage and relationships and mentor younger generations.

One of the things the Lees emphasize in their classes is the importance of premarital counseling. Their own pastor didn’t feel a need for them to receive counseling – after all, they were psychology majors. But because they had skipped this step, they spent their first few years of marriage discovering what they should have discussed before they were married. In their classes, the Lees put a high emphasis on how important it is to take this step before getting married. They value it so much because of their own experience, their experience in working with couples, and all of the research that shows how important it is.

The Lees not only break the typical romantic worldview with their curriculum, but they also break the mold with their own love story. While the current generation is partial to the “love at first sight” theory, and are heavily partial to the custom of dating, Steve and Twyla show with their story that neither are necessary for a solid marriage. And it can be said by any of their students that Steve and Twyla Lee’s love is one to be admired. Everything from the way Steve compliments Twyla publicly, to the way Twyla laughs at Steve’s jokes, to the way they finish each others sentences while teaching shows their affections and their unity as a married couple. Their students can’t even separate their names – it doesn’t seem natural.

Although the world is partial to stories of a man and woman falling head over heels for each other as soon as they meet, not all great romances begin that way. A great romance can blossom from something as simple as a good friendship and an innocent touch on a railing overlooking the dance floor.

True Love Story: Designed

domandemisqEvery story has a design. The author carefully crafts each strand, then weaves the strings of the story together to create a solid, magnificent work.

The love story of Dominic Balli and his wife Emily is an example of such an authorship.

At sixteen, Dominic became a born again Christian at a youth camp. By this time he had suffered from a history of bad relationships and heartache from becoming too emotionally attached to the women he was dating.

“Each time I felt like I had a lost part of my heart. I said, ‘God just tell me who to marry and I’ll ask her to marry me.’”

A year later, Dominic was singing at his grandfather’s church when he met Emily. They spent the next two years singing together at the church, becoming good friends. And when Emily’s senior prom came around, she called Dominic.

“I don’t want to go with a guy that’s going to get freaky. I want to go with a guy that’s safe. Will you go to my prom with me?”

At this point, Dominic felt no romantic feelings towards her, so, as only a friend, he agreed to go. But when Emily met him at the door in her prom gown, his feelings began to change.

“We started to fall in love with each other that night,” Dominic says. “We just hung out and had a crazy fun time.”

But his past relationships made him cautious. When he interned at his grandfather’s church that summer, he communicated to Emily that he didn’t want to hang out anymore.

But the Author of the story had a different design.

A few extra interns were brought onto the team that summer, including none other than Emily herself. She and Dominic ended up spending many hours together working at the church, but neither one of them spoke of an attraction. Dominic wasn’t interested in a girlfriend, so he told God, “If this is my wife, tell me she’s my wife and I’ll marry her.”

And God answered. Every time Dominic opened his Bible it would turn to verses that related to the preciousness of a good wife (Proverbs 31:10), the way a husband should love his wife (Ephesians 5:25), or two becoming one (Genesis 2:24). A collection of these events made the circumstances hard to ignore.

“I went to her and asked, ‘So has God been telling you anything about anything?’ And she said, ‘Maybe. Has God been telling you anything about anything?’”

It took less than a day from the time the conversation broke open to the time Dominic and Emily decided to get married. The next day they announced their engagement and a year and half later they walked down the isle.

“When you get married, you realize what an idiot you are. All your little faults come out and now they’re not just affecting you, but the people close to you. But if you don’t deal with those things, it’s going to affect your closest relationship. You can’t make yourself a better person. God has to work through you. Daily surrender is important to that process.”

Dominic’s newest album “American Dream,” coming out July 26th, includes the song “Take My Love”, which tells the story he shares with Emily. Dominic wrote it while he and his wife were on vacation, in the backyard of a beach house.

“I was looking at the ocean and my beautiful wife, just remembering our story.”

As a musician, Dominic is aware of the mainstream viewpoint of “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll” being what people chase to find fulfillment, but as a married Christian man he knows the pursuit of these endeavors always comes up short of satisfying.

“The reason people are going to come up feeling empty every time is because the most fulfillment they’re going to have in a loving relationship is with God. You don’t really know a true love relationship or true contentment until you’ve given everything to the Creator.”

Which is just how the Author designed it.

Inseparable

“We didn’t like being separated,” Bette replied when asked how she knew her lifelong neighbor, James, was the one she was meant to spend the rest of her life with.

Even at 93 years old, Bette smiles when she thinks of her one and only love; the man she met as a child in Sunday school. They were married nearly 40 years before his passing in 1979, but time has no power over her fond memories of him.

“I think he liked my blue eyes,” she said, “But he had blue eyes too, so I didn’t see what the difference was.”

Love-at-first-sight was not part of their story. They had mutual friends that frequently went out dancing, picnicking, and beach exploring together. Because of this, James and Bette were always with each other.

It wasn’t until Bette’s sister decided to go to Santa Barbra for college that romance burst into existence. Bette followed her sister out to Santa Barbra for school, but no matter how many classes she took, she knew that her heart wasn’t built for schooling. She missed her family, her friends, and even the neighbor she spent most her life ignoring.

Three months later, the door bell rang. Bette opened the door to find James, unable to stay away from the woman he had grown up with and grown fond of. From then on, they were exclusive. James was her first real boyfriend; and both of them had every intention for long-term commitment as soon as the relationship started. There wasn’t even a need for an official marriage proposal.

“I just said, ‘Do you want to get married on Easter?’, and we did.”

So what was the secret to their lifelong relationship? “Not keeping grudges,” Bette says. Regardless of her efforts, her husband was not the type to argue. He simply moved past any dispute between them. With no harsh words to hold on to, problems dissolved and were forgotten.

And they are still forgotten. After 40 years of marriage and five children, the only regret Bette has is not being able to live our more of her days beside her one and only love.