Dan and Jessica

Dan & Jessica

Dan and I met when my family first started attending Victory Faith.  He was just about ready to graduate from high school, after which he decided to move to Seattle.  I had a few years of high school left and during the time he was gone, I became friends with his old friends who also attended our church.  During my freshman year in college, he moved back to Spokane.  As we hung out with the same group of young adults, we began to take notice of one another.  Dan went to my father to let him know that he wanted to pursue a relationship with me.  This initial conversation ended in a definite, “No!” from my dad.  This was a huge shock to the both of us.  My dad clearly felt that Dan was not the one I was to pursue a relationship with, and even if he was, it was not the right time.  I was genuinely sad, hurt, and frustrated.  At the same time, I did trust my dad’s wisdom, and I chose to honor him and stepped back from pursuing even a friendship with Dan.  I was still very young and naïve, did not have a true understanding of what God’s agape love was, and needed time to mature.  

Dan was caught off guard, also, and at first felt rejected and frustrated.  The really neat thing was that my dad did not just say, “No!” but shared with Dan why he felt this way.  Dan had “set God on the shelf” when he moved to Seattle, and he now needed to get his priorities straight.  He needed to strengthen his relationship with God and build a solid foundation.  He was also hurt and wounded by the church, his own father, and from life experiences.  Dad told him God wanted him to be whole before he pursued any relationship with the intent to marry.  My father was fathering him, which was just what Dan needed, having been raised by a single mother.  My dad pursued Dan, met with him, prayed with him, gave him help and wisdom regarding his finances, and invested time and interest in his life.

God was doing some really amazing things in both of our lives during this time, but it was not without difficulty.  It was hard to not pursue our friendship when we still both really cared about each other.  This season lasted for about ten months.  I vividly remember the day my dad took me out to breakfast (this was something we did often so it did not surprise me or catch me off guard).  We were talking about all sorts of things
when all of a sudden my dad brought up Dan. He asked how I was doing with the whole situation and if I was still interested in pursuing a relationship with him.  I was shocked, for I never thought I would hear those words come out of my dad’s mouth.  My answer was, “Yes!”  I still cared about Dan very much and hoped he felt the same way about me.  Not too long after that, my dad talked with Dan, and I was happy to hear that our feelings were mutual.  Soon after that we officially began our courtship.  

It was very important to both of us that we had the covering of our parents as we walked through courtship.  We wanted their input and wisdom as we navigated our way through this process.  We honored them by submitting to their authority, staying true to the boundaries we had set for ourselves, and including them in the things God was doing in our lives during this time.  

We worked a lot on communication, knowing that it was a very important part of our relationship.  My dad even gave us hypothetical life situations and then asked us to work through them together.  This allowed us to see how each other responded to stressful situations, emotional circumstances, celebration, and sadness or mourning.  It helped us learn what to say and when to say it.  We talked a lot about our methods of communicating.  I am a talker and want to talk everything out in order to process things.  On the other hand, Dan needs to be allowed time to quietly process things.  I could have easily interpreted his silent processing to mean he did not care about me or the situation.  It helped us tremendously to discover these differences about each other before marriage.  Life over our seven-month courtship gave us plenty of opportunities to put this into practice.  I found that journaling was a good outlet for me, because it allowed me to express myself and at the same time gave Dan the time and space he needed to come to the place of talking it out with me.  We did regular Bible studies together and read a couple books, also.  The exercises we did regarding our strengths and weaknesses, our future goals, parenting, and vision were the most eye-opening tools for me.  It helped me gain a deep understanding of who I could be spending the rest of my life with.  .  

Dan and I did not want to open the door at all to physical weakness, so the boundaries we established for ourselves were pretty strict.  We did not go anywhere alone; we always had a few friends with us if we went out. We did not hold hands or kiss during our courtship.  Because we knew that this whole process was a time for God to prove if we were meant to be together, we did not want to stir up something that was not meant to be.  This is not to say that staying true to the above mentioned things was easy.  It was especially hard as our courtship progressed.  After we were engaged, the only thing we changed was that we were able to go places alone together.  This was mainly for the purpose of planning our wedding.  We made sure our family and friends were aware of what we had committed to so they could hold us accountable.  Our number one goal in courtship was to find out: Is God in this?  Is He calling us together, or are we chasing after an infatuation towards one another?  Everything we did was based on relationship--first and foremost with God, and then with each other and our families.  We wanted to come to the end of our courtship and engagement and be able to say, “I have saved my, heart, soul, mind, and body for you!”   

I know this was God’s plan for us, because on our own we could not have done something so amazing, protected, and beautiful as our courtship was.  I know I am married to my best friend, and that we have a good foundation to build on.  We took care of our “baggage” and learned what it means to serve one another, submit to each other, and honestly communicate our feelings.  Dating is such a counterfeit.  The culture leads young and old people to believe that it is the only way they will find “Mr. or Mrs. Right” and that somehow, as each one tries to impress the other, they will figure it all out.  Dating is about meeting your own needs and desires, and then moving on when you get what you want.  Courtship is about discovering who the other person is at their very core—their strengths, their weaknesses, and the areas that need attention and maturing.  We learn how we can best compliment and serve each other.  Marriage is not a fairytale or fantasy; it is work.  The fun of dating will wear off quickly when life situations and circumstances force you to really come together as man and wife.  Courtship taught us that nothing is too hard for God, and if we keep Him at the center of our relationship, there is nothing we cannot overcome in Him.  

We courted for about seven months and were married on July 20, 1996.  We recently celebrated thirteen years of marriage, and I still look back to our courtship season to remember who we are and where we are going as a couple.  Looking back now, both Dan and I are so grateful for my mother and father, and that they heard from God regarding our relationship.  God had lots of things He wanted to do in us to prepare us for our future.  If we would not have heeded the wisdom and instruction of our spiritual authority, in this case my parents, we would not have built the strong foundation for our marriage that we now are blessed with.  READ MORE TESTIMONIES

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