the return of the boy, and thoughts about tough love

one of our first dates back together - the county fair!

a few have inquired about how the boy came back. as i mentioned, it's a long, incredible, painful, beautiful, sacred story -- but this is what i'll share:

-the boy had a realization of clarity and beautiful truth that taught him undeniably that love is always anxious work and that love is an active choice.

-i was tremendously broken and it took an incredible amount of energy and faith to repair and rewire my mind and heart. real, abiding love, aided by the power of god (truly!) enabled me to put in that energy and faith. even now, my psychological reflexes borne out of heartbreak cause real challenges, and i am still healing. but i am healing - and it is amazing and miraculous and awesome.

-the boy left something - usually a flower and a treat and a note - on my doorstep every single morning and every single afternoon for several weeks. he sent me a letter in the mail nearly every day. often, i'd come out to my car in the parking lot at school (thirty minutes away from where he lives and works), and there would be something waiting on my windshield. eventually, when i let him in a bit more, he came to my house every early morning and read scriptures and prayed with me. he stayed up until the wee hours grading math packets for me when i was so overwhelmed with the demands of teaching (see picture!). he brought me meals and snuggled me after exhausting, frustrating days and took walks with me and ran
my errands. he expressed undying commitment in every single way he could think of, and he didn't waver one tiny little bit.

-i had a string of hallowed, certain, divine spiritual experiences that gifted me the trust and courage that i needed to let the boy back into my life.

-it was on the beach at half moon bay, near the place where we shared our first kiss a year and a half earlier, that i finally (after weeks of his patient and persistent perusal) was able to say to the boy again: "i love you back."

-before i told anyone really what was happening when he started coming back, i asked the boy to meet with my parents in utah. i'm sure that was an experience that none of the three of them will ever forget :) i was in southern california with my brother's family when that meeting happened, and i remember talking to the boy on the phone for hours that night (after talking to my brother and sister-in-law for hours, too!)

-one defining night, we sat in a beautiful, blooming garden at twilight and listened to these songs: gone, gone, gonemagic (later we listened to these ones, too: real lovetrue companion / then) and i could feel in my bones that we actually were each other's. 

-i think in my heart, i always knew. 

here's one of the first pictures we took together - nearly two years ago. we could have never imagined the wild path ahead. but - and this is so huge for me to say considering everything - i truly wouldn't have it any other way. i want love that is difficult and challenging and requires miracles and sacrifices and so so so much faith. because tough love is just that - tough. tough enough to endure anything.


  1. Just curious if the boy has a name.

  2. Struggle brings strength! I'm so happy for both of you. What a boy! What a girl! What a future!

  3. When is the boy doing his guest post?

  4. When is the boy doing his guest post?

  5. My husband and I have a story somewhat similar to yours. We've now been married 11 years and have 5 beautiful children. It's all worth it. :)

  6. beautiful story! life is full of twists and turns - there's no reason why a love story should be any different. there is such richness in the ups and downs that weave a joyful, contented love.

  7. I love you.

    And I love the boy too.

    Thinking of you a lot.

  8. I think it's great that you've gone through rough times before marriage because now you know you can work the hard times and come through them stronger. We celebrated 18 years of marriage this weekend and it is worth every struggle you go through. It means you choose your marriage and each other daily. So
    Happy for you!

  9. Love is a choice- such a beautiful, beautiful thing when each day, in every moment we decide to choose love. What a beautiful story.

  10. I love how you emphasize love is a choice, and I love your boy's persistence in winning you back. Love is persistent, love is work, love is real, love is glorious!

  11. So happy for you! I'm a long time reader... first time commenter. In the end it is all worth it! I was engaged to a man who one day decided he didn't want to get married. It was a very long difficult road but 3 years later I met my husband and a year after that I married him! He is amazing and a 10x better husband that my ex-fiancé would have been. That experience (although very rough) taught me to love and appreciate differently and its definitely made our marriage better. Best wishes!!

  12. It's generous of you to share those personal details and those of us who have had any sort of similar relationship experience can totally relate and see value there. My husband and I went through some rocky road before we got engaged/married and I always said that I thought it made for an amazing first year (and subsequent years!) of marriage because we had already learned so much about how to face tough challenges together. I saw many other people struggle being married at first and I honestly felt like it was Christmas every day Anyway, I just hope you don't ever feel the need to explain or justify your decision to get back together. It's lovely to hear about all of his determined acts of love and service and everything but you have the right to follow your heart no matter what. :) Enjoy every minute of being in real love! (Which isn't painless or easy!)


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