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Engagement Stories: Vanessa & James

James and I had already walked down the aisle together 23 years ago. Last October, we did it again.

Let me explain.

For two people only in their mid- and late twenties, James and I have a long history together, one that journeys through — and even precedes — growth spurts, big glasses, braces, fashion nightmares, unrequited loved, youth group, high school prom, college-age drama, and even a tough two-year-long breakup. It’s a story we wouldn’t change for the world.

James and I first met when I was 3 and he was 4. It was 1987, and we were the flower girl and ring bearer in my aunt and uncle’s wedding. I have the puffy-sleeve pictures to prove it.

Years passed and we crossed paths again when I was 12, when my mom ended up at the same church my aunt and uncle attended — the same church James’ family attended as well.

The next several years were a collage of experiences: He was the object of my [unrequited] affections during my adolescent years, he was my prom date, and once in college, my first (and only) boyfriend.
For a variety of reasons I won’t go into for the sake of brevity, we broke up my sophomore year in college.

It was a breakup that lasted two years — one that was far more difficult for James than it was for me. I was resolved we’d never be together again; he hoped someday we would.

After I graduated college, James approached me with intentions so clear I was forced to decide what I wanted him to be in my life. Whatever the choice, I couldn’t ignore it. While I wavered, doubted and prayed, James was patient and understanding — and waited.

Our relationship was certainly filled with a few ups and downs, a handful of challenges and good times — complete with mandatory chaperones and curfews to maneuver — but nearly three years later we were engaged and watched the Lord dump blessings on us in the most ridiculous, awe-inspiring way!

I discovered Boundless “accidentally” doing a Google search on something related to godly relationships when James and I first started dating again, and I never turned back. I loved all the articles about relationships, and though some didn’t exactly fit the mold of our relationship — like “Hi to I Do in a Year,” for instance — those articles provided us with plenty of food for thought and discussion during that early dating period. I was repeatedly blessed by Boundless Answers and so many articles that helped me wade through those sometimes-uncertain waters of courtship.

Someone once told me that I should never bind my husband (then, fiancé) to some sort of prescription outlined in someone’s book or article, because no one has yet written the book on him or us. That was sage advice for me, an over-reading, over-worrier type. So, I took articles like those on Boundless as a springboard for discussion and consideration, remembering that while God gives us all the same biblical framework for a relationship, He writes all of our love stories differently.

The pastor who married us is my uncle, Rev. Luis Torres. We were in HIS wedding in 1987 in that same church, and I lived with him and my aunt from the beginning of college until I married.

During our honeymoon in Ireland and Spain we simply couldn’t get over how blessed we felt. God is exceedingly gracious, and He honored our obedience to Him and respect for our families and each other more than we could have imagined. Doing things God’s way is definitely worth it.

Besides courtship issues, Boundless has caused James and I to pick each other’s brain on bigger issues in our future, like when to start a family, and stay-at-home motherhood. We don’t have all those answers yet, and are not sure how our Lord will work that out for us, but I’m sure I’ll be clicking on Boundless for insight along the way.

Tomorrow my husband and I will celebrate our first wedding anniversary. Last October we walked down the same aisle we did in 1987; vowing our commitment at the same altar, in the same church where we’ve grown up around family, friends and amazing pastors, and where we still serve. It’s been a beautiful year of learning and loving, with the transition from single to married going far smoother than we both expected. If given the chance, I’d walk down the aisle with him all over again.



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