I’m Married to My Best Friend!

And he’s a younger man!! He looks like he’s 20 (and a little sleepy) in this photo, but he’s actually 35. That is 5 years younger than I am! Never in my life did I think I’d marry someone younger. I hadn’t ever even dated anyone younger. But God!! He had such a plan and He used it to pave the way for a friendship that would become the foundation of a lifetime commitment. Isn’t that the best place for a marriage to start afterall?

Since JJ was younger, I saw him as a friend – not as a potential catch. He was still in college and I was well into my carreer. It was safe turf. I’d been through two broken engagements to the same guy (another story) and hadn’t dated in almost two years. I was afraid my heart would be broken again. Convinced that I needed to be perfect for someone to love me, I tried to act perfect and look perfect. But since JJ was only a friend, I was totally myself with him – very imperfect! I didn’t care if he saw me without make-up, in sweats, grubby or glam.

One night, JJ stopped by to hang out with my roomates and me. He’d made homemade chilli for us. We were quite impressed! Then as he was leaving, he took out the trash for us. Later that evening my girlfriends and I commented about what a great husband he’d be for someone and how we wished he were older. Soon after that I set him up with one of the college girls that was in a Bible study I was leading. If I couldn’t have him I should share the wealth with someone else, right? Well, I knew something was wrong when I got mad at him the first time he showed interest in her. He walked past me to sit with that cute thing at a church event and it hurt my feelings! I was falling for him, but of course I didn’t let it show. I simply stuffed my feelings down and didn’t say a word.

Our friendship continued to grow. We’d hang out in groups a lot, but occassionally it would end up being just us. What I liked about JJ was that he brought out the kid in me. One time he dared me to climb a tree, and I did! Another night, we were up in this lookout tower and he taught me how to spit long distance. Well he tried. I didn’t do so well.

Another weekend a group of us were going hiking in my hometown. Everyone backed out except JJ. We had planned to stay at my mom’s house and I wanted to go home for a visit, so we stuck with our plans. After hiking all day, we stayed up talking and laughing past midnight. Many months later, when I talked to my mom about us getting engaged, she told me that she could hear us that night and she knew he was the one for me by how much he made me laugh!

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.

Comments

  1. Hi Renee,
    Your site looks great! I will look forward to keeping up with your exciting life on here. Keep sharing those stories with women that help them see Him in you and how they can see the same in themselves.Love ya! MS

  2. Lauren ( "Lu") says:

    Renee-
    Your story has the makings of a great romance book- I can’t wait to hear the rest of the story. I hope you convey a scene next, similar to Pride and Prejudice where Darcy says “You have bewitched me body and soul and I love, I love..I love you”!!!
    I’ve so enjoyed reading the blogs of the P31 team- but your story is especially good. Nothing like a match made in heaven!
    -Lauren Caldwell

  3. Hello Renee….I just love you! Your site looks beautiful and you write just as you are in real life! Can’t wait to see you, hopefully very soon…hey girl, how’s WW going? I’ve lost 14 lbs so far…yippee! love ya, Shari

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi Renee….I just love the Proverbs 31 site. But I especially love your story…your sharing of your experience with the Lord. I too love to laugh and because of Him I love life. But in checking out “your best friend” link I was shocked and surprised to see your hubby is 5 years younger then you. God meant for me to read this because the fellow I am seeing now and who I would not give the time of day to for a whole year is 8 years younger then me. I kept wondering if I was crazy and asking the Lord to give me some direction here…but in that year That I ignored him I never knew what God had in store for me. The scripture in the Old Testament came to me when they looked for a king and they went through all the brothers that they thought would be good but God said no and refused them all….but David was small and tended his father’s sheep and he was the one God chose and told them so. When I could not see my path or way clearly God reminded me of that scripture and now here I am reading about you and your hubby…..God is just so good…isn’t He?? God bless and much love to you and your family….In Christ, Diane

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