The first Matt book is all before we officially became a couple. Our relationship truly began in April 2004. The first journal started that month. I was pretty sure we had something special after our friendship started, but he was dating another girl. That entire book is the ups and downs, thrills with budding love and disappointments that made up the first leg of our relationship. The last time I read through that journal I got very angry at Matt. Now, it's not necessarily a good memory (there were lots of tears and confusion during that year) but it was rewarding seeing how quickly I "fell in love" with him and I "knew" he was my future husband. Of course, at the time I didn't "know" anything of the sort... or maybe God instilled it in my heart? But it was all true. It was right.
The last real entry of that first journal was December 20, 2004. The night Matthew officially asked me to be his girlfriend. That was also the night of our first kiss, my first kiss ever. There were about 3 pages left in the journal that I filled eventually, but it was way after the fact. Matt wishes I could just burn that book, but it's interesting to replay my emotions during that time. We made some bad choices (hanging out with each other alone when he had a girlfriend), but at the same time, I wonder if we would've still ended up together if we hadn't taken each step as it came.
The second Matt book was the first stretch of our dating relationship. I was in Michigan, a senior in high school. He was in Virginia, a freshman in college. We were apart, which was no fun. Before we became official we talked every day on the phone, so the long distance friendship just expanded. He was able to come to my Senior Homecoming Formal and my Junior/Senior Spring formal. Those events were extra special since he was able to come. It also helped break up the long stretches where we didn't see each other. I really believe that time apart helped us solidify our relationship. We were forced to work arguments out over the phone. We got to know about each other without the pressures of the physical relationship.
I didn't pull out the third Matt book and I'm not sure if I filled it entirely or what time period it covers. But the rest of the story is history. We dated all throughout college. We made the 12 hour trip home for holidays many many times together, which certainly helped us build patience! We got to know each other's families as well as anyone prior to marriage. It was nice because we know all of each others high school and college friends. It's nice to be able to tell him about someone and he know exactly who I am talking about.
As I was reading various entries, it struck me how different Matt and I are as individuals than we were during those years. The entires were primarily from 2004 and 2005. I would've been 17 and 18 and he was 19 and 20. In the years since then we have both grown and matured so much. While I was reading my memories, it was almost like I was reading the story of two totally different people than Matt and I! I hadn't realized how much we had changed. Not only have we grown as individuals, but as spouses we have learned so much about honoring each other, loving each other unconditionally, and supporting each other. I truly am so blessed to have such an amazing husband who seeks to grow with me. I am very thankful we are not the same people we were 8 years ago.
One more interesting thing I gleaned from those journals: we do a LOT for our significant other than we wouldn't every dream of doing once we're spouses! Hopefully the reverse is true as well, but during the dating stage we are trying to impress. Matt sang me songs, danced with me, offered to take dance classes even. Now... none of that would even be a possibility. But also, I don't need him to offer to do those kinds of things anymore. I know it would make him uncomfortable. But the fact that he offered back then warms my heart.
Matthew will make such a great Daddy! I cannot wait for Jackson to get here so we can love on him together. I'm not sure if I'll ever share those journals with any of our kids, but I'll certainly tell them stories from them!