Fifteen years is a long time to do anything. Whether it’s a job, a hobby, a family tradition, it becomes a part of you. It’s also a really long time to love and be committed to someone. Especially when you were just sixteen years old to start with. That’s exactly what Scott has given me though. 

Let me roll back the time machine a bit and tell you the *short* version of how we got together. It’s certainly not the typical “boy meets girl”.
In July of 98 I moved to virginia beach, and started attending a new church. The kids in the youth group were extremely friendly and I wanted (after 4 years of being ostracized in RI) to fit in so badly, that I did some stupid stuff to try to make them like me. Typical teenage insecurity, and wrong, though at the time you’d think I’d done far worse based on the way it was handled. After the whole debacle was resolved, I was left with two groups: those who would put up with me but clearly didn’t like me, and those who wre treating me like I’d never wronged them. Based on his general disdain for me up to that point, I assumed Scott would be in the first camp, but over the next months he came to prove me wrong. 
By late winter we were decent friends, though I didn’t know why this confident well respected guy went out of his way to call me or sit by me, who his “group” had clearly written off. I told myself he was just trying to be Christlike. 
It was probably clear to everyone from almost day 1 that I “liked” a particular boy in the group. I was nuts over him really, but he basically kept me in the “best friend” zone (though he was perfectly willing to discuss our future children?), until one day when Scott point blank asked me if I “liked” this guy. Now, I’m a sixteen year old girl, talking to the good friend of the guy I like. Am I really gonna say yes? Noooope. My response led to Scott taking this situation into his own hands (why? I wondered? Because he was tired of me being in denial? It was really none of his beezwax! But somehow I was thankful even thn.) and setting up a sit down for this guy and I to hash out our feelings. Oh that was brutal. The end result left things clear. He wasn’t interested in a relationship with me. Friend. Zoned. My heart was broken, and I’m not gonna lie-part of it still is. I’ll never really know (though it doesn’t matter)if he really didn’t see me that way or if he just wasn’t brave enough to be linked to me, the broken one. Scott and I have always suspected the latter, and at the time, that made the rejection even more painful. 
How-EVER! In my heartbreak (that part of me remembered that he *orchestrated*!) Scott was an incredibly supportive friend. He called me a couple times that first week, gave me pep talks, encouraged me, began to make me see my worth, and that I was lovable and special all on my own. He saw me sad at church the next Sunday, and said “Smile for me Sunshine!” I was amazed at his friendship, which seemed to come out of nowhere at the time, and I just asked him “why are you going through all of this with me, beside me?” And he asked “why do you think?” Even now I blush remembering that. At the time, I muttered “because you care…” And he kind of barked a laugh and let it drop.
 A week after that, on Easter, he handed me a letter. It was sixteen pages long, all about the work he saw God doing in me, in him, in our youth group. He said he saw something big on the horizon that would shake everyone up and “overturn a few apple carts.” I had no idea what that meant, and I was kinda scared. I wrote him back, all my thoughts and feelings on the subjects, and as I did I began to feel a bit afraid of what I saw developing. I had been aware for about six months that I really thought a lot of Scott, and when he hugged me I felt safe. I felt like I could open up to him in a different way than any other friends, and these letters were proving that. What did this mean? 
Well, it was his turn to write that week, and on April 18, 1999, he handed me a letter that started out trying to explain why he’d been supporting me and encouraging me and sharing with me. And halfway through the second page, the answer was there, in black and white:

And, there it was. No need for “check yes or no” or beating around the bush. Just an open, honest declaration of where he stood. Which was, and is, beside me and behind me.
I’m so glad you gave me that letter, so glad you’ve fought for me, first through parents, my crippling insecurity, then through heartbreaks and losses and their terrible aftermaths, through depression and anxiety, through hurting each other unspeakably, you’ve never given up. 
Thank you for the way you’ve grown with me, becoming more humble where needed, learning to stand strong and lead where needed, for being someone I can trust to take good care of me and our children. 
Thank you for your faithfulness. In so many ways. Thank you for the work you’ve put in and continue to, to keep your heart and mind only mine. 
Thank you, maybe most of all, for empowering me. From those early days of our friendship you strove to tear down the lies that others had built around me about being unlovable, worthless, not good enough, and replace them with the belief that I was the opposite. Sometimes you battled the builders of lies even as they tried to build. You have always believed in every dream, supported every goal, and celebrated every victory with me. 
The best thing I’ve learned in the past 15 years is something that started in April 99 and I’m still learning now: to communicate to you what I feel, need, want, because you want me to have it and will do all you can to make sure I do. Our biggest struggles have come when I wasn’t brave enough to ask for help. Thank you for loving me that much. 
Fifteen years into this relationship I’m even more enamored and deeply in love with this man than I ever thought I could be. Here’s to many more fifteens! 

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