20 years ago (holy moley), I was a sophomore in high school, and my friend Pam and I had plans to go to the carnival in town (which just happened to be about a block away from my parents house). She met me at my house with her boyfriend and a friend of his, whom I had never met before. He was older than us, and I didn’t really pay him any attention. I was just out to have fun with my friend. All I remember about the night was watching a band play. Nothing exciting happened. Soon the night was over and I walked home. (Chris still to this day, likes to talk about how he was “checking me out” as I walked home. Typical.)
A few days later, my friend called me asking if she could give this guy my phone number. I didn’t even know who she was talking about at first! I said yes, because I didn’t really have any reason to say no. And because he was a cool, older senior guy. haha. A few days later (or maybe it was even the next day, I can’t remember), there was a message on the answering machine with Chris asking if he could take me out on a date. I remember being so excited and listening to it a hundred times.
Within this same week, I was at cheerleading practice, and we each had to pick a football player from the team. Before the big games, we would decorate their lockers, paint their jersey numbers on our arms, stuff like that. Out of the sea of names, I noticed Chris Weikel, and I was like, “oh, I have to have him”. I was telling the girls how he was supposedly interested in me. At this time we still hadn’t met each other.
Shortly after, we had to do a sports fundraiser (going door-to-door in town collecting money), so we decided to do it together, and this ended up being our “first date”. My mom drove me to the high school to pick up Chris (I was only 15), and I still remember her commenting on how cute he was sitting there on the bench. It’s crazy how I remember it like it was yesterday. He was sitting there wearing his beat up Phillies baseball cap that he literally wore ALL THE TIME, and he did look pretty darn cute. 😉 It didn’t take very long for my parents (and the rest of my family) to fall in love with Chris. My mom in particular, who knew he was “the one” from pretty early on. He was basically perfect, and what any mom would want for their daughter. Polite, kind, gentle, trustworthy, and sincere. But there was just one little problem. Chris had some wild seeds he needed to sow. He was a bit of a “free bird”.
Over my sophomore year, Chris and I were basically inseparable. I had our whole lives planned out, and we were going to get married after I graduated high school, I was going to be a stay-at-home mom, and we were going to have loads of kids. haha! (Funny how plans change!) I was really shy in high school, so most of our dates consisted of going to each other’s house or going to the movies. If it was up to Chris, we would have been going to parties and hanging out with his friends. I still remember driving down Main Street in Chris’ old Ford Ranger, and getting honked at like 10 times in a 2 mile radius. Everyone loved Chris, and his group of friends wasn’t limited to one clique. Jocks, hippies…he had friends everywhere! He picked me up for school every morning. He would do anything for me. He would do anything for anyone actually. That’s just the kind of guy he is, and one of my favorite things about him.
The year passed by quickly, and we started having more and more arguments. We were so different, and were too young to “get” each other. Like I said, Chris was a “free bird” and had a need inside of him to just do his own thing for a while. I was holding him back. I was heartbroken at the time, and couldn’t understand. But looking back, it was the best thing for us to go our separate ways. So we broke-up and I was crushed. But that wasn’t really the end. As always, God knew what he was doing.
Over the next few years, we both dated other people, none of which ever compared to what we had together. Chris and I even tried getting back together a bunch of times, but it never seemed to work. I went on to date a plethora of losers, but I learned a lot during those experiences. None of the guys I dated were ever good enough for my mom, since she was always comparing everyone to Chris, and nobody even came close. I was working at a local salon as a hairstylist, and still living at home with my parents. I wasn’t making enough money to live on my own, so I was basically in limbo. Waiting.
In 2002, Chris came back into my life for good. After a conversation on the phone with my sister, he decided to call me out-of-the-blue, which was a decision that changed our lives forever. We got back together, and this time something was different. Something changed. I wasn’t sure what, but all I knew what that I was happy, and I finally got my man! Chris’ proposal was simple, which if you know him, wouldn’t surprise you. He proposed on one knee with a little red velvet box, in the living room of my parents’ house. Now if you know me, you know that I’d probably prefer a rose petal path leading to the beach, where a plane flies overhead with a banner that says “Alissa, will you marry me?’. But Chris didn’t need to impress me. He already had my whole heart. He was giving me himself, and that’s all I wanted. And for that reason, his proposal was perfect, and of course I said “YES”. I decided to go to college, and with Chris’ help and support, was able to get my college degree and become a Registered Nurse. At the same time, we were planning our wedding.
August 4, 2007 was the best day of my life. I never understood how much Chris loved me until that day. I’m not sure I realized how much I loved him either, until I cried saying our practice vows during our wedding rehearsal. I walked down the aisle towards a man that was hand-picked for me. He cherished me and loved me so much. During our first dance, Chris cried, and I’ve never felt more loved in my entire life. It was like it was just the two of us. Everyone else disappeared. We honeymooned in Puerto Rico, and I cried the last day before we came home. It was like everything was a dream that I never wanted to wake up from.
The next 6 years were great! We were both working full-time and doing a lot of traveling, which we loved. We made new memories in fun places and enjoyed being just the two of us. Our love has always been enough for me. I never felt like I needed to add on to be complete. I didn’t think we would have kids, but as the years passed, we started to discuss it more and more. And one day, we decided it was time. We didn’t feel ready, but does anyone?
On February 1st, 2013, we found out we were pregnant! I was excited, but also pretty terrified. Was I ready for this? Would I be a good mom? Emotional was an understatement. With the exception of emotional meltdowns, my pregnancy was really easy. I actually loved being pregnant, and have never felt more comfortable in my own skin. Chris was so supportive throughout my pregnancy, and was really excited to become a dad. But it was also the end of an era. We soaked up the last few weeks of just being “two”.
Our little Johannes arrived on October 5th 2013, after a not-so-ideal birth. He was beautiful and perfect, and we didn’t know how to wrap our minds around this new love. Without going into a ton of detail (because that’s a different post for a different day), I didn’t feel full of joy like I thought I would as a new mom. I loved my baby, but something felt “off”. I was so sleep-deprived, and going back to my night-shift job after three months, made things even worse. Chris didn’t know what to do for me, and I couldn’t tell him what I needed. Meanwhile, in my own mind, it felt like I was abandoned by him. I felt like we were slowly drifting apart. I was breastfeeding what felt like 24:7, meanwhile, his life seemed to go on unchanged. Meanwhile, mine changed so much, I barely knew who I was anymore. Some days I felt downright insane. I started to get resentful towards Chris. The resentment soon grew to anger, and we started to feel like enemies in our own home. Some days I couldn’t even stand to look at him. I felt as if there was no love between us anymore. I felt alone. This went on for months, and the feelings didn’t change. Hurtful words were spoken. I prayed and prayed that things would change. And one day, I finally said it. “I want a divorce.”
But Chris wasn’t ready to give up just yet. He tried to talk some sense into me, and we agreed to go for marriage counseling. I figured we had nothing to lose, and if this didn’t work, we would just go our separate ways. We started meeting with Wendy once a week. The sessions were painful, and brought a lot of feelings to the surface. She helped us communicate and open up about things that were bothering both of us. Things we didn’t even know about. We felt safe in that space to talk about everything. We laughed, we cried, and Wendy could see that our connection wasn’t gone. It was just buried deep under all the pain. There was still a little flame burning. There was still hope. And WE starting to feel like there was still hope, which made all the difference. Soon we were only going for counseling sessions twice a month, which soon changed to once a month. Eventually, Wendy told us she didn’t think we needed to come anymore. It was hard to say goodbye, because she completely changed our marriage. She changed our lives. Nothing was perfect, and we still weren’t back to where we used to be, but we started to feel the love again. She gave us our hope back.
Fast-forward three years, and we can finally say that our marriage has been completely restored. I am no longer sleep-deprived from working night shift, and my baby hormones have finally, FINALLY hit the road (thank GOD). I feel like my old self again, and I am completely in love with my husband. Looking back, it’s hard to even believe we had those negative feelings toward each other during that difficult time. It was really painful to even write this post because it stirred up a lot of old memories that I never planned on revisiting. I’m just so grateful that Chris never gave up on us, even when I wanted to. I can’t imagine how different our lives would be now. That’s why today, our 10-year wedding anniversary, is SO special, and such a huge milestone for us. (These photos were taken last weekend, but this is the same wedding dress I wore down the aisle!)
So you may be asking yourself why I decided to share my marriage problems on the internet? I was a very thought our decision, and something I felt like I needed to do. In today’s world of social media, everything can come across looking perfect. I’m definitely a perfectionist (Type-A times 10), and I’m definitely a fan of a beautiful looking Instagram feed. However, that perfect feed comes along with a lot of misconceptions, and can make someone’s life appear a little “too perfect”. I never want anyone to think I have a perfect life, because it’s so far from it, and anyone that knows me personally already knows that. But as an outsider, or just someone who follows my blog, there’s no way of knowing that. Behind the pretty pictures, there’s always more to everyone’s story, and it’s not always picture-perfect.
The second (and biggest) reason I’m airing my dirty laundry, is because I’m hoping someone who is struggling in their marriage will stumble across this post, because this post was written for YOU. Whether you are a new mom who is having a hard time connecting with your partner, or someone who’s been married for years, I pray that you will hold on. Hold on to the hope that things could go back to the way they were. Because they can! Find a counselor who understands you and follow through. Our counselor made ALL the difference for us. Pray hard. Push through the pain. Push through the tears. It’s SO worth it. God saved my marriage. And I know he can save yours, too.
And Chris, happy 10 year anniversary babe! You are, always have been, and always will be the love of my life. Thank you for letting me share our story.
Photos by CAG Photography