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“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans ).

I still donʼt think that Ian would have ever left me if the role had been reversed.

There was no way I could keep that dating fire burning as practicality invaded our lives. Something I haven’t wanted to admit for a long time, but is undeniable.

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I wanted to tell her on the first date, but I knew that would probably be weird. She kind of gave me this half-shy, half-amused smile. But as time has gone on, I also realized that she knew something that I didn’t. I tried so hard to keep that fire going, to keep that emotion alight, but it got harder and harder. And what was even more interesting was that once I realized this on a conscious level, and started trying to find more opportunities to give, the more we both, almost intuitively, became lovey-dovey. From the excitement of dating a woman I felt like I could marry. Imagine a whole nation of people constantly chasing the emotions they had when they were dating. That’s a recipe for disastrous marriages; for a country with a 50% divorce rate; for adultery (the classic attempt to turn the fire back on); for people who do stay together to simply live functional, loveless marriages. How many people are in pain simply because they’ve been lied to.

Like most Hasidic Jews (we both became religious later in life), our dating period lasted a very short time. I mean, how you can feel that burning love when you’re sitting at the table discussing how to use the last twenty dollars in your bank account? How can you feel it when you think it makes perfect sense to put your socks on the floor after you’re done with them, and she has this crazy idea that they need to go in the laundry basket? And now, as I’m a bit older and a bit more experienced with this relationship, I’ve finally come to realize something.

And even though we chose marriage, we chose it sadly. It feels like the rest of the world uses these years for really fun things.

But in our 20s, we have watched our future crash with him in that white station wagon and we now live with two versions of Ian.

Why wasn’t I getting reciprocal lovey-doveyness when we were first married? From Disney movies to my favorite shows like “The Office” to practically every pop song released, love is constantly sold as an emotion we have before we’re married.

And that’s why my wife just gave me that half-smile. And now that I’ve tried to change the way I look at love, the more I become shocked at the messages of love I had gotten when I was younger.

Unlike John, and many couples, we didnʼt face sickness when we were grandparents. But instead, everything was halted with his brain injury, which he received on September 30 of that year in a car accident.

And so instead of getting married when we were young and healthy and naive, we waited four years and got married when he was sick and disabled and we were still grieving.

Larissa works in marketing at a local bank, and blogs at Ian & Larissa. The story of their relationship and trials, along with their uncommon union and their reflection of the Savior’s love in their marriage, was told in an online documentary.

“You will never regret loving this much.” John was there, watching our wedding, just a few months after his dear wife had passed. I looked at him sitting on the old, wooden benches, without her next to him.

Our pastor who married us, Mark Altrogge, was with us on the day that our marriage was approved by a local judge.

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