After reading through the entries, I realized that I could not pick one over the other. All entries were filled with emotion and love. So instead of judging the Road to Marriage, it became a drawing!
And the winner is........
Jacqueline Daley from Manchester, TN Congratulations Jacqueline and Eric!
Jacqueline's entry and her Road to Marriage~
My Road to Marriage
Like every little girl, my dream wedding was picked out by the time I was 12. I would be a princess and my knight in shining armor would be someone just like my father. Perfection. It's funny how the behind the scenes road to marriage isn't quite so glamorous and how things never turn out quite like you expected.
June 2002, fresh out of high school with the world at my fingertips was the true beginning of my road to marriage. Celebrating my new-found freedom, a girlfriend and I went out one night, doing what teenage girls do. We stopped at Krystal's way later that evening to grab a snack before deciding to head home. It was there that I met the man I was going to marry. Although, had you told me that back then, I very definitely would have laughed at you.
I fell in love with Eric immediately. To me, he was perfection. We pulled up to get our food. I flirted, he flirted and me & my friend wound up hanging out til about 7 am when he got off work. We hung out constantly and he started to make it (nicely) clear that he liked me, I just wasn't his type. No love for the hips back then. So best friends it was. We watched each other go in and out of failed relationships and held each other up when one thought they just simply couldn't handle one more broken heart. And it never mattered when the last time we spoke as, we always just slipped back into normal routine. He knew everything about me and I never had to explain myself.
New Year's Eve, 2006, Eric invited me over to celebrate his mom's birthday and the new year. Since my boyfriend was working, I figured why not. That was the night Eric first kissed me. A hilarious although treasured memory, his girlfriend (of the moment) being sick off the side of the balcony above us. It was an unplanned kiss, no doubt. We both kinda laughed it off and went back to the house and nothing was said about it again. After that, Eric & I started flirting a bit when we were around. Harmless mind you, nothing ever came of it. We made a pact that if we weren't married by the time we were 30, we'd just marry each other.
The summer of 2009, recently unengaged and hopeless, I moved to Fl to get away from it all and soon realized I missed home more than I thought I would. I moved back in with a friend and then eventually in with Eric & his girlfriend. We would stay up late and enjoy a few drinks, talking about anything or just watching movies. They wound up breaking up and, due to the short notice, decided to go back home til he could find something. I tagged along.
We were sitting outside, talking as usual, when out of nowhere Eric looks at me and says “I don't wanna screw up this chance with you, Jacque.” Confused I asked him what he was talking about. What came next was just as baffling. “I love you.” Come again? This couldn't be possible... could it?
We started dating that night and I was constantly pinching myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming. About 2 months later, Eric started saving up for a “surprise.” No way! Of course I had to gossip with my girls. I just couldn't believe that this was real. We came to the conclusion that he was very definitely going to propose and about 6 months later, he did. I'm still in awe of him and to see that saw awe come from his eyes is breathtaking.
The road to marriage isn't as glamorous as they make it seem. I've kissed my share of toads and been fooled by the best wolves in sheep's clothing. But, when you find that one person, the one you can look at and still feel that warm fuzzy in the pit of your stomach, nothing else matters. Not the toads, or the broken hearts, the stressful days nor the bumps in life's roller coaster. The day we say “I do” the world will fade and there will be nobody except me and him. And I know that there will be days I just want to choke him, but my road started with him and will continue on with him. And I couldn't ask for anything else.