This is the story of how I found my soul-mate.

I am the second of four children. I am also the only boy. My Mom used to tell me that it was training to learn how to treat women right. You know, like holding doors and getting their coat. I thought it sucked because I just wanted a brother to play sports with who wouldn’t cry all the time.

I teased my sisters pretty mercilessly at times (in my defense, it was really fun), but I also learned how to be chivalrous at a very young age. I grew up with 6 females, so maybe I just didn’t have a choice.  For the most part, I tried to keep myself entertained and out of the way of the constant tea parties, barbies, dress-up, and games of “house”.

But there was one thing I couldn’t escape during my childhood: Disney movies.

See, it wasn’t like it is today, where you have these movies like Cars and Toy Story, let alone Tangled or Shrek. No, all those VHS tapes in my house growing up were movies about one thing: princesses. And I swear I’ve seen them all a thousand times.

Now comes the part where I have to come clean and admit there was one of those movies I actually looked forward to watching. I couldn’t tell you why, maybe it was just because it was different, but I actually liked The Little Mermaid.

It turns out I had a thing for redheads who could sing. They were like unicorns in real life; I had never actually seen one (or least none who made any memorable impression), until my senior year of high school.

In youth group there was this one particular girl with beautiful, long red hair and the voice of an angel. She even had a name I had never heard before.

There was only one problem: I was still an awkward teenager who couldn’t talk to girls. Luckily, she liked to talk and I was a good listener, so we became pretty good friends. Then we started hanging out at Starbucks to play chess. And the more we talked, the more I learned about her, like her favorite flower and that she really likes animals, especially horses (single guys should be taking notes here, I’m just saying).

We spent one summer becoming best friends before I remembered I was moving to California and she was going off to college in the fall. So, I did what any desperate guy would do – wrote her a song telling her how I felt (turns out that was a pretty good idea, too).

We started dating right after I left, and it turns out that having 5,000 miles in between you for four months is a good way to learn a lot of important things about a person. But once I came back, I was home for good. About a year later we got engaged, and we got married a year after that. I should also mention at this time that in spite of always wanting brothers, I managed to marry into a family all ALL GIRLS (she had more sisters than me).  She’s the fourth of five…but who’s counting?

Of course, now you understand why it is so fitting that I would be the proud Daddy of two little girls, right? I always knew God had a sense of humor, but also a much better plan then I ever could have imagined.

Our story is a testament to the lost notion of becoming friends first.  If you are meant to fall in love, you still will.  If not, at least you have an awesome friend (who maybe has other single friends, hello).  But you can’t fall in love with someone you don’t know.  You might think you can, but I would suggest it’s not as deep as you think, at least not until you’ve seen more of the whole picture.

If you haven’t gone through a major life trial that also tests your relationship and come out the other side better off because of it, then maybe you don’t know what love is yet.  Then again, maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about.

And just because you got married doesn’t mean you know what love is.  Do you die to yourself every day for that person?  Do you still mean, “for better and worse” once things actually get worse?

See, even though I watched a lot of Disney movies growing up, I knew better than to think the story ended on day of the wedding.  For us, it was just the beginning.  The beginning of a great story worth living and worth telling.

Better than any movie.