Sunday, July 31, 2011

Love Story Part 9: For Time and all Eternity

The morning of August 5th finally came. I don't remember much about about that morning. I do remember that I got my hair done at 5am and that Tonya Jones came over to do my hair. My dad told my siblings to say goodbye to me and they half halfheartedly waved "bye." He said "This is your last chance to say goodbye to Melissa Marsden. They were kind of both stunned by this revelation and came to give me hugs and say goodbye. Because they were so young, they would not be in the temple ceremony with us.

I was hyperventilating on the way up the steep hill to the temple. My mom thought it was hilarious and still talks about it to this day. Adam had sent a text message that morning asking "are you ready to be stuck to me forever?" It unnerved me. I was so anxious. I got to the temple and checked in where they told me to wait for my groom. When he walked in he was so handsome, so Adam...I wasn't nervous anymore. It was almost like "Oh yeah, this guy! I know him!"  We were able to spend a few special moments inside the Celestial room together holding hands and talking. Adam wasn't nervous at all, he was anchoring me to the situation.

Finally, it was time for the sealing. I remember walking in and seeing all of our family and friends. We were directed to sit on a bench between our two mothers. There I was with my mom in the temple. She was holding one hand while Adam held the other. I remembered that moment twelve years earlier where she had promised if I kept myself clean and pure I would be able to go to the temple. For those that might not be familiar with what that entailed, it meant that Adam and I had refrained from any use of drugs, tobacco, alcohol, etc. and to also keep the law of chastity which meant we would save ourselves for marriage. This, along with keeping our baptismal covenants, and generally trying to be good people.

The ceremony was beautiful. When it was all over Adam had this shocked look on his face like he couldn't believe it was over. We kissed of course and then greeted our family and friends as Mr. and Mrs. Turney.

My aunts had put together a WONDERFUL luncheon afterwords at my aunt Suzie's house. I couldn't believe I was married to my best friend! I couldn't believe that literally everyone that I loved was gathered together to celebrate that. My grandpa sang "Sweet Lady" to me. I think it was in my top three events of the day.

Our reception was held at Lomond View Gardens. It was neat because we were married in the temple I'd watched be built from my bedroom window, then our reception was in the shadow of the mountain that had watched over me for the second half of my growing up life. My uncle Mike's band Endless summer performed and the whole atmosphere was joy and celebration, just as a wedding should be. As the night drew to a close, everyone lined up and was given sparklers. We ran through a shower of fire and cheers to a cute vintage car waiting for us.

When I married Adam that day, I couldn't imagine that five years down the road I would be right where I am in life. I couldn't imagine the struggle, or the sweetness of life. Reality hit about two weeks later when we were sitting in a giant dumpster looking for an 80 dollar gift card that had meant 80 dollars worth of groceries for two people without jobs living in a city where we didn't know anyone. It was our first taste of the real world. No matter what things have come our way, we have faced them side by side. Adam is still my best friend and I'd rather spend time with him than any other person. I'm grateful that we have made our home in Las Vegas. I'm grateful for my two girls. I know more than ever that I made the right choice when I agreed to be his wife. No, life hasn't been completely smooth sailing, we aren't perfect and therefore our marriage isn't perfect. We've made mistakes but we have been incredibly blessed. I look forward to the next five years, and the next, and the next, onto eternity.

Love Story Part 8: Being Engaged

For most people the engagement period is a fun, albeit stressful, romantic time spent planning your future together. Not for us.

Three weeks after our engagement Adam and I were driving to the airport to say goodbye for five long months while I was teaching English in Russia. It was HARD saying goodbye to the guy I'd spent every day with for the past 8 months, who I had chosen to spend ETERNITY with...and now I was leaving him.

I won't say much about this time because it was pretty lame to be away from him. I will say that when we were finally reunited on June 7th it was a very happy day. With our wedding just two months away there was a lot to do. My mom had taken care of most of the planning.

This is when real life started staring us in the face. We were preparing to move to Las Vegas, consolidating bank accounts, and working hard. I was working at Leger's Deli where my cousin had generously given me a job during the day and Dairy Queen at night. Adam was working not too far away at an elementary school by day and Chuck E. Cheese at night. Yep. As the day approached Adam took Temple preparation classes with me. I was living with my Grandparents in Bountiful and Adam was living in Draper with some roomates. The days ticked on and on.

One funny moment happened about three weeks before the wedding. I didn't mention that the ring Adam proposed with was a small band with diamonds around it, a "temporary ring" so that I could go to Russia and not worry about having it lost or stolen. When we got home, together we picked a ring and had it designed to our specifications. Finally it was ready and between my two jobs Adam and I were registering at Target when he knelt down in the middle of target and pretended to propose to me with the new ring. It was beautiful but passers by might have thought it was a little cheesy to propose in target. Luckily he hadn't.

Love Story Part 7: Will You?

On January 3rd 2006 Adam and I were in Utah getting ready to attend my cousin's wedding. Adam and I were planning on traveling together to the Salt Lake Temple and wait outside while Becky and Joe got married. It's about an hour drive, and Adam wanted to leave early.

As we left we were both nervous. I was pretty certain TODAY would be the day I would get engaged. It had been about five days since I'd told him he could ask me to marry him. Before we got to Salt Lake, we got to Layton....

Adam had always joked that the next time he took me to eat at Red Robin (his favorite restaurant) I should start to prepare myself for the question to be popped. It was probably 10am in the morning...way to early for burgers and I knew something was up. I ate nervously.

We left Red Robin (yeah, we didn't get engaged at R.R. that would have been less than romantic) and continued on our journey but we didn't make it to Salt Lake again...Adam took an exit in Bountiful and we started to climb the hill towards a very special place to me.

BACK TRACK: I spent my earliest years living in Bountiful before moving up to Pleasant View. I'll always think of Pleasant View as my home, but there was one thing in Bountiful that really meant a lot. The Bountiful Temple. I remember what a HUGE deal it was when it was announced, that Bountiful would have a temple. My parents were so excited. We visited the temple many times as it was being built on the hill, and when it was finally completed we got tickets to the open house. For those of you who may not know what the temple signifies in the LDS church, the temple is a very sacred, beautiful place where we make and keep sacred covenants with God. The highest ordinance that can be preformed in the temple is a temple sealing, the marriage ceremony, where we are sealed for all eternity. Hence my blog name E*Turney*Ty. Family is a central part of God's plan and so we believe the most sacred thing you can do is to be married in the temple, and each child that comes into your family in the coming years is also sealed to the couple. So not only were Adam and I sealed on that day, but when Hannah joined our family she was "born under the covenant" and therefore automatically sealed to us and part of our eternal family. Paige is also a part of our eternal family, and any child who is born hereafter.

Because the Temple is such a sacred place, it takes preparation and maturity to be able to go inside. In order to hold a temple recommend, you must have two interviews by priesthood holders, and you must already have entered into the baptismal covenant in order to preform the other sacred ordinances. However, before a temple is dedicated the church opens it up to the public so that they may tour the building. I was able to go with my parents when I was 8 years old and tour the Bountiful temple LONG before I held a temple recommend. I remember how BEAUTIFUL it was. My parents and I sat in the bridal room of the temple for the dedication. I don't remember if it was before, or after the dedication but my mom gave me a CTR (chose the right) ring to wear to remind me that if I made good choices and kept myself clean and pure than I could be here one day being married to the man I loved. I took it very literally and from that moment on I KNEW I wanted to be sealed in the Bountiful temple.

Fast forward twelve years and there we were, at the Bountiful temple. Adam grabbed my hand and led me onto the grounds. I still did not hold a temple recommend, I had not been inside since that day when I was 8, but I felt such a happiness and peace as we walked around the grounds. We sat right in front of the temple and Adam pulled a photo album from his suit. He told me he wanted to read me a story, a love story. As he flipped through the photo album, full of pictures of us he told me the story of a boy who had searched to find his perfect match, and upon finally finding her had to fight for her affection. He talked about how no matter what, he wanted the story to end and begin with the temple so they could be married for eternity. Of course I have ugly cry face on  but the last picture was the Bountiful temple. As I sat at the edge of the fountain, Adam got down on his knees and pulled out a ring that he'd picked out. He asked me if I would marry him. Of course through my ugly cry face I said yes and we kissed.

We spent some more time together at the temple then rushed off to the Salt Lake temple which was just 15 or 20 minutes away to be there when Becky and Joe would be walking out of the temple. I just had one request....that we not tell anyone about our engagement on Becky's special day. We kept that resolve for the most part, I pulled my aunts aside individually and told them the good news but asked them not to say anything. That night we celebrated in Salt Lake at Marie Calendars for pie with both our future in laws.

That night we went to Park City to prepare for a couple days of skiing (yikes!) which were a lot of fun. It was a great time spent with his family, one of my favorites that I will never forget.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Love Story Part 6: We're Dating Part 2

So now you know that Adam was super serious about me, and I was falling in love with him. I was still writing to Drew, who knew all about Adam. Adam and I spent every possible moment of free time together, and when we weren't together I was trying to figure out my love life.

Adam and I did some REALLY fun things. We were planning on going to Utah for 4th of July weekend but at the last minute his mom offered us two plane tickets to California. Adam wanted me to see where he grew up so we decided to go. Soon after that, we were up in Island Park with my family and I was showing Adam around one of MY favorite spots in the world. I even got to take him to Yellowstone for his first trip (my millionth).

I got a call from Aubrey, Adam's sister, asking if I would speak at her baptism in August. Adam said that meant that we would be engaged possibly by the time we went to California for the baptism. I politely listened, knowing that we would NOT be engaged. I was not ready. I went ring shopping anyway.

Adam was seriously certain that we would get married. So sure of himself that on one of our trips to Utah to visit my family, he ended up driving me down to Bountiful and dropping me off at Drew's grandmother's house so I could visit with his mom and brother. When he picked me up after our visit Drew's younger brother Sam pelted Adam's car with fruit. They were cheering for Drew to keep me. Adam persisted in patience.

One thing I learned from Adam was his willingness to serve me. At one point I suggested we not to see each other for a week so I could get my head and heart straightened out with the whole marriage thing. Unfortunatly, during that week I needed to print out about thirty copies of a two page research paper and distribute them to my classmates. He had a computer and a printer and I sent him a message asking if there was anyway he could print it out so I could avoid the ten cents per page printing fee. He said he'd see what he could do. Not only did he print out the copies, he stapled, and hole punched each one of them, and left them on my doorstep along with his weekly love letter. He gave me my space. I didn't know it then but he was demonstrating how he would love me for the rest of eternity. Selflessly.

Adam and I had different views on a lot of things. Not big things, but we were definitely different people. He voiced his dislike of Disneyland as much as I loudly praised it. Nevertheless, for my 20th birthday, he surprised my by flying me out to Disneyland, meeting his family down there to celebrate not only my birthday, but Adam's and his sister Allie's. I felt some pressure from his family, wanting us to get engaged, or at least to plan to get engaged.

Because of his nice birthday surprise, I surprised Adam by flying out to spend Christmas with him and his family. By this point we'd made four or five trips to California and just as many to Utah. We were getting to know our families better and I was beginning to understand that fall semester could possibly be my last at BYU-Idaho.

Yes, I was in love. I still had reservations. I was young. Adam was planning to move to Las Vegas for his Student Teaching. There was still an issue of Drew who I was STILL writing. One night in November Adam asked me if I still loved Drew. I told him I did. We got into an argument. His patience was wearing thin. After all, the girl he'd decided to spend forever with just admitted that she was still harboring feelings for another guy. He thought that because I admitted that, I must be breaking up with him. I thought that because he was upset that he was done. We both thought the other was breaking up. It was awkward. Adam had purchased an engagement ring back in October, sure that if he had one that things would move along. They weren't moving. We ALMOST broke up. I was sitting at my apartment. I realized if I was going to have an out, this was it. This was my chance to get off the train. But then I realized I did NOT want to get off. That is when my letters to Drew stopped for the most part. In mid December I stopped writing to Drew all together, telling him that I was in love with Adam and that no matter what happened with him, I was just holding on to something that had been gone for a long time. By this point, the only communication I'd had with Drew was once a week writing for over a year. I realized that Drew and I had had a PERFECT relationship, untainted by stress or responsibility and that we hadn't been tested. It was a juvenile relationship full of fluff, lacking substance.

I still wasn't sure if I wanted to marry Adam. I knew I loved him but I wasn't ready to commit forever. After much prayer and deliberation, it just somehow came to me one night. That night I went to Adam. I went over to him, sat on his lap and said "If you ask me, I will say yes." Then I left to wait.

Love Story Part 5: We're Dating Part 1

I admit, while I was waiting for Adam to come home from California I seriously considered telling him that I had made a mistake, that I was writing to my missionary and that it was Drew that I loved. Something stopped me though, and Adam returned ready to kick our relationship off.

Adam knew about Drew. It was something we had talked about OFTEN and he knew I was still writing to him. Adam decided, that since I received a weekly love letter from this boy who still had a hold of my heart, that he could deal with that, and really compete with it. He started writing me letters, and mailing them, or delivering them to my door. Long, beautiful letters. He was a much better communicator than Drew was, and also had the advantage of seeing me every day.

Once Adam was in, he was all in. I mentioned he wasn't interested in me when we met, but once he decided that it was me he desired, he was doing everything he could to make sure he could hold my interest. Just one week after he asked me to be his girlfriend we had the following conversation.

Adam: "So, basically this relationship is going one of two ways. We are either going to break up, or get married. What do you think we are going to do."

My mind: "Oh my gosh Melissa, this guy is crazy. Run. Run now. You are only 19 and this crazy is talking about getting married. You are not going to marry him. Run."

What I actually said: "Wow. I don't know, don't you think it's a little early to tell?"

Traditionally in "Mormon Land" a typical courtship lasts about three to six months with an engagement lasting 6 weeks to four months. I am not a "traditional Mormon land" type of girl. I think two people should date AT LEAST 8 months at the very earliest. Preferably a year, before they get engaged. Adam was totally anxious to get engaged.

Adam and I met our families about two weeks after we started dating. His brother Addison was going to EFY in Rexburg and his family was on vacation in Park City. I met Addison first, then we drove him down to Utah together, staying first with my family for the night, then heading down to P.C. to drop Addison off. Not only did Adam meet the Marsdens, he met the Crouches...which meant he'd met the most essential people. He made an extra effort to get to know my sister Megan which was important to me. We played Apples to Apples. It was a great time. Meeting his family was good too. I didn't meet Austin at the time, but Aubrey, the youngest came running up to me and said "MICHELLE!" From then on, (for a while at least) I was "Michelle." Adam's dad kept calling me "Merissa," for about the first year. I'm happy to report he knows my name now.

I won't go into all the individual details of our early dating stage, except for one thing. At the end of June, I was down in Utah visiting my family, while Adam stayed up in Rexburg. I desperately wanted to go to my brother's Eagle court of honor, but alas, my roomates were going to be driving back up to Rexburg early Sunday so I would miss it by a few hours. I was all packed up and ready to hit the road with my roomates when the doorbell rang. It was Adam. He'd driven all the way down from Rexburg to pick me up so that we could both attend Sean's court of honor. It really meant a lot to each other, and though we'd only been dating about a month, I was swooning.

That night he asked if I would be willing to reconsider going to Russia. I told him that was a firm no. I was going to go to Russia to teach English, he'd known that since the day we'd met. He said that he was afraid of that...but that he had figured out his schooling and he would be willing to go to Russia with my husband. There he went talking about marriage again. This time it was different though. He was planning to marry me around Thanksgiving time. He knew he wanted me. I was still unsure; however his willingness to put himself out there, to change his life plans for me made me realize just how serious he was. That night, he told me that he loved me, and I told him I loved him back.