How did you know after all these years that Jacob was
The big defining element was that he knew how to cherish me as a woman. I think a lot of guys struggle with that because it takes a lot of strength and a lot of confidence, as a man, to really truly cherish a woman. I found in other dating relationships that I hadn’t felt fully appreciated or cherished or led spiritually. But with Jacob, there was this 'cherishing' factor that was there with him.
I remember conversations soon before we got engaged where we would look at each other and say,
This is really amazing. This is so special what we have here — and tears came to our eyes because it was so beautiful.
I asked God to confirm to me that we were meant to be together as husband and wife. God did confirm it through Scripture, through people that I respect in my life, mentors speaking into my life through prayer, through peace. Second to giving your life to Jesus, it’s the biggest decision you’ll ever make in your life.
I’m thinking that for a person in your position — a young, female celebrity — dating could get pretty complicated.
Definitely, yeah, very tricky. I look back and honestly I’m glad to be done with that season of my life. No matter how you cut the cake, dating is difficult. It’s vulnerable. You can’t control it. You don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. It’s a trust experience with God. It’s a trust experience with the person that you’re dating and sometimes, honestly, the person you’re dating isn’t necessarily trustworthy. So it’s a process of guarding your heart but not overly guarding it because you want to be open to love. It’s a very challenging season. Being recently out of that season I can emphasize with a lot of people that are still in it.
How did you and Jacob prepare for marriage?
We went through marriage counseling with a friend who was Jacob’s youth pastor when he was a teenager. He and his wife worked with us, which was incredible. They had us look up and respond to marriage-related scripture. They shared their stories and asked us tons of questions — really challenging, intense questions.
We knew this but they took us way deeper: the reason marriage is so important is because it’s very much a picture of Christ in the Church and that relationship. When marriage is in a broken place, it can be very damaging to a culture when people see Christians not cohesive in marriage; that’s why it needs to be taken so seriously. It’s a covenant. They emphasized that you’re speaking your vows of covenant before God, before your family and friends. It was very sobering, in a way, to recognize the gravity and the hugeness of marriage, but then also realize that a relationship is
one day at a time. You’re not dating one minute and married the next; it’s a process.
Any particular resource that was helpful?
Probably the best book that we read in our preparation for marriage which I want to recommend to every married couple, is a book called Love and Respect. It’s about how the husband needs respect and the wife needs love and if you stop showing that to each other it kind of makes you spin in this crazy cycle. It teaches about showing unconditional love and unconditional respect, even sometimes when that spouse is not entirely showing you what you want out of the relationship. It emphasizes the grace of God and how we need God to live in marriage the right way. We need His strength and His power and His grace in our lives to love that other person sacrificially and so that really helped my perspective. To every married person listening, go get Love and Respect. It’s awesome.
I think marriage is beautiful, wonderful and a fascinating thing.
I like to say that marriage is a symbolic foot washing. You guys actually washed each other’s feet.
Yes. We washed each other’s feet as symbolizing the servanthood that we want to express in our marriage every day, preferring each other above ourselves.The other element — and probably the most powerful — was that we exchanged purity rings. We did that close to the beginning of the ceremony representing that we had saved ourselves for each other.
Wow. This day was a fulfillment of what you both had hoped and prayed for.
Very much. I think both of us at certain points in our lives felt that it may not happen — that we may never find somebody that met those ideals — which meant that neither of us would marry. We would not settle for less.
When we found each other and realized there was this soul connection with very similar family backgrounds and ways of viewing the world, it was like:
Is this real? (laughs) It is such a dream come true; we’re feeling very blessed. We would really appreciate people’s prayers as we grow in marriage.