I don’t hold hands. I don’t kiss in public. And don’t call me honey.”

Shawn’s relationship rules. We were just on the brink of dating after six years of being best friends. I knew he was an amazing man who was worth the wait, and I already loved him, but I wasn’t always entirely sure I could stand him.

We were on a July float trip when my boyfriend decided to let me die in the raging current of the Salt River.

Well, that’s the way I remember it at least.

My arms flailing to catch nearby logs and sticks, I watched his backside go up the hill to lunch while I loudly vowed to kill him if I didn’t drown to death.

This intrigued a few friends enough to grab some sticks and run downstream to help get me out.

“I told you not to jump off the raft,” Shawn said and handed me a sandwich under my glare.

I didn’t kill him but I did marry him, and I think he considers that the same thing.

He’s not really the nurturing type, but he has greatly improved over the years. I have no doubt my husband would jump in that river to save my life now. We have two kids, and no one else in the house knows where anything is. I have his Social Security number memorized, and he can’t do online banking to save his soul.

The boy is mine.

Although there is another who has held his heart over the years: his wallet. His wallet decides whether or not date night will be surf n’ turf or sample day at Sam’s.

The buffet was where he held his hand over his heart to take the “all you can eat” cheapskate vow.

The same man who at our wedding responded to our preacher’s “repeat after me” with “ditto” was now, with tears in his eyes, promising to cherish every cent he paid for dinner “until dessert do us part.”

Our first date was a romantic trip to Taco Bell; he boasted the sky as our limit as long as it didn’t exceed $14.50.

We were best friends long before we dated, and it worked because Shawn flat-out wanted nothing to do with love. In fact, he kind of sucked at relationships all together.

“I don’t believe in love,” he told me while we were working one night.

“Well, don’t you love your mom?” I asked.

“That’s different. I don’t believe in romantic love,” he said, topping a hot beef plate with brown gravy. “Because the people who experience it don’t seem to stick with it, and if they do then most of them seem miserable.”

That was 1997 and it didn’t really matter to me what Shawn Duncan thought about love.

So I took the hot plate out to my customer and got a root beer refill, with no idea that my future husband had just told me that he could never love someone.

God has always worked miracles in our relationship though, but a lot of that came with great patience (on both our parts). I never dreamed anything was under the surface of that friendship when I met him, but looking back, God used the most mundane moments to strengthen us.

Let me tell you, friends. Sometimes God is working when you have no idea it’s happening — and you might not know for years to come.

So, don’t think today is meaningless, and don’t think God isn’t present right now. He will make Himself and His plan known, it just might take some time.

From the boy who almost let me drown to the amazing husband and man of God he’s become, I can’t believe what God has done.

And as for his relationship rules, I have long broken all but one.

I have called him a variety of names, and none of them have been “honey.”

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