I don’t remember the exact first time I told Karen I loved her.

I do remember the first time I kissed her. It didn’t go as I’d hoped. We both attended a Bible College where the most physical contact allowed was hand holding. Yes, the college’s dating standards were taken from the 1920s. Yes, my kids will attend the same college…

We had visited her parent’s house for the weekend. They lived about an hour and a half from the campus. Around 9:15 pm I put our bags in the car and joined Karen in the family room to say good-bye to her parents. They were already in their night close and comfortably settled in their matching lazy boys. We had to be back on campus before curfew – 11. So if we didn’t want to lose honor points, yep, honor points, we really needed to get going. As we walked out the door, I made an impromptu decision. It was time I kissed my girl.

As we strolled to the car I quickly developed a plan. I would start to get her door and instead turn her toward me, gently press her to the car, and lean in. We would kiss. It would be sweet, magical, beautiful, tender, affectionate, all the things first kisses are meant to be when the prince gets his princess.

Everything went exactly as I pictured it. Before opening her door I gently but firmly turned her toward me. She leaned back against the car and I leaned in. I kissed her.

I don’t know if you have ever thought about it, I hadn’t at the time, but kissing is a two-person game. What I mean by that is, the first time I kissed Karen was not the first time she kissed me.

It’s not that she turned away, but she didn’t even pretend to participate. As soon as I realized she wasn’t returning the favor, I became a bumbling idiot. I jerkily stepped back, all my suave confidence sabotaged. Before I could even mumble an apology she had opened her car door, seated herself, and closed the door.

I stumbled around the car, shattered. We pulled out of the driveway and down the road. For a few minutes, the car was like a tomb and I was trying to hide the fact that I was hyperventilating. Then Karen, looking straight ahead, said kindly but seriously, “My dad was on the front porch.”

A year later…

I leaned in close to my beautiful Karen. Her back was resting against the railing that separated us from the waterfall. This was the girl I would spend the rest of my life with and I knew it.

Earlier, we had walked through the small NY town of Rush. We had held hands and laughed. We had dreamed together and eaten chocolate. Now we were hidden from the whole world beneath the fir trees, our very own secret hideaway. And we kissed. It was sweet, magical, beautiful, tender, affectionate, all the things a good kiss should be. And at that moment, I knew Love like I never had before…

Karen has introduced me to love like no other. Together we have discovered God’s love in our family…

Karen and I are celebrating 16 years today! We have three beautiful kids and a family that is daily growing sure in our Fathers love.

Thank you, Karen, for loving me and living this adventure with me. You amaze me!

Happy anniversary!

Love you,

Love me…


Jason Clark
is a writer, speaker and lead communicator at A Family Story Ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children.

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