THREE MONTHS AGO
I was sitting on the couch when I looked over to Katie and said, “What about Charlotte?”
I had been asking a variation of this question for the past few months. “What about Austin? What about Pittsburgh? What about Nashville?”
I had no idea where to look. I didn’t even know if we were really going to do this but the topic of moving kept coming up and I was finally ready to explore the possibility. Even though at one point I never would have dreamed of moving from south Florida.
2 YEARS AGO
It was May of 2011 and I knew I wanted to marry her. And so I asked the question that we both knew was coming, “Would you consider moving down to Florida?” She had just moved from Washington DC back to her parent’s house in West Virginia. She had stayed too long in DC and she was way past due for a change. She wasn’t sure what was next but she was open to where God was leading. It turns out marrying me just months after we met online was the next step and it seemed that meant moving down to Florida.
So in October of 2011 we got married and we were both excited to start this new life together. I had just taken the job of my dreams as the Communications Director for my church. I had been in the community for almost 5 years and I was beyond excited to use my gifts on staff.
But the perfect life I had envisioned with me in the church and my wife ministering by my side never seemed to materialize. From the very beginning it just didn’t feel right for her.
It all felt like her joining my life rather than us beginning a life together. I guess a lot of that can’t be avoided when one person moves to another city where the other person is already established.
But from the beginning it felt like it was my church, my friends, my city, my parents. She didn’t have anything of her own.
Add to that some struggles with her first job when she moved down and then finding a great job but not one that she wanted to do long term, she began to feel stuck.
And being stuck translated into some serious tension in our relationship.
ONE YEAR AGO
“I’m trying to make it work but it’s just not clicking for me.”
This was a discussion we had more times than I can count. It was a discussion I hoped would just go away. I was frustrated at her. I felt like she wasn’t trying hard enough. Everything was finally perfect in my life and she was trying to ruin it by being unhappy.
I felt like she was against me. I felt like she didn’t value the things that were important to me. She felt like everything else was more important to me than she was.
So we became enemies.
Not intentionally. We didn’t even realize it happened. But we stopped thinking the best of each other. Our plans became a tug of war, neither one wanting to give in on the simplest of things.
We withheld our love from each other. We withheld joy. We withheld intimacy. All held hostage for the ransom of our own way.
Then everything started to feel miserable. I was no longer enjoying my dream job. I began to despise everything about our city, our apartment, everything. I couldn’t pretend to enjoy these things on my own. I needed her to be on my side. We needed to be on the same page.
Everything else paled in comparison to the need of unity in our marriage.
Exhausted from this tug of war, we decided we needed to call a truce. We were both giving up our plan for something new. Something completely different from what we wanted individually and we began looking for something we could desire together.
TWO MONTHS AGO
“We’ll just be a few hours away, maybe we can drive into Charlotte to visit for the weekend.”
We had plans to meet Katie’s parents for vacation in Myrtle Beach, SC. I knew that if we were going to really consider moving to a new city, we would have to visit. And so in the middle of our vacation, we drove into Charlotte.
On our way we talked and prayed and I hoped that God would write our confirmation on a billboard or send a message in the clouds. I needed Him to tell me that beyond a shadow of a doubt, this was where He was sending us.
But He didn’t do that. Instead, we spent the day in Charlotte and we fell in love. The city was absolutely beautiful, the people were friendly and we found lots of great food!
A huge factor for me was finding a good church. I’ve done the church hopping thing and it’s one of my least favorite activities of all time. But by God’s grace, I found a church months before I was even looking at Charlotte. I had been following Pastor Jonathan Martin on Twitter for awhile and listening to podcasts of his sermons for a few months. When we were planning to visit I put 2 and 2 together and realized that Renovatus Church was in Charlotte.
So on Sunday morning we visited and immediately we felt a connection. We were welcomed by everyone there. The best part of it all for me was to see Katie engaging in worship and really connecting to the preaching. We got to meet Pastor Jonathan after the service and he instantly recognized me from Twitter which was fun!
I didn’t get the audible, crystal clear confirmation I had hoped for but as I prayed I felt God say to me, “If you want to move here, I’ll be with you.” That was it.
And now I realize why. He wanted US to decide together. It had to be a decision we both wanted, not just the “right” thing to do. This was our opportunity to be united in purpose and direction.
And so for probably the first time in our marriage, we made a big decision TOGETHER. And ever since then, God’s confirmed this decision at every turn.
We’ve been able to pay off all our debt just recently. We’ve been able to build up our savings. Doors just seem to be flinging open. And it all happened AFTER we decided together.
In just 5 weeks we’ll be pulling into Charlotte with a truck full of our belongings. We don’t have family or close friends there. Not yet anyways. I don’t even have a job. And to many people, that sounds like a really bad move. And that’s okay.
Because I know that for the first time in our marriage, my wife and I are on the same page. We’re making decisions together. We’re excited and a little terrified as well.
But we know that regardless of what happens, we’re living this adventure together. No more tug of war. No more enemies. We’re united.
And what God has joined together, no man can separate!