By JILL WAGGONER
PHOTOS BY Starla Steward and Evin Krehbiel
It happens every day, and is the way that every love story begins. However, the chain of events that follows this familiar beginning is what makes every couple distinct; it gives them their story. This tale starts with a most persistent young man and the girl of his dreams, my sister.
He knew the exact time every day. He would sprint across the parking lot, walk away from a conversation, or sneak out of class—whatever was necessary to time it just right. It was the highlight, or at least the potential highlight, of his day.
With her long, brown hair flopping atop her backpack with each step, my sister, Allison Martin, would make her way to her blue Jeep parked beside the LHS football stadium after school each day. Every afternoon, Josh Hucks would do everything humanly possible to be sure that he walked up beside her.
“Ahhh, look who’s coming,” her friends would say, feigning surprise.
His pursuit of her was unwavering and unmistakable. Although she showed him little to no interest, Josh would take every chance to be her partner in class, ride in the same car, or just have a conversation with her. Allison remembers noticing him outside a classroom window waving widely and grinning like a Cheshire cat.
He liked her, and everyone knew it.
One Friday afternoon, he whipped his car in front hers in the parking lot, rolled down his window and asked once more, “You want to do something this weekend?” She had run out of excuses and finally said “Okay.”
You would hope the story takes a turn for the better here. Nope, not yet. Their “first date” consisted of one spilled drink, two of her friends who happened” to be at the same restaurantnand lots of awkward conversation.
I remember the day we went white-water rafting on the Ocoee with Immanuel Baptist Church. Of course, Josh was trying to make plans to ride in the boat with Allison. You could see him envisioning 10 whole blissfulmmiles with her on the water. Allison turned to me and said, “You’ve got to do something.”
Being the protective older sibling that I am, I quickly gathered together our group of six passengers and said, “So, whose boat are you in, Josh?” Ruthless, I know.
Through it all, they became close. Although Josh still had feelings for her, he chose to notch back his efforts. “I was happy to be friends with her,” he said.
According to God’s providence, both Allison and Josh choose to go to Union University at the conclusion of their senior year in 2005. Not knowing many other students, they spent many hours going to Wal-mart, eating dinner, and hanging out on campus. A flame began to flicker. Josh had never given up hope, and Allison was beginning to see this good friend in a different light.
That semester ended and Allison moved back home. It was a fun summer for all of us, being in the house together again. Many of Allison’s friends would come by in the evenings to swim, eat supper, or hang out on the patio, but Josh was always there. He was always kind, always helpful. He would speak to my parents and help clean up the kitchen. My dad had shoulder surgery that summer, and I remember Josh helping him with tasks around the house while he was recovering. He won us over first.
Allison paid him more attention than before. She was glad to see him and invited him into conversations, instead of rolling her eyes at his comments. She even laughed at his jokes! If you were looking, and I was, you could see that Josh was relishing her attention. I began to have hope for Josh, as well.
As they went back to school their sophomore year, I decided to talk with Allison about Josh. It was clear to us that Josh was a man of exceptional character who loved the Lord and only had eyes for my sister. Gents like this don’t come along every day. In addition, every passing day gave Josh one more sliver of hope. The message was simple: if you like him, date him. The conversation must have been inspiring, because a week later, they started dating— not that I’m taking full credit, just partial.
Their story since then has been sweet. The ensuing years brought many new adventures and challenges. She followed him to Middle Tennessee State University after that second year of school. They began to minister together at The Bridge Fellowship where Josh leads worship. After college, Allison began teaching at Sumner Academy. Josh has become a son and a brother to us, and this August he asked her to be his bride.
As I consider the joy and journey of marriage that is before them, I desire to impart anything helpful that I might have. Our wedding was only two years ago, but these have been some of the most helpful admonitions for us.
Make it your job to be the other’s biggest fan. There can be a temptation to play a role more akin his or her biggest critic. Build a safety net of love and trust with your words.
Remember that love covers a multitude of sins. This means you don’t point out everything that annoys you or every mistake the other makes. Seek peace in your relationship. Be slow to speak.
Look for little, everyday ways to show that you love each other. Buy the cream sodas he likes at the grocery. Take out the trash because you know she hates it. The small gestures of love will carry you through life more so than the grand ones.
Most importantly, trust in Jesus. His promises are faithful and true. He’ll be a greater help to you than my words ever will.
Although this tale of pursuit has become a legend in our family, I know their story is really just beginning. However, we will celebrate this triumph appropriately June 19. Perseverance is the banner Josh will wear proudly on their wedding day, and I can’t wait to see it.