Let me tell you a little about Yvethe and I, and how we met!
It's funny but we had served side-by-side in the same ministry for about one year, all without "noticing" each other. Then, all it took was a 20-minute conversation to feel drawn to each other and her birthday party a few days later to convince me to get to know her. After meeting her friends and family at her birthday party (I didn't even speak with Yvethe!), I was convinced that I wanted to get to know her more. At one point, we were on the beach and her friends thought it would be a good idea for everyone to say something about Yvethe. I was really impressed with what I heard! In fact, I even told her a few days later that she was the "one and only" woman I wanted to get to know. We spoke every day and never imagined anything like this would happen! We laughed about how we felt like we were 14 again! She is absolutely perfect for me and for the first time in my life I am truly in love! God made everything new and exciting for the both of us and we couldn't be happier.
The funny part is this: We were technically "just friends" until November 24th, 2005 (Thanksgiving). After we got to know each other for a month, God showed the both of us independently to wait three months before "courting," even though we knew we had strong feelings for each other. Those three months were a preparation time, a time for us to really get to know each other, to pray and seek the Lord for His will and guidance, a time to "live above reproach," "avoiding every appearance of evil," (1 Th. 5:22) and not giving anyone a reason to question our relationship... We were both in leadership at church and had a lot of people looking up to us. So, for instance, during those three months we didn't have any physical interaction (not even holding hands), and we couldn't have been happier! We made "no provision for the flesh," as the Bible says, and we are glad we are definitley glad we did that! We knew we were attracted to each other but we recognized that we didn't "need" the physical at that time. We wanted to obey God and wait until we were married so we could truly enjoy the blessings God had in store for us. It only hinders and distracts from what God wants to do and the blessing He wants to pour out if you don't wait. It's like fasting from food, and when you get to finally eat, every little bit is delicious! That time came and we are both glad we waited. We couldn't be more happy and blessed!
After Thanksgiving, we started holding hands and would only "peck" kiss, but we made sure our kissing was limited to "pecking," and we never "French kissed." This is a personal conviction. I initally thought we wouldn't kiss at all, but we prayed about it and sensed this would be appropriate for us. There were also a lot of conversations we agreed not to have until the appropriate time came. She and I were careful to guard our hearts and conversations related directly to us being engaged, married, anything sexual, etc. We considered those inappropriate for us until the right time came, for we promised to each other not to awaken love until the time is right (Song of Solomon 2:7, 3:5 and 8:4).
During this time, I believe we had never been closer to God and we were growing closer to Him like never before. It was even during a unique time where God called me out of the routine of my life to specifically "seek His face," that she came into my life. Yvethe and I prayed every morning and every night right before we went to bed (on the phone). During the first three months of our "courtship" we also avoided spending time alone together (there were always family or friends around). We also had what is called "accountability partners" which we had chosen to be accountable to. This means we were completely open about our relationship to them and they could ask us anything, making sure we were keeping our convictions and offering Godly advice. They were also so close (they lived with us), that we couldn't hide anything from them. I had a wonderful Christian roommate for this, but also a pastor I met with every week. We were surrounded by advisers (Proverbs 11:14, 15:22, 24:6) from the very beginning. She had her best friend (who led her to the Lord) and also her Christian Aunt who was staying with her. God even used Yvethe and I together on a regular basis to minister to individuals and couples He brought into our life, which continues to this day. He has shown us tremendous favor with Him and others. Proverbs 18:22 says, "He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord." The word for "finds" does not mean we should be looking for a wife, it can be better translated "find himself with." I believe this also applies to both the man and the woman, and it doesn't mean we had to be married to enjoy His favor. God knew we were going to get married and I never had this same kind of favor before. People were approaching us like never before, and not just because we were both so happy and outgoing. Guys were coming up to me regularly asking for advice, counsel or prayer. Yvethe and I even took Biblical counseling together to be more effective, and we both know God is calling us to continue to do this together. I'm also amazed at how many people were approaching us, inquiring about our relationship, and expressing how they feel, which was overwhelmingly positive! For example, we had dinner with four of our friends and I briefly went to speak to someone at another table. While I was away, our waitress Angie came over to Yvethe and asked her if I was her husband. She replied "no" (I wasn't at the time) and Yvethe asked why she thought so. The waitress said, "Well, I noticed the way you look at each other and I want a husband to look at me the same way he looks at you." We have kept in touch with Angie and she has found a lot of inspiration from our relationship, even telling others our testimony and directing them to this website. A few days later, one of Yvethe's friends said the same exact thing to her, that she wanted what we have. Yvethe's Aunt, whom she lives with, told me that she knew I was the one for Yvethe from the beginning, yet with another great Christian guy Yvethe met before me (and whom Yvethe liked a lot), she knew he wasn't the one, and Yvethe knew it independently as well. They are still friends and he's now even a friend of mine, which I think says a lot. He eventually got married to a long-time friend of his and seemed happy.
I am convinced that God guides His children in this decision, to "the one" who is best for them. It is important to hear His voice and let Him lead you, but even in spite of you, He can guide you. God has a good, perfect and pleasing will and He says, "Do not be foolish but understand what the Lord's will is." This is the most important decision you will ever make as a Christian so why wouldn't God be willing or able to lead you in this decision or reveal His will? I am convinced he can and I know He did in this case. I am also convinced this is something the enemy works hard to prevent, so we must hear from God and have His protective covering. For more information on this, go to my page on Finding a Wife/Husband.
So who is Yvethe? Yvethe is the most beautiful woman in the world to me, both inside and out! She is obviously physically attractive, but I first fell in love with her heart and personality, and I am really glad I did. Our relationship was never based on physical attraction in any way, and if something happened to her physically, I would still be in love with her. We all get older and our bodies change, but physical changes could never change the love I have for this woman. We also have kept this relationship pure and that is only by God's grace and favor (Proverbs 18:22). She is not only gorgeous but she has a "heart of gold" and is more concerned about others than herself. She is also very smart, graduating from Harvard and is now in Sr. Management at a large international company. She has traveled all over the world and is a gifted and dynamic teacher and speaker. Her most wonderful asset is her heart for God and she is truly "walking the walk" as a Christian woman, and without compromise! She has very strong convictions and I have a tremendous amount of respect for her. She is truly a "Proverbs 31" woman! I am also proud of the fact that she loves the Lord more than she loves me, and I pray and strive for that to always be the case. We believe God made us for each other and because of this I believe I could never be more loved by another woman.
Now remember the "three-month test" that God called us to have? We didn't realize this at the time but our three-month test was going to end exactly on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 24, 2005). What is more remarkable is that this day was also Yvethe's spiritual birthday (Two years of being a Christian) and I don't think that was any coincidence. When she got saved, what spoke to her the most is that she was a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) and that God has forgiven and redeemed her. Therefore it is significant to both of us that her salvation and our relationship happened to be on the same exact day (Nov. 24th). In addition, her birthday and my spiritual birthday are during this same week as well, and my birthday is a 24th as well. We first talked on a 24th (July), started the "three month test on August 24th, and on Thanksgiving (Nov. 24th), we had both of our families get together for a Thanksgiving celebration. Her father came from Venezuela and stayed until December 1st, giving him and I time to get to know each other. Yvethe's mother joined us by web cam because she got injured and couldn't travel.
Thanksgiving was absolutely wonderful! I got to know her father before that day and we even went to dinner together. We really liked each other and this meant a lot to the both of us. I told him how much I loved and respected his daughter and explained that I consider his blessing on our relationship extremely important. I promised to always respect her and treat her right. Thanksgiving came and we all met at my parents' condo in Delray Beach, Florida. My mother prepared a delicious meal and everything went great. We even got to see and speak to her mother in Venezuela and her brother in Boston on the computer by video teleconference (webcam). At dinner, Yvethe placed the following cards at each place setting:
After dinner, Yvethe and I each said a few things and exchanged a special gift we each made for each other. I gave Yvethe a list of 333 reasons why I loved her and Yvethe gave me two beautiful collages, one for each of us, detailing important dates, pictures, Scriptures, quotes, etc. Yvethe and I also exchanged special journals we had been working on. This was part of a project she came up with and here is the story behind that...
At the beginning of our friendship, we were going at different "speeds". One particular day, Yvethe expressed to me that, even though she knew where she stood as far as her feelings for me, she wanted to enjoy each new day as a gift of God to get to know each other better instead of just waiting to get to the end of the 3-month test. She said it was like unwrapping a present (each day), one wrapping at a time, and enjoying that wrapping until the next day came for us to unwrap a new day. As she tried to make me understand how that felt "hands on", she came up with a project for the two of us to work together on… We started this project September 24th and we wrapped an envelope for each day until November 24th. Each wrapping contained a piece of paper which had three things: A question we would like to ask the other person, a Scripture, and something significant we wanted to share with the other person (typically our own answer to the question). Each day we would unwrap a day and journal our answers in a special journal, and this was a great way for us to share our thoughts and views, and learn about each other for the last two months. The final envelope was empty because our present was to be revealed when we presented it to the other person on Thanksgiving and shared the present which God has placed in it (at least for me).
God gave me a specific present which no one knew about except my main accountability partner, and that was "the holy kiss." I told Yvethe in the very beginning of our friendship that I did not want to kiss at all until I was married and she was fine with that. During the project, through a number of confirmations, I sensed God tell me that He wanted to give us a gift as well and that it was "the holy kiss." He showed me five times in the Bible where it says to greet one another with a "holy kiss" and I sensed Him tell me we could have this blessing (which it TRULY was!!!), but only if we kept it pure and "without a hint of sexual immorality." So the initial idea was that the envelope would be empty because the present would be telling each other what God showed us about being together, but I put a note in the envelope explaining "the holy kiss" and later, with our families and her mother watching on the webcam, we shared our first kiss. After dinner, we each spoke, exchanged special gifts to each other, and exchanged the journals. I also presented her with a "purity ring" and vowed before our families to keep our relationship sexually pure until we are married. I explained this to everyone and put the ring on her wedding finger (the right hand one as it is the "Venezuelan way"). This ring has engraved on the inside the words "I will wait for" and on the outside "my beloved", which was the name for the male in Song of Solomon. Lastly we asked for our parents blessing and to pray for us, and Yvethe's father, followed by my father, prayed over the both of us. The last thing was the kiss and it is inexpressible how wonderful it felt to finally kiss this woman! I would encourage anyone single to try to wait like we did, it was definitely worth it! So this is how we began our "courtship."
Now let me explain what we mean by "courtship." The word "courtship" comes from an Elizabethan era in which the ladies of the court were wooed and won by knights and lords of the court through the process of frequent visitation, attention, gifts and compliments. A man generally asked a woman’s father for permission to court his daughter, which implied that the man seriously and openly desired to pursue the possibility of marriage. In saying yes to a courtship proposal, the father was granting the man permission to visit his daughter, give her gifts, accompany her formally to social events, etc. The two young people were rarely left alone, but perhaps were allowed to sit on the porch swing and talk, take walks together in the neighborhood, and perhaps even go on chaperoned buggy rides. I asked Yvethe's father's and mother's permission to court their daughter, and even though I had been spending time with her already, having their blessing was extremely important to us.
We are enjoying each and every day of our marriage together now and we have never been more in love! I thank God constantly for her and still can't believe all that happened to lead up to my being with her. My friends are all laughing because they know everything I have gone through, and they couldn't be happier for me. One of my best friends said, "Wow, you really hit the jackpot!!!" All I can say is that it was a miracle and I couldn't be more blessed! Thank you Jesus!!!
© Todd Tyszka
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