When Neil and I started dating, I was nearing the end of my high school career – getting ready to go off to college – while Neil was in the height of his. We were both going through the same, yet totally different periods in our lives. And things were only bound to change more.
Maybe most girls wouldn’t have picked their college based on their boyfriend of only a few months but that’s exactly what I did. I had dreams of going to New York, singing on broadway, and much more. Neil planned on staying in Paducah and going to the local community college. I wanted more and he had enough. Turns out, Neil was exactly enough to keep me here.
My New York and Neil’s Paducah suddenly became our Murray State University. God was slowly but surely changing our hearts and our desires for His plan. Neil’s brother had told him that it was highly unlikely that we’d stay together even after I’d left for college but we made the decision together and didn’t think twice. When God’s hand is at work things just kind of work out and even though it wasn’t want we had originally thought we’d want, the decision made us both feel at ease.
So, in August of 2004, my parents and Neil dropped me off at MSU for my freshmen year of college. Paducah was only 53 miles away but with us both working hard in school and at our part times job, we didn’t know how often either of us would be able to make the trip. We made it work by chatting on the phone every night and by visiting whenever we could. After a month or so I quit my part time college job so that I could focus on school during the week and spend time with Neil during the weekend. We joined me in Murray for MSU events and I came home to visit him and family every other weekend. We had found a rhythm that worked well for us.
It was working so well that during our one year anniversary, Neil gave me a ring and a promise. I wore that promise ring like it was the actual engagement ring. We both took that promise serious and continued to work toward our future, together.