The very first time I saw Dave he was walking through a parking lot in workout clothes heading straight towards me as I sat behind a desk at LA Boxing. As I watched him my heart started to pitter patter and my mind got all fuzzy. I remember thinking how gorgeous he was, and for the 1st time I actually got nervous about talking to a guy. That was my 1st sign. Being me, I could talk to any guy; in fact I was the Queen of flirting and could flirt with any guy at the drop of a hat. The fact that I couldn't think of one thing to say to this gorgeous boy walking up to my gym was terrifying. I had been hit on multiple times at that gym before I met Dave and I had brushed every guy off like it was nothing. I didn't really care what any of the guys thought of me until that moment. As Dave opened the door and walked into the gym I couldn't speak. He walked right up to the desk and smiled his beautiful smile and said, "Hi! I'm Dave." All I could muster was, "Hi." Then I grabbed his key card, swiped him in and pretended to have something else to do. The fact that was I so infatuated with him from the moment I saw him, was my very first sign.
Throughout the months that followed we flirted back and forth, but the one thing that kept getting me was that this boy could get me to lose my train of though in the middle of a sentence because I was to busy starring in his eyes. I would forget what I was saying, not respond when he had asked me a question, and had to be brought back to reality on multiple occasions. No man had ever done that to me; EVER.
1. He left me Speechless
As Dave and I dated over the next year, I grew to love this man who would give anything for me. I knew that Dave would give his life for me at any moment if asked. It was a feeling of pure, unconditional love that I had never felt before. It took him forever to tell me he loved me, but when he did; I felt it. When I say that I felt it, I mean when he said the words, "Jilli, I love you." My entire body got warm, and my thoughts got fuzzy, and my heart filled with such peace and sense of security that I can't describe it any better than that.
2. I felt Secure
After Dave and I got engaged and I was planning my wedding, there were moments where I would get so frazzeled. Like any bride, I would get stressed out about the details. I remember one moment when we were sitting at his house and I broke down and started to cry because I was so overwhelmed by doing everything that had to be done. I felt like I was all alone. I hadn't wanted to bother him with details of our wedding because I knew how busy he was with school, but when I broke down and started to cry I told him everything that I was feeling. I was so worried that he would get mad because of how I had been treated by men in the past. I will never forget how he responded. He hugged me until I stopped crying and then said, "We will do whatever we have to do to make it work. We're a team now and you don't have to do this alone. Tell me what I can to do to make this easier for you."
3. We were a Team
As our wedding day came and I showed up to marry him, I will never forget stepping out of my car and he offered his hand to help me out. I was so shocked because I didn't know he was there. I got the biggest smile on my face (like I always did when I saw him) and he said, "Hey my girl, are you ready to become my wife and make me the luckiest man in the world?" I knew he meant it when he said that.
4. He Treasured me
A month after we were married I became deathly ill. I ended up in the hospital for a month and half after a bad surgery. I was unable to eat, and most of the time I was to weak to walk. I will never forget feeling so terrible because Dave hadn't "signed up for this". I kept thinking that he was going to leave me because I was so sick I couldn't take care of him like he needed. For over a month Dave would wake up at 6:30, shower in the hospital, go to school until 4 while I sat in a hospital bed, come back to the hospital and do his homework, sleep on the uncomfortable couch, and then do it all over again. He spent every waking minute that he could with me. Not only that, but every single day when he got back to the hospital from school we would put his arms around my waist, help me out of bed, and basically carry me around the hospital for our walk. It would take us well over an 30 minutes to go less than 100 yards because I was so weak, and he never complained. He never whined that he had to eat hospital food. He never cried that he was so exhausted he could barely stay awake during class, and he never had a pity party that his new bride was dying in a hospital bed.
He took care of me like it was the last day we would ever spend together, and he cherished every moment he got with me. He would bathe me, wash my hair, paint my toes, do my makeup, and went home once a week to do laundry and clean the house. He did this all on his own while trying to cope with the fact that he never knew if he was going to come back to me dead. I can never repay my love for what he did for me; but like he would say; "You don't have to. I'm your husband, and I love you. You never have to pay me for loving you. It's a choice that I made and would do it again."
5. He truly meant in Sickness and in Health
To this day Dave loves me unconditionally. He puts up with my crazy behaviors, my bipolar disorder, my shopping addiction, my exaggerated stories, my lack of loving to do dishes, the times when I'm to weak to do anything, and the endless trips to the hospital that have become our daily life. He has accepted that we can't go out to dinner because I will most likely throw it up, he has gotten use to renting movies and having our "date nights" at home, he loves that a lot of the time I'm too tired to do my make up because getting showered and doing my hair takes all the energy I have, and he appreciates the fact that I still wake up every morning with him and make him breakfast. He loves the little things and cherishes each one of my flaws. He protects me when my someone tries to push me to hard, and he comforts me when I am scared. He his my cheerleader in the background whether I'm on Oprah, or sitting on my floor making jewelry. He is my biggest fan, and my greatest supporter. He loves me so fully and completely that I never thought it was possible. He accepts the fact that I'm a little crazy, cry over the cheesiest things, and the fact that I can't have children. He accepts every little thing that makes me his "Jilli Pepper". He completes me, in every sense of the word.
As we continue along this beautiful life together, I never cease to be grateful for his endless love. I never take it for granted when he walks in the door at the end of every day, and I make sure to wrap my arms around him and kiss him each night when he gets home. He fills my life with a joy that I never thought possible, and I truly can't imagine my life without him. I don't want to ever be away from him, and I count the hours each day until I get to see him again. He's my best friend that I can tell anything to, and he loves me no matter what it is. We tackle every obstacle together. He's my family, my love, my life. I can't remember anything before him, and I don't want to imagine anything without him. The fact that my heart aches without him is enough for me to know that he is all I have ever wanted. He is the greatest man I have ever known, and that fact alone makes me so thankful that God sent him to me.
6. He's Perfect for Me, and is my Best Friend
Everyone will have their love story, and this is ours. I feel as though there are very few people that ever get the true joy of experiencing the kind of unconditional love that Dave and I have, but those of you that do; cherish every minute. The one thing I have learned from almost losing my life is that I want to make every minute count. Dave and I have learned to "not sweat the small stuff". I don't know if we've ever truly been so angry at each other that we haven't wanted to see them. We have our battles just like everyone, but instead of pulling us a part, they always end up making us stronger. The plain and simple fact is, is that the way I knew that Dave was "the one" was so many little things all tied in one. It wasn't 1 thing that let me know, it was the journey that we've experienced. We both took a leap of faith, and it was the right choice for us. We make it work. He's the greatest thing that has ever happened to me, and being with him makes me a better person; and that's all I need to know.
7. He makes me a better "Me"
I hope this explains a little about how and why I knew Dave was the one for me. I hope you get the love story that you're looking for, and can be as happy as I truly am with mine. Everyone deserves to have this kind of love in their life. Everyone deserves their own "Happily Ever After."