“He very respectfully sat down with me for about 10 minutes. There were no heavenly angels or bells or soft lighting in any way. It wasn’t flirty. We were just talking, and we realized we had similar backgrounds and friends that we didn’t even know about. He looked me in the eye the whole time, and I thought that was rare. It really impressed me.”

And as they say in "Casablanca," it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. “Neither of us were ready to jump headlong into love, but God really just wove it together in the most intriguing way. And I just giggle about it now. I journaled from the first day I met him and haven’t stopped since. People say that life is a story, and I’m just grateful for the pages that we’ve had thus far, and I look forward to lots more.”

So now that they’re about to celebrate their first anniversary, what’s been the most surprising insight she’s learned from being a newlywed?

“My dad said something when he married us during the ceremony that has stuck with me in a lot of ways,” Joy says. “He said, ‘Love each other as you need and not as you deserve.’ It takes away the love based on performance which is so easy to get wrapped up in. When I first got married I was like, ‘Ok, I’m going to keep the house clean, cook every day, beds are going to be made, I’m going to look great all the time.’ Then nine months go by, and the dishes pile up, but we do them together. The socks are in the middle of the hallway, but yet we’ve talked for two hours. I’d rather have life be sticky and adventurous than plastic and shallow.”

© 2005 CCM Magazine.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.  Click here to subscribe.