I don’t know about y’all but I love hearing people’s stories, which is part of why I want to share your story! Whether it’s a testimony of God’s Grace in Action or stories about what marriage really looks like, I think it’s important that we be real. In a world of filters, I want people to be authentic and to find encouragement from each other in our walk. This is the final post for this series and I love that it’s newlyweds sharing things from their perspective and what happens after the vows are exchanged and the guests leave. Apparently it isn’t riding off with Prince Charming into the sunset – it’s doing life with someone you choose to love daily. In a world that promotes and admires teen pregnancies and not getting married, I want to share a message about why it matters to have Him in your relationship.
I am so excited to introduce Kate and Andrew. I met Kate for five minutes when we were in South Korea and her generosity and kindness made all the difference in my transition to living abroad. She showed me around town and took me to church where I met some amazing people. Anyways, I hope you all enjoy Kate and Andrew’s story. ❤
Upper left: dating, lower left: engaged, right: Mr. and Mrs.!
- Tell me about yourselves
Hi! We are Andrew and Kate Orton! We have been married for three months, and we live in Cary, North Carolina which is just outside of Raleigh! We love hiking, running, reading out loud on road trips, trying to cook new foods together in our tiny kitchen, and drinking lots of coffee together. Andrew likes disc golf, going on walks, any kind of dog, working at Starbucks, and he’s more of a cannon-ball-into-the-deep-end kind of guy. Kate likes inventing new recipes, trying to grow her own herbs, and she’s more of a sit-by-the-pool-with-a-book kind of girl.
2) How did you two meet?
It’s a pretty funny story of how we met, actually! Andrew was a senior in college, I was a junior. My family had just moved from Delaware to South Carolina, putting me in a tricky position as I needed a ride home for Christmas break but we went to school in the Midwest – aka, nobody was offering rides to the south and I didn’t have a car. As a last-minute resort, I hopped onto our university’s classified’s page to look for people offering rides. This nice guy from North Carolina offered to drive her as far as Winston-Salem, and the rest is history!
3)What did you do when you realized you had feelings for each other?
Initially, we had different reactions in the moment, but after realizing we liked each other, we took similar actions. First, Andrew gulped nervously. Kate realzied she like Andrew in the middle of a grocery store and freaked out and did what any normal person would do: immediately text all close friends. Pretty soon we both started praying about it and hung out a little bit, then we started introducing each other to our friends and moving towards dating.
4) Tell us your love story.
(Kate) Our love story really began before we even started dating. The year I met Andrew I was building pretty thick walls around my heart because i didn’t want to date anyone while I was in college. When I met Andrew, God immediately started using him in my life to bring those walls down. I thought Andrew was really cool and really good looking, but I never imagined we would start dating and GET MARRIED. I often characterize our love story with the story of Abraham and Issac, when God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only, promised son. Abraham says “Yes” even though it is painfully uncertain. The very week Andrew asked me out on our first date I was dwelling on this story, and throughout the rest of our dating relationship, everthing required deeper faith, a willingness to step into uncertainty. We were long distance our entire relationship: I finished college in Ohio while Andrew lived in North Carolina, then Andrew was appointed to be a missionary on Guam, and I accepted a teaching job in South Korea. We had no idea how we were going to make it, but we were willing, we said “Yes,” and God was faithful.
5) Tell us how you set boundaries when you were dating.
When we discussed and set physical boundaries, we didn’t really think too much about it to be honest. We simply decided what we would NOT do, and asked the Lord for strength to not cross lines we set with each other. Living in different countries 95% of the time definitely helps!
6) What were some lessons you learned while dating?
Early on we discovered how very different our personalities are, so instead of allowing that to become a difficulty, we made intentional efforts to try to understand each other more instead of clashing because of our differences. We still work very hard on this: asking “What can I learn from you right now?” instead of “Why do you act/think/speak in this strange way that I would never do?” This is really hard, and always a work in progress for us, but it’s worth it because being with someone who is so different from you opens up many different channels to view the world and even to go about daily life in new ways.
7) How did you know this person was “the one”?
For both of us, it was less of a slow recognition and more of an immediate realization it in a specific moment.
For Andrew: It was when Kate left for South Korea. Kate left for Korea two days after her sisters wedding, so I had spent most of the week leading up to these two huge milestones in their family with them, and that week I could definitely see myself as a part of this family.
For Kate: I took several months to tell Andrew I loved him, but the day I said those words I knew I wanted to marry him.
8) What tips do you have for the single person? The dating couple? The engaged couple? The newly married couple?
One of the best things I (Kate) ever heard about the best way to live intentionally in any season; single, dating, engaged, or married, is simply this: Further the Kingdom. Enjoy being single, because you have just as much to offer the kingdom of God as you would if you were married. Enjoy dating/being engaged, and prepare for marriage as thoroughly as you can. I (Kate) saw a counselor for the last 6 months before the wedding because I knew there were some things I wanted to work on in myself before getting married. We spent HOURS in our premarital counseling, learning as much as we could. For the newly married couple, lean into Christ and hold on to each other. Refuse to let trials from outside or struggles from inside your marriage drive you apart. Fight for unity. Preach the Gospel to yourself daily – it’s the only way you can have the courage to die to self. And further the Kingdom. Daily recognize that God has given you this other person not for your happiness, but for your sanctification, to make you more like Jesus, and to be more effective for His purposes than you would be alone.
9) How does keeping God at the center of your relationship work?
God is at the center of our relationship because we don’t have a choice. It’s a no-brainer. We absolutely HAVE to lean on him, and deeply trust that He is holding us together, or else we would fall apart.
10) How do you think godly relationships differ from what the world promotes?
We believe Christian relationships differ because of the call to daily die to self. Because we imitate Christ and his sacrifice on our behalf, when we remember what He has done for us, it makes selflesness for our spouse seem less of a weight to bear. Because we believe the Gospel, we trust that every pain and affliction we may bear throughout our life was carried to the Cross and felt by Jesus himself, we can carry on and trust His faithfulness through any circumstance. The Gospel gives a deep hope and abiding joy that can’t be found in anything else.
12) Share your favorite scripture.
Kate: Psalm 33.
Andrew: Romans 8
13) Please share anything else you think people should know.
The best thing that’s been working for us right now in a particulary hard season is to intentionally loosen up and have fun. One of the most awesome things about marriage is that now you never have to do things alone! When either of us is feeling really heavy or sad, we immediately do something fun. We go for a walk, or we go get some coffee together. It doesn’t have to be crazy, soemtimes the simpler the better. The other day we both felt so down and discouraged, so we just went to the library and walked around the city for an hour or two and it made a huge difference. Marriage is HARD, but God never meant it to be without DEEP joy! Since our first day married, we have always tried to remember that the other person is a GIFT of GRACE and we always seek to treat each other, and each day together as such.
If you’re interested in hearing more about their story, please visit Kate’s AMAZING blog at: https://lifeoffthepages.wordpress.com
As always, we hope this encourages you and lifts you up no matter where you are in life. If you’re interested in sharing your story, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment here. ❤