Jebbie – Part 2

If you landed here somehow without reading Part 1, please go back and read Part 1.

Eight years. Eight years of my commitment-phobic indecision.

Debbie_Jeff2After Breakup #1, I realized I didn’t really know much about Jeff so I spent the next few months talking to him – or to be more precise, AOL Instant Messaging. In November I casually announced to my roommate “I think I love Jeff Chun.” Next thing I know my roommate and I were driving to University of Illinois on a Saturday morning to have lunch with Jeff so I could ask him out. After a few hours of working up the nerve, I finally confessed I liked him, he agreed he still liked me, and we were back together.
Then Kristin (roommate) and I got back in the car and drove back to Valpo. About 10 minutes into our drive I said, “I think I made a mistake.” Kristin spent too many hours with Jeff’s not-so-fun roommate waiting for me to talk to Jeff to let me give up this early. “Date him through Christmas break and if you’re still not sure, then breakup with him.” Ok I can do that.

Christmas break came and went and Jeff and I were Ross and Rachel Breakstill together. We dated for two years through college with a few breakups or on-a-breaks. According to Jeff, no more than five and no less than three… I have no recollection of these. Who can blame me? This was the time of Ross and Rachel’s on-a-break in Friends.

After two years of dating in college, I broke up with Jeff one final time for good forever, never to date again (or so I thought). We had one last year of college before the real world. Jeff and I kept in touch a little and would see each other when we were home on weekends because he went to the same church as my family. Jeff may or may not have used this time to become best friends with my brother (seven years younger than us) in order to stay in my life. I moved to Wisconsin after graduation, while Jeff stayed in Chicagoland. [Editors note: Jeff Chun and Jeff my brother (yes it’s confusing) really were and still are good friends.]

Jeff never dated anyone else, but I did date a few guys. Sometimes it was hard to continue being friends with Jeff (current boyfriends aren’t usually happy about ex-boyfriends). One DSCN0694day I told Jeff I couldn’t be friends with him anymore. Little did I know that a few days earlier, Jeff felt like God told him that he should always care about me. Wow!

Finally a day came – like a lightbulb moment – when I casually announced to my roommates “If I’m going to marry anyone, it’s going to be Jeff Chun.” “Yay! I’ve been rooting for him all along!!” they rejoiced. I didn’t even know what they meant “rooting” for him because he had never been an option that they had known. But as soon as those words left my mouth I began to see the man Jeff had become in the last three years of not dating each other. He really was the one!

I promptly drove back home that weekend to talk to Jeff. Conveniently he was at my parents’ house hanging out with my brother. The three of us played yard games, Jeff and I flirting a little. I wondered if he could possibly like me again after all the times I broke his heart. I don’t remember much about our conversation except I was ready to get married and Jeff was going to make me wait.

At my coffee shop: Copper Rock!

At my coffee shop: Copper Rock!

We dated long distance until I realized Jeff wasn’t going to leave his real grown-up job and move to Wisconsin where I worked part-time at a coffee shop and hung out with high schoolers. I sent three resumes, got an interview and got hired. It was a whirlwind. Clearly God was directing this move. Next thing I knew I was moving back home, literally home, with my parents and my brother who was still in high school. About 10 months, 2 weeks, and 3 days later Jeff finally proposed (but who was counting?) and another eight months and we were married.

God had his hand on us the entire time. Of course I could share more stories from those years, but I think this overview is long enough. Thanks for reading friends!

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Jeff + Debbie = Jebbie

Since we just celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary, I thought I’d share our story. Evenme hovering in the doorway though most of you reading this are family and probably already know. Just in case there’s a visitor …

Jeff and I went to high school together but we weren’t quite “high school sweethearts.” In fact the only reason we really met was because I went to prom with Jeff’s best friend. After we graduated, our groups of friends merged and I began to get to know Jeff.

He was wild. Not like party-animal-wild. More like too much energy to keep inside. He was known for being like a ninja and upheld that reputation proudly.

Since there's no picture from that pool party, this will have to suffice ;)

Since there’s no picture from that pool party, this will have to suffice 😉

It wasn’t until a year later that I really noticed Jeff. I walked into a friend’s pool party, did a double take at the guy in the pool, and asked “Who’s that?” My friend responded “that’s Jeff Chun” (like duh can’t you tell?) Jeff had a new trendy haircut (no more bowl cut parted down the middle) and traded his glasses for contacts. Hello Jeff!

Ironically, it was that same party when Jeff first noticed me. I was wearing a red bikini. Needless to say, our relationship was built on important factors.

 

My goal for that summer of 2000 was to get Jeff to like me. We started officially dating just a week before we went back to college – different colleges, 3 hours away from each other. After dating Jeff for about two weeks (accomplishing my summer goal), I went to visit him at U of I and then broke up with him.

Then Jeff declared his love for me.

Thus setting the tone for the next eight years of our off and on. Yep, eight years. That wasn’t a typo. But it seems this post is long enough for now… Now Read Part 2.

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Still Fits

Six years ago I woke up in the morning and said to myself “I’m going to enjoy every moment of today.” This morning I woke up to Jack crying and I thought to myself “Where is Jeff and why isn’t he getting Jack?!” Oh how times have changed.

(For the record, Jeff was out running, not neglecting Jack).

We didn’t have any big celebration plans for our anniversary but we did go to dinner last night. I posted on Facebook “We honeymooned in Australia so Outback Steakhouse is as close as we can get.” Which spurred on some others to share what they’ve got in relation to their honeymoon:

Honeymoon in Miami = song by Will Smith (Welcome to Miami Buenvenidos a Miami)

Honeymoon in Costa Rica = street-ceviche and dysentery

I have funny friends!

So while I was getting dressed for our dinner last night, a great idea came to mind. My wedding dress has just been hanging in Jack’s closet for six years. I wonder if it still fits…

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Technically, Jeff zipped the dress and he said “if I had another hand I think I could get it.” But Jeff isn’t a dress-zipper expert. So clearly if someone else had been there, like my sister who agreed with my theory via text message, they would have gotten the zipper up completely. Therefore, my wedding dress still fits me.

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If certain people had been more in the mood for dress-up play time, I would’ve put Jack’s tuxedo on him. And then made Jeff take pictures with his real camera instead of my iPhone.

Six years. The dress still fits. And the husband still fits. He always will. God has really blessed me by giving me Jeff. I can’t imagine anyone I’d rather live life with. Thanks for a wonderful six years, Jeff! I look forward to many more adventures ahead.

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Advice For The Bride-To-Be

Today we honored my sister-in-law at a bridal shower with family and friends as she prepares for her wedding in one month! The following is a speech I gave of my advice to her, and to any soon-to-be (or already) married woman.

We spend so much time focusing on the wedding day, that now we would like to take a few moments to help you prepare for a lifetime of marriage. Since I have been married for 5 years, I’m pretty much an expert and qualified to speak next.

“How to survive being married to a Chun” Oh wait, that’s my speech for Tom! Just kidding.

Stephanie I do have three pieces of advice for you as you begin your married life with Tom. In the Bible in Matthew 19 Jesus says “At the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh.” (Matt 19:4-6)

1. My first piece of advice is do everything together. There are enough things in your daily life that will pull you away from each other. You will spend at least 8 hours at work away from each other every day. Make a conscious effort to spend your time with Tom. This may mean taking an interest in things he likes, such as video games and cars. But eventually you will see him take an interest in things you like to do as well.

When Jeff and I were first married, we had already dated on and off for 8 years, so I thought I knew all there was to know about him. One day he started to tell me about mixed martial arts where you combine boxing and martial arts moves. He said there was a reality tv show called The Ultimate Fighter where guys compete to get a contract to fight professionally. As uninterested in this as I was, I decided I’d watch it with him anyway. We were just married and I was trying to spend time with him. Well it didn’t take long before the reality show aspect sucked me in. Soon I found myself understanding the sport, picking my favorite fighters, and telling Jeff when the next fight was that we needed to watch. His interest became my interest.

Doing things together for us has also meant traveling to incredible places. I would be content to sit on a beach in Florida but because Jeff wanted to, we’ve climbed Africa’s tallest mountain, kayaked in Thailand, and crawled through caves in Kentucky. I’m still requesting a vacation that does not require me training for, but I’m hoping that will come soon.

Jeff has also taken an interest in things I like. He is more of a loner, but I’d rather spend time with people. He once told me I was only allowed to have one party per year. Haha! I said “ok” and just stopped calling them “parties” and started saying we were having some friends over. Just last month for Jack’s first birthday party Jeff said, “Well if we’re going to have a party, it should be the best party ever!” He’s coming around.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7)

2. My second point is Pray don’t Nag. Wives seem to have a reputation for nagging their husbands: do this, don’t do that, change your attitude, change your clothes, etc. While it’s fine to kindly remind Tom to take the garbage out, when you want to see real lasting change in his life, it is crucial to pray. It may be hard to believe, but there will be times you are frustrated and angry with Tom. Instead of complaining or arguing or trying to convince him of your way, pray. By praying you are acknowledging that God is in control. He is the One who has the power to change Tom’s heart. But God also has the power to change your heart.

As you pray and ask God to change Tom, you may find you are the one changing. You will become more patient, kind, and forgiving of Tom as you realize that God has been patient, kind, and forgiving of you, just like He is with all of us.

Praying for Tom when you are upset is a great way to avoid some arguments. But it is also a great gift you can give him to pray for Tom everyday – pray about his work, his friends, his attitude, his faith, his marriage. This book, The Power of a Praying Wife is a great tool in giving you Bible verses and example prayers on a variety of topics to pray for Tom.

“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Matt 19:6)

3. In the world today you hear a lot about divorce. Billboards advertise divorce lawyers, TV & movies show divorced families like it’s no big deal, and the divorce rate is around 50%. But in your family and in Tom’s family marriage is honored. You and Tom are blessed with grandparents, aunts & uncles, siblings, and parents who are leaving a legacy of marriage. I made this frame with their names to remind you that you are not alone.

20130721-212955.jpgWhen hard times come, may this serve as a testimony of the commitment you have witnessed in your families. There will be challenges in your life together. Arguments you don’t know how to resolve, conflict you think won’t go away, disagreements you want to win. There may be sorrow. There may be hardships. But there will be joy. May this frame serve to remind you that you “are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders [every thought that says you might be better with someone else – set that aside] and the sin that so easily entangles. And run with perseverance this race [of marriage] marked out for you, fixing your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2) And may you continue to pass on the legacy of marriage to future generations.

Finally, Stephanie, may you remember that “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Cor. 13:4-8)

Marriage: Take 2

If you read my blog yesterday, thank you! Whenever anyone makes a comment I’m both surprised and humbled that you would take time to read what I’ve written. I count it a privilege.

Unfortunately I don’t think many people are undecided about the issue of marriage. Although I’m sure some of us could go back and forth debating a variety of points on same-sex and traditional marriage, I don’t think we would change each other’s opinions.

Advocates of same-sex marriage are very vocal. You hear about it on news outlets, tv shows, movies, and yesterday on Facebook which compelled me to write advocating traditional marriage. Some of you were compelled to comment in disagreement with me. I understand and I respect that. Some issues we won’t all agree on and I think this is one.

For those of you interested, much of my information has come over the last few years from Why Marriage Matters by Glenn T. Stanton and The Case For Marriage by Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher. I also heard clips of yesterday’s oral arguments which you can read or listen to online.

(I hate when people interrupt each other. But something in me loves how the Supreme Court justices can interrupt the lawyers and the lawyers have to stop talking and respectfully listen and address the justices. It is quite entertaining to read or listen!)

This blog is mostly a place where I talk about faith or random funny day-to-day stories. Thank you for reading my view of the marriage debate. Now I think it’s time to get back to matters of faith.

Thanks for reading, Friends!

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Marriage: One Man + One Woman

My Facebook newsfeed is full of people changing their profile photos to a red equal sign and it makes me sad. These are my friends, my generation, embracing cultural and political correctness. Today and tomorrow the US Supreme Court is hearing debates on “marriage equality” – same-sex marriage – and the red equal sign is people showing their support. You won’t see me supporting same-sex marriage and here’s why:

1. Same-sex marriage isn’t about equality. Equality means being equal in status, rights, and opportunities. Everyone has the opportunity to get married, as long as you marry someone of the opposite gender. Because that’s what marriage is: a man and a woman.

2. Marriage is a man and a woman because both are needed for the procreation of children. Our society would cease to exist without this. Further, marriage is the best environment to raise children. A vast amount of research has shown children need a mother and father. I’ve heard Glenn Stanton describe the difference between moms and dads like this:

Go to any playground and close your eyes. You will hear dads saying “Climb higher! Run faster! Jump farther!” And you will hear moms saying “Slow down. Be careful. Watch your step!” Both are necessary. Children need the encouragement to expand their abilities and the caution as they do it.

3. Same-sex marriage is new. It was first accepted in the Netherlands in 2000. As the Supreme Court said today, “it’s newer than cell phones and the Internet.” We have thousands of years of evidence of success for “traditional” marriage. We have no long-term research on same-sex marriage. We don’t know how it affects children, society, or even the people in the relationship.

4. The same-sex marriage debate is not the same as racism. I’m surprised there isn’t an uproar from minorities about this comparison. You cannot choose the color of your skin. You can choose your sexual preference. Many people have chosen to live as homosexuals and then left that lifestyle and lived heterosexually. You can choose. You cannot choose to be black or white or Asian. You can choose who you love. The two should not be compared.

I’ve been hesitating to say anything on this topic today because many people who have opposed same-sex marriage have become the target of hateful speech and vandalism and more. I don’t hate gay people. I’m just stating that you can’t redefine marriage to make it what you want. I spent five years working for an organization where I learned tons of research about the benefits of marriage. You can’t redefine marriage and expect the same benefits.

Instead of being fearful of negative feedback, I’m voicing my opinion. Too many people are choosing to be silent. Maybe you didn’t think about the points I’ve made. Maybe you only hear “traditional” marriage and think its a position stuck in the past. (Maybe we just need a cooler name for “traditional” marriage.) Everyone is entitled to their opinion – that’s a freedom and right we enjoy in America. But the benefits of marriage exist because marriage is between a man and a woman. I hope the Supreme Court comes to the same conclusion.

If you want to support traditional marriage, join me in changing your profile picture to a wedding photo.

If you want to oppose me, write your own blog.

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Marriage Is More

On Friday Jeff and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. I posted a picture and status about it on facebook and was amazed at all the comments and “likes.” Normally only my good Jack photos get that many likes!

0372I wrote: “Five years ago Jeff and I smiled all day as we said “I do.” Through these five years we’ve seen God’s faithfulness on (literal) mountain tops and valleys. What a journey with a wonderful husband!

I think so many people liked and commented because everyone wants a good story and a happy ending.  It’s the fairy tale everyone dreams about when they are little. And everyone can relate to the ups and downs.

For me, marriage is better than I imagined.  Of course there are ups and downs, as there are in any marriage. But the downs are less burdensome when you have someone else to help you. And the ups are even better with someone to rejoice alongside you.

Some people these days say marriage is dead, or marriage is just a piece of paper.  But it’s so much more. No other union, or non-union, has the same benefits of marriage. Married people are happier, healthier, and better-off financially (read the book – it’ll tell you a lot of research stuff).

It makes sense that worldly research would support what God’s word says. “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up” Ecclesiastes 4:9.

If you “liked” or commented on my facebook post, thank you. It certainly helps to have a community of support and examples of faithful marriages.

If you’re married and going through a valley, stick with it.  There’s a mountain top ahead. And if you’re on the mountain top, stay strong. Use that strength for the valleys that may come.  No matter what comes, two are better than one.

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