I love reading/hearing stories of how people met each other and fell in love. I enjoy reading birth stories. My favourite kind of books are biographies or autobiographies. I just really enjoy reading about how other people deal with what comes their way in life. I don’t think anyone has a boring life.
So I thought you might indulge me and let me share the story of how my husband and I met, fell in love and were married in the space of three months.
I actually want to take you back to the first time I was engaged years before. I was just out of high school and worked for a summer at a home for girls to get their lives straightened out. I lived with the girls but mostly did secretarial work in the office. Anyway, to make a long story short, I ended up falling in love with one of the director’s sons. Shortly after we were engaged, but it was to be a long-distance, long-term engagement. Five years to be exact.
I spent my summers with his family and my winters writing letters and making phone calls. Then shortly before the wedding – dress ready, invitations printed, etc. He broke the engagement. Unknown to me, he had another girlfriend. Now I can look back and be so thankful, but then I was devastated. It took me a long time to recover from the trauma.
Once I did recover I struggled with being single. I wanted so badly to be married and to have children. I cried and prayed and cried and begged God to just give me this one thing – a husband.
The summer of ’96 I met a girl at a camp where we were both counselling. She was in the same boat. She wanted a husband. Oh how we talked and talked and talked. I think we watched the girls under our care, but I mostly remember the friendship we enjoyed. There was also another counsellor talking to her as well. A married lady – playing matchmaker. By that winter she was engaged. I went to her wedding in June. I will never forget – As she left the wedding, she looked at me and said, “God did it for me. He can do it for you.” In the midst of all her joy, she took a minute to encourage me.
The winter and spring of ’97 I had finally started to come to peace with waiting on God’s timing. I was experiencing the truth of Philippians 4:6-7 – 6 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” I didn’t know when, but I believed that sometime God would grant me this desire.
In June of ’97 I went down to Georgia with my youngest sister to visit friends. One night Mom called us. She and my dad had visited Toronto Baptist Church to encourage the pastor and his wife. This is how the conversation went:
Mom: Jen, you’ll never guess who asked about you tonight.
Me: No, I won’t. Who? (Who’s asking about me? No one ever asks about me.)
Mom: Hugo Schonhaar
Mom: Remember that guy who came to see Dad a few years ago? He’s really tall and wore a buckskin jacket with long fringe.
Me: I guess I remember him. What did he want?
Mom: He asked where the piano player was?
I can’t explain this, but after this conversation with my mom I had a peace that this was who I was going to marry. I knew very little about Hugo, but I just had a peace. I just wanted to get home so we could go over to Toronto Baptist Church so I could meet this guy in person.
When we arrived home, my dad started setting up a meeting with the pastor of Toronto Baptist Church for the two churches to get together. It wasn’t going to happen though for about a month. My sister and I were impatient though and asked why we had to wait – why not just go over there on a Thursday night like Mom and Dad had originally? So that’s what we did – July 20th.
After the service Hugo came right over and started talking to me. He eagerly accepted an invitation to go out for a bite to eat with our family. He made arrangements for leaving his bike at the church and picking it up later. I was getting more and more excited but trying hard not to. This was the first guy since my broken engagement who had shown an interest in me. There had been guys my parents had thought might be suitable but no one had been interested.
About ten days later Hugo came to our home for supper. He rode his bicycle across the city. He brought flowers and chocolates for me. After supper we decided to go for a walk in a nearby park. Afterwards we sat on our front porch and talked and talked and talked. It was getting late. I can’t remember exactly, but I’m sure it was after ten. I was thinking to myself, “I’m going to go in and tell Mom and Joy that Hugo and I have talked about everything, and he has done everything except propose!” The very next minute he covered that even. He asked me to marry him, and as they say the rest is history.
Three months later we were married and ten months later we had our first baby. Sixteen and a half years later we have eight children. My husband has been a pastor for fifteen years at Toronto Baptist Church. We’ve taken a mission trip to Venezuela. We’re on our fifth van – we’ve had to keep getting bigger ones as our family expanded. We’ve had our ups and downs like everyone, but we have never regretted our decision to marry.
I remember a couple of days after we were engaged I thought, “What have I done? I’ve agreed to marry a man I hardly know!!” Immediately the verse came to my mind – “Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.” Ruth 3:18 This verse is in direct context of Ruth finding a man to marry her. The Lord used this verse to confirm to me that I had made the right decision.
I couldn’t imagine my life without Hugo. I’ve often said he’s not a perfect husband, but he’s the perfect husband for me. He was worth waiting for. We enjoy spending time together, and it’s easier now that our older children can look after the younger ones. We go out for a date every week and often take a walk at night after supper. He often brings home flowers for me and sends me love notes in the mail. We are each other’s best friend and look forward to spending the rest of our lives together.
I would love to hear your love story. How long have you been married? What is your greatest joy in marriage.