Jessica and I were both in high school (one a yellow jacket, one a gator) when a mutual friend asked us to play on an indoor soccer team. When my friend asked me to play with him, I jokingly said, “Well, if there are girls, I’ll be there!” I had no idea that later that day I would start a conversation with the girl I would eventually ask to marry. I remember saying something along the lines of, “Hey, didn’t we used to play soccer together? Like, a long time ago?”

That simple exchange lead to multiple shared sandwiches, a long-distance relationship from Louisiana to Kentucky, a bundle of hurried letters to an Air Force Base in Texas, college and now to a spring wedding. Through the past five years, we have done plenty of learning, apologizing, surprising, crying, smiling, and understanding. We are two stubborn people that have already experienced tough times together. I know I am ready for the next challenge.

I’ve been asked, “Jake, how do you know she is the one?” I know she’s the one because as long as she is with me, I can handle the next challenge. Between Jessica, God, and myself I think we can handle this marriage thing pretty well. Besides, she has the difficult part of dealing with me.

Written by Jake Norden.