Meet Kara and Jake Thornell. They’ve been married for a year and a half, but they’ve already learned lessons that last a lifetime.
Kara admits that she’s quicker to get emotional, but Jake’s patience and selflessness helps her get back on track. While she’s good at observing and taking a stand, he tends to be slow to confront. She’s a strong communicator, and he has a quiet demeanor.
With such opposite personalities, it could be easy to get hung up on their differences. But the two of them have realized how their differences can actually make them stronger.
Describe Jake in three words?
My husband is so considerate, patient, and the clown of whatever group he’s in.
How did you and your husband meet?
I met Jake at a church group get together going bowling. I got pressured into going… was nervous to meet people that way… but man am I glad I went!
Who was interested first?
It was not love at first sight, we didn’t consider each other right away. However, a short while after we started sticking out to each other and got to know each other through group events. Pretty sure it was a tie on who was interested first, but I am the one who organized group events… just so I could get him over to my house to see him 🙂 It is a great way to ensure you’ll see your crush and get to know them in a safe environment.
What qualities about your husband made your realize he was marriage material?
I had a feeling pretty early on in our dating relationship that he was the one, however I don’t recall an exact moment. He had many of the qualities that I have always admired. I felt completely safe with him and cherished by him.
What was your favorite detail of your wedding day?
I loved having a relaxing reception. One that wasn’t too fancy or scheduled. We had it out doors at my parents house just down the street from the church we got married in, all we had to do was walk down the street! I loved being able to just casually be with close friends and family and soak in the excitement of the day.
What’s your best advice to young women in dating relationships?
Relinquish your control to God. Relationships are territory of the unknown and can be very fragile. Every person is different, and it takes time to get to know someone. We often get into trouble when we start relying on ourselves for answers. Humans get nervous quickly and give up or dive in head first without much thought. We make unjust judgments, or we throw caution to the wind irresponsibly. Humans are selfish and too proud to compromise or timid to the point of being taken advantage of. We are a fallen people who mess up easily and don’t always think straight. Dating is meant to find you a spouse that you will spend the rest of your life with. So it should be treated with the up-most care. Giving ourselves to God means trusting in him more than ourselves, which means studying and listening to him, understanding that we need the help. The more time you spend with God, the more capable you are of being able to love someone else and yourself in the healthiest way.
Also, give it time! Some people just need to warm up. Jake was very quiet when we first started dating and it made me nervous to the point of ending it after the second date. But I realized I was just scared of the unknown and made assumptions based on my limited knowledge. I ended up seeing Jake a week later at a group hang out and as soon as I saw him I thought …”Shoot! What did I do??” Hanging out with the group that night, I saw those qualities in him that had attracted me to him in the first place, and I realized that because being one on one is more nerve wracking, that he may have just needed more time. So I messaged him a long paragraph of how I felt and that I had realized that I was just scared. I was not relying on God’s judgement but my own. He was very receptive and thankful that I messaged him because he really liked me and realized he had probably been too quiet. I even explained why that made me nervous (because I’m a self- conscious person who knew that guessing what someone thought all the time wouldn’t be good for me). So I suggested that we take it slow and continue to get to know each other through group settings for a while. I’m so glad that I realized I had made the mistake and communicated that, and also that Jake was so willing to listen and make it work 🙂
What’s your best advice for those pursuing sexual purity?
Sexual purity is so tricky in the world we live in. Taking precise precautions is not something to laugh about. Sexuality is very complex so its okay to get complex with ways to keep yourselves pure (I say yourselves, plural, because its never a one way street). Communicate your goals and put an accountability partner in place. Also, you have to want it. You have to want purity otherwise you will likely lose yourself to temptations. You have to want to please God more than yourself, and actively practice discipline and prayer regarding this. It should always be a concrete fact in your mind that you believe that God calls us to have boundaries.
We managed to save sex until marriage 🙂 I waited to date until I was 20, and Jake was my first and only boyfriend. I always knew I wasn’t ready to date in high school, and I had actually always prayed that God would let me only ever need to date one man!
What has been your biggest lesson in marriage?
Communication is key. Seriously. When things aren’t communicated then someone is left in the dark while the other is letting things fester. You can avoid a lot of hardships by communicating your needs in a healthy loving way. One way to guarantee you will have good communication is to make it a chore in the beginning of your relationship so that you can create that good habit. Habits are powerful, so make sure you’re fueling good ones. Want to have a long happy marriage? Always put in effort to tend to your partner’s needs, and let it be known to them that this is your goal through communicating.
I always knew how much Jake loved me. He was a grounded Christian, and I could tell by the way he treated me and cherished me. I’ve always been a self- conscious person, but he never grew impatient with me when I would get insecure or need to talk with him about something. I could tell he cared about putting in work to learn what I needed from him. And he valued listening to me when I asked him what he needed from me. Marriage is a long road that is going to need a lot of work. You need to find a partner that values putting the work in, and that will respect your needs, as well as communicating his own.
How do you keep God the focus of your relationship?
We encourage each other to read and pray. From the very start we made sure to start a Christian devotional specifically for marriage so that we got in the habit of learning things through God and looking to him regularly for answers. It was also good for breaking the maybe awkward barrier of communication. Good devotionals will have you answer questions with each other and have scripture references. God teaches how we are to treat others, and one of the most important relationships to keep up with and honor is with your spouse.
FOLLOW OUR SERIES #TRUELOVESTORIES
We interviewed some of our favorite couples to ask them what true love looks like. And we are so excited to introduce these stories to you. True love exists, and it’s worth the wait. #truelovestories #acrossmyheart