In xoNecole's Our First Year series, we take an in-depth look at love and relationships between couples with an emphasis on what their first year of marriage was like.
Whoever said that you've probably met your soulmate by a certain age may have been onto something. Ask Jeff and Danae Amponsah, a couple who knew of each other in high school but wouldn't meet up and fall in love until seven years later. "I was a freshman, and he was a senior. We lived so close to each other, we even rode the same bus," said Danae. So, how do two people on two different paths of life end up meeting and falling in love? Well, my favorite answer: Through the love and connection with God.
As a ministry leader for an on-campus ministry at Rutgers University, Danae spotted Jeff, noticing that he was also in their weekly bible study, weekly church service, and Sunday service as well. After a few encounters at the mall, the two shared their first date at Chipotle, and the rest is history.
Read on to hear how the couple officially knew the other was the 'one', what obstacles come up in marriage, and how they're keeping God front and center:
Danae: As crazy as it sounds, I knew he was going to be my husband on our first date.
Jeff: God had spoken to me previously and told me to be patient and that I would know who she is when I see her. I went on a few dates with my wife, fasted, and I felt a spiritual connection between us leading to physical and mental attraction as well.
"God had spoken to me previously and told me to be patient and that I would know who she is when I see her."
How They Met:
Danae: The funny thing is, we both went to the same high school but never spoke to one another. Fast forward to seven years later: I was a ministry leader for an on-campus ministry at Rutgers called ALIFE, and I spotted him. I saw him every Tuesday at bible study, every Thursday at mid-week church service, and every Sunday at church. I admired the fact that he was a church-going man, and that was very important to me. We kept running into each other at the mall, and he walked into the store I worked at the time. We talked for a few minutes and he asked me to lunch. After an amazing lunch date, we started hanging out with other friends, and going on group dates.
One day, he called me and asked if I was free to go out for dinner. We had a great night out, and from that moment on, we knew we wanted to pursue a relationship. Knowing that he was such a gentleman, and a God-fearing man, made me want to put my whole heart into the relationship. I just knew he was the one. After seriously dating for two weeks, Jeff told me I was going to be his wife one day. Just six months later, he proposed.
Jeff: We met at a church function, but we had crossed paths in the past during high school. For me, it wasn't about taking a chance, but more of knowing who I was and what I wanted. I saw how beautiful she was, our personalities clicked, and we just bonded immediately. We dated for about two weeks and then we both made a decision to get serious.
"Knowing that he was such a gentleman, and a God-fearing man, made me want to put my whole heart into the relationship. I just knew he was the one. After seriously dating for two weeks, Jeff told me I was going to be his wife one day. Just six months later, he proposed."
Danae: I lived at home with my parents up until the day Jeff and I were married, while Jeff had lived on his own for years. I was spoiled and used to my parents cleaning up after me, and even making my dinner! Jeff is very neat and it was hard for me to adjust to my new way of living. My father's nickname for me was even "hurricane" because everywhere I went I made such a mess! Sometimes we would have arguments over the smallest things, like me not making the bed, or cooking. Over time, we learned to both accept who we were as individuals, and decided to work together on pleasing one another's needs. It's the small things that we do that make both of us happy.
Jeff: No fears. Obstacles, yes. Two personalities coming together, two different ways of living, a lot of compromising, sacrificing, and communication between what one likes and dislikes. I can say we have overcome our obstacles simply by praying and reading our word in the Bible and having strong faith. We have continued to grow and gained understanding to know that in a marriage, you give yourself up and put your spouse first.
Danae: Having God at the center of our marriage was always, and will always be, the most important thing to us. After that? Respect. We both vowed never to disrespect one another, no matter how angry we would get. Having Christ at the center of our marriage is so important because, on the tough days, it's His word that gets us through it. Reading together and praying together helps us build with each other. We wouldn't be married if we both didn't have our own personal relationships with the Lord, and that is our favorite thing about each other.
Jeff: The most important thing in our marriage is keeping God at the center because, without Him, things can get real crazy. God helps us to check each other's flesh and [to use] his Word for wisdom to gain better understanding of how to communicate with ourselves first then with your spouse.
"Having Christ at the center of our marriage is so important because, on the tough days, it's His word that gets us through it. Reading together and praying together helps us build with each other. We wouldn't be married if we both didn't have our own personal relationships with the Lord, and that is our favorite thing about each other."
Love In Their Language:
Danae: We build by motivating and pushing each other, even when one of us doesn't want to hear it. I believe in Jeff's dreams, and he believes in mine. For us, one another's support is what keeps our marriage strong. We took premarital classes before we got married, so there weren't many things I wasn't expecting or prepared for, but I learned that actually going through it was harder than what I anticipated.
One thing I didn't expect to struggle with was how different we expressed our love for one another. I express my love through affirmation and physical touch, and Jeff expresses his love through his actions. I knew that he wasn't nearly as affectionate as [I am], but once we were married, I hoped for more. I have learned that he is affectionate, he just shows it a different way than I do. He made efforts to change, and then I realized I didn't want him to. I wanted him to stay exactly the same. Everything he does for me, I know he does because he loves me, and it makes me feel like I mean the world to him. Things like this have been a growing experience for me and has helped me as an individual and a wife.
Jeff: We understand that love is not just a feeling, but it's everything. It's peace. When we both started to understand this, our bond became stronger. One big thing that popped up the most in our marriage were the petty arguments we would have because of our pride, lack of understanding ideas, motives, and feelings. The great thing about this was, it was expected, we just needed to grow through it.
Being in a marriage has shown me a lot about myself, helping me to identify what it takes to be a great husband. I show my love to her by actions, and she wants verbal affirmation. This was another challenge for me but I made the changes for her and she made the change to accept who I am.
"We understand that love is not just a feeling, but it's everything. It's peace. When we both started to understand this, our bond became stronger. One big thing that popped up the most in our marriage were the petty arguments we would have because of our pride, lack of understanding ideas, motives, and feelings. The great thing about this was, it was expected, we just needed to grow through it."
Danae: The biggest love lesson that I have learned is to humble myself, and to put aside my pride. Now that we are expecting our first child together, I am also learning how important it is for us to be in the same book, even if we aren't on the same page. I am still learning that I learn something new every day about my husband, and he learns something new about me, and knowing that we will get to know each other more and more each day for the rest of our lives makes me so happy!
Jeff: The best love lessons I feel we have learned together are learning what true commitment is, learning self development, fulfilling one another's needs, and learning who's good at what so we can share and give each other roles as we build our family. I feel like everyday there is something new to learn because we are doing life together. She's my right foot and I'm the left, and we just coordinate great together knowing that we move on the same rhythm to get through life.
"The best love lessons I feel we have learned together are learning what true commitment is, learning self-development, fulfilling one another's needs, and learning who's good at what so we can share and give each other roles as we build our family."
The Best Part:
Danae: The best part of our marriage is our communication. Jeff is my best friend in the world. We can tell each other anything. We always tell each other the truth.
Jeff: The best part of my marriage is knowing that I will never be alone again. It gives me something to look forward to everyday because of our partnership. Nothing is perfect but the world my wife and I live in is perfect for us. I've always told myself, the highest title a man can give a woman is "Wife," and since I've found someone to give that title to, she deserves everything through the grace of God. Yes it's not easy, but it's simply worth the journey and commitment. More importantly, we both agree that we want to inspire other individuals that marriage is worth it.
Featured photo courtesy of Instagram/ @danae_chandani.