On February 19th, 2022 I married José Flores. I did not settle for this relationship. It is not a flawless relationship. We are two very imperfect people who made a decision to actively pursue each other under the covenant of God for the rest of our lives.
For those of you who have followed my story, you know that I have had some traumatic relationships in my past. I say without a single regret that I would do it all over again to get to where I am today.
This is the story of how I became Mrs. Flores
José and I met January 2020 after I temporarily started going to his gym at Crown City Crossfit. We both did weightlifting at 5 am and would always sit side by side on the lifting platforms but would never really say anything to each other (both of us are introverts go figure). I was only at that gym for one month and then left to go to a different gym. José found me on Instagram and slid in to the DM's asking why I had left. That my friends is how it all started.
He was still recovering from a broken heart after ending a relationship in 2019 and I was still recovering from the mess of a love triangle that ended in 2019 also (see blog titled An open letter to my narcissistic sociopath ex). We both had no emotional space for anything but a platonic friendship. I was and still am so grateful for this friendship of ours. The pandemic had just started around this time which limited how we spent time together. We would meet in the park, kicking the soccer ball back and forth to each other because nothing else was open. Both of our gyms shut down so he built a platform at his house and I would haul my barbell and all the weights to his house every Saturday so we could work out together.
Shortly after that we created our own "Finer Things Club" where we would go on a picnic each week and discuss the book we were both reading. The first book we completed together was Relationship Goals by Michael Todd. We knew at that point that we liked each other but made clear boundaries that we were both not in a place to be romantically involved at that point. This book helped us as individuals to prepare for what a healthy relationship would look like. We all know that saying "hurt people hurt people."We both did the inner work, fixing our past hurts so that we wouldn't end up hurting each other.
Months passed and as we all know the shutdown from the pandemic did not end after a few weeks like government officials kept promising. We made the best of it and continued to go on weekend adventures exploring the outdoors, going hiking, watching the sunset at the beach, watching church together on Sundays. We optimized our current situation to make the best out of it.
The pandemic was a blessing in disguise. With everything being shut down, him and I both had to get creative with date ideas. The things we planned helped us get to know each other much faster than we would have if we were going out to dinner and the movies. With the adventures we went on it put us in a variety of complex circumstances in which we had to learn how the other person would react. For example: when we got lost on our hike with no viable GPS we had to problem solve and work together as a team to find our way back. We had to be unselfish with our water and ration enough so that each of us had some. We were placed in situations in which we were able to observe how the other person reacts under stress. We were honest with each other. He kept me in check and I did the same for him. There was no fear in him leaving if I said something he didn't like. I was learning who he was; building the trust that we can help each other grow in love and not judgement.
I was 32 years old before I met a man who knew himself and knew how to really love and respect a woman. Read that again. 32 years old. I spent so many years living in envy of all my friends who were my age and younger getting married and starting families. I eventually let go of what society told me I should be doing and focused on becoming the best version of myself. That is when the right man came into the picture. God does not make mistakes. God has a plan and you don't have to understand it. You only have to have faith. Faith in your purpose on this earth and that you are not meant to be alone.
I made so many mistakes in the past. So much so that I thought I was not worthy of what I have now. It took a lot of courage to reflect on my past and take responsibility for the role I played in it. One of the harshest lessons I learned was that my victim mentality was recreating my past over and over again. I had to move on from my subconscious attachment to the way I had been hurt by men in the past. I had to take control of my beliefs about who I was. I would never be able to accept unconditional love from anyone else until I first loved myself unconditionally.
And so the healing happened. José came along and I was finally ready. He was not my "knight in shining armor". He didn't save me. He didn't "complete" me. I didn't need anyone to save me or complete me. That is a considerable reason why this relationship flourishes. He met me where I was. He maintained patience while I worked through the discomfort of breaking old trauma based behaviors. He apologized when he was wrong. He created the safe space for me to simply be me. And so it really is true: time is a fallacy. Focusing on self awareness and being in the present moment showed me that he was the one I wanted to share my life with.
Our wedding day
The day started at 0230 am in Bryce Canyon, Utah. Hair and makeup began at 3 am and photographers got the cabin by 4 am. We were to be married at sunrise so there was no time to waste! We face-timed my mother and step father to pray over us and we were at Sunrise Point by 0645 just as the sun began to rise.
The timing was perfect and we exchanged vows just as the sun began to peek up over the hoodoos. Up until the moment of us exchanging vows I had been shivering uncontrollably from the 13 degree weather but suddenly I was overcome with peace and stillness. This was my reassurance from God that I was exactly where I needed to be with who I needed to be with. It was a private ceremony with only me, José, my best friend who officiated and the two photographers. The plan was to have our first dance to Ed Sheerans' Perfect, but we were too cold to dance so instead we held each other and watched the sun climb into the sky.
After sipping on Mexican Coffee and taking some photos, we headed down to Queen's garden trail. The hike warmed us up but it was still cold nonetheless. Once the sun was fully out some of the snow started to melt and that is when my dress really started to get muddy. At the end of our hike there was a puddle that was calling my name. I ran to stomp in it and savor the very moment- wedding dress and all.
We got back to the cabin where my best friend/officiant/maid of honor set up a romantic picnic for us in front of the fire place. We enjoyed our first meal together as husband and wife while the photographers blended into the background. Nothing else existed at that moment except for me and my husband (and Samuel my dog who of course was all up in the food). We exchanged our vows that we had written for each other. I will cherish his vows forever. I didn't notice but José had told me after the fact that when we finished exchanging our vows one of the photographers had tears running down his face.
We headed back out to Kodachrome basin for a romantic stroll that ended with watching the sunset. This day was full of love, laughter, and spectacular views. My heart was exploding with love and all I kept thinking was that I hope everyone in the world gets to experience this type of love and peace at least once in their lifetime.
To end the day we stopped at Ruby's Inn restaurant which is a tiny little restaurant right in the small town of Bryce Canyon. We still had our wedding attire on so we got a lot of looks and attention. There was one sweet couple in particular that I will always remember. The woman had let us cut in the line because it was so long. We struck up conversation and she helped me find the loop to hold the train of my dress up so that I could use the bathroom (LOL). After we had sat down the same couple bought us a bottle of wine and sent it to our table. The champagne tasted delicious with our accompanying wings and beer to celebrate our marriage. After finishing our main course my sweet husband even went up to get my brownie since I love dessert and couldn't hold my dress and get the brownie on the plate at the same time. And then, it was all over.
My wedding day may not look like anyone else's wedding day and that is perfectly fine with me. It was perfect for us and shows how we are as a couple. We don't do things the way society tells us to.. We love only the way God loves us and we serve each other in the same manner. I waited 34 years for this day that I have dreamed of since I was a little girl. My reality turned out so much better than my dreams.
"When you're a kid, you assume your parents are soulmates. My kids are going to be right about that. " - Pam Halpert (The Office)