No Ordinary Beginning
About the Guest
Sometimes a drizzle can turn into a downpour. When Trisha first met Justin Davis on the campus of Lincoln Christian College sparks didn’t fly. At least not right away. But Justin persisted and soon their friendship turned to romance, and marriage followed. Justin and Trisha reflect back on their college days, their courtship, the awkward proposal and their even more awkward honeymoon.
Justin and Trisha DavisJustin is on staff part-time as a pastor of Cross Point Church, recently named the 6th fastest growing church in the country. We both attended Lincoln Christian University in Lincoln, IL where we met and fell in love (with Justin adamantly asking Trisha out twice a week for 6 months before she said yes.) Justin received his BA degree in Christian Education in Lincoln and Trisha later earned her degree from Indiana University. Their first book, Beyond Ordinary: When a Good Marriage Isn’t...more
Justin and Trisha reflect back on their courtship, the awkward proposal and their awkward honeymoon.
No Ordinary Beginning
Trisha: We got married in Chicago the year that—I think, still, to date—was like the worst natural disaster, due to a heat wave.
Justin: Heat wave.
Trisha: The heat was so awful, and the church we got married in did not have air conditioning.
Trisha: I was in a long-sleeved, bedazzled dress, and—
Trisha: —my future husband was in a suit. So, it started off as kind of a hot mess, in all true forms.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, January 14th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. I have to tell you, we’ve heard a lot of stories at FamilyLife about dating, and about marriage, and about honeymoons. We’re going to hear one today that is right up there with some of the best stories we’ve ever heard.
We’ll introduce our guests to you here in just a minute; but I have to, at the beginning of today’s program, Dennis, remind our listeners that what we are about, here at FamilyLife, is not your wedding and your honeymoon. It’s about the years that follow. It’s about how your marriage can be all that God intended for it to be.
That’s the reason that FamilyLife got started, back in 1976—was to strengthen marriages and families. Over the last 37 years, we’ve been hosting Weekend to Remember ®marriage getaways in communities all around the country. We’re getting ready to kick off our spring season of Weekends to Remember. In fact, the weekend before Valentine’s Day, Dennis Rainey is going to be at the Gaylord National Hotel in Washington, DC, for a Weekend to Remember. That’s one of our kick-off weekend events. Then, the following weekend, I’m going to be in Hershey, Pennsylvania, at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center. This is just a couple of days after Valentine’s Day. I mean, the Hershey Lodge—Valentine’s Day—marriage weekend getaway—pretty good; huh? I’m going to be there for that event.
We’ve got dozens of these events happening in cities, all across the country, this spring. This week, we are offering something very special for FamilyLife Today listeners. If you want to sign up for one of these upcoming weekend getaways—you sign up and identify yourself as a FamilyLife Today listener—you can register for yourself, and your spouse comes free. It is a buy one/get one free registration opportunity for FamilyLife Today listeners.
All you have to do is go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click on the link for the Weekend to Remember. When you fill out your registration, type my name—type “BOB” into the key code box that you find on the registration form; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY and get registered over the phone. This is for any of the upcoming events this spring—buy one/get one free, this week, when you get in touch with us, here at FamilyLife Today,and identify yourself as a FamilyLife Today radiolistener. The offer is good through the 27th of January, but the best way to take advantage of it is to get in touch with us right now. Call 1-800-FL-TODAY or go online at FamilyLifeToday.com. Again, identify yourself either by typing my name, “BOB”, in the promotion code box or mention that you listen to FamilyLife Today when you get in touch with us. When you register yourself at the regular rate, your spouse comes free.
Now, as we meet our guests on today’s program, I think, Dennis, we need to encourage all of the single ladies to listen up, here today, at the beginning of today’s program. All the single ladies—you know that song? [Bob singing] All the single ladies; all the single ladies—
Dennis: I’m sorry; I don’t!
Bob: You don’t know that song?
Dennis: And I’m not getting your point.
Bob: Well, we’re going to hear a compelling story this week.
Dennis: Is this a warning to the single ladies?
Bob: It’s starts off—if you meet a guy at college—
Dennis: Don’t tell them what he did!
Bob: That’s my point! The single ladies just need to pay attention. If you meet a guy, like this, at college, I would—
Dennis: I’ve heard a lot of pick-up lines.
Bob: Yes; yes!
Dennis: I’ve heard a lot of pick-up lines, but this tops—
Bob: I’ll leave it to you. It’s all up to you, now.
Dennis: Justin and Trish Davis join us on FamilyLife Today. Justin and Trish, welcome to the broadcast. After that setup, you ought to be ready for this conversation. [Laughter]
Justin: Yes, I’m a little nervous, but we are extremely happy to be here.
Dennis: You should be; you should be! But you did put this in print in your book, so—
Justin: I did; to my chagrin.
Dennis: We’re about to find out about it. Justin and Trish have been married since 1995. They have three children. They are authors, bloggers, and teachers who live in Nashville. Together, they collaborated their story, called Beyond Ordinary. Unfortunately, there are a lot of ordinary marriages out there. You exhort folks to get out of the ordinary to the extraordinary and what God has for individuals.
Dennis: Let’s go to when you two met in college.
Bob: Let Trish tell this story!
Dennis: Well, I’ve got to set it up, though. The way Justin was told about Trish—his buddy, Kenny, came to him and said, “Have you met the hot chick with the bright red lipstick?”
Justin: That’s verbatim.
Dennis: So tell the rest of the story, Trish, and the ultimate pick-up line.
Trisha: Well, it’s kind of bad because it was also the ‘90s, mind you. The ‘90s didn’t give way to very good hair or lips, then, either. [Laughter] I grew up south of Chicago, where red lips and big hair were the norm. So, when I came to Lincoln Christian College in the small, little town of Lincoln, Illinois, I first met or heard of Justin—he was kind of like the “big man on campus”.
Dennis: Got it.
Trisha: I kind of referred to him as he thought he was Michael Jordan, but I clearly knew he wasn’t Michael Jordan.
Dennis: Yes; and as we’re about to find out, he was really a big, big man on campus.
Bob: He thought Michael Jordan was second to him; didn’t he?
Trisha: It’s true. It’s true. I think he thought he could sway me with his wonderful words. I’ll let you share your words of endearment.
Bob: Yes, tell us about meeting the big-hair, red-lipped, hot girl on campus.
Justin: This three-on-one attack was not in my rider. I don’t know who negotiated this deal, but— [Laughter]
Dennis: You’re not the first guest to say that, by the way—
Bob: —to be ambushed by us.
Justin: Indeed, my buddy, Kenny, came up to me and said, “Man, have you seen the hot girl from Chicago, with the bright red lipstick?” I said, “I haven’t seen her yet.” Then, just a few hours later, I saw Trish coming out of our chapel. I thought, “Man that has got to be her!”
So, I approached her—Kenny and I were together. I approached her and introduced myself. I said, “Hey, I’m God and this is my son Jesus Christ. I think you should meet us. We’re really worth your time. You should really give us some of your attention.”
Bob: Justin, Justin, Justin—did you come up with that yourself or did you read that online somewhere?
Dennis: Was that spontaneous or had you really thought about this? I mean, big man on campus is one thing—
Bob: Yes, because bro, I’d give you some coaching here and that would not be—the coaching would be, “Thinking different.” Thinking, “Are you from Tennessee because you’re the only ten I see?” You know—that kind of thing. [Laughter] That will work!
Justin: Well, this story wasn’t going to make it into the book at all, but two of our three boys went to basketball camp at our college just last summer. Kenny, my friend, was there and told them the story. I had never told them. We had never shared the story with our boys at all.
Dennis: It’s part of the legend of the school.
Justin: Exactly! Yes.
Justin: But I had tried to forget it. I don’t know if it was trying to be endearing. I don’t know if it was because we were at a Christian—
Trisha: Oh, you thought you were awesome! [Laughter] You really thought it was the best pick-up line!
Justin: It was definitely original.
Trisha: And my response—
Bob: Yes, what did you think when “God” introduced himself like this to you?
Trisha: I looked at him like he had a third eye. I thought, “What is wrong with this kid? Does he realize we’re in the middle of the cornfields of Illinois?”
Justin: It seemed really blasphemous now, but then it just kind of made sense.
Bob: You were 19 and stupid. That’s why it made sense!
Dennis: Was this school a Christian school?
Trisha: It was; it was.
Dennis: Seriously? So you had all of the issues of—I mean, there would be a lot of people who would hear what you’ve just said and think, “Whoa!”
Bob: “What kind of guy is this?”
Bob: I think we’re learning what kind of guy it is right here.
Trisha: It’s true!
Bob: But somehow—even with that introduction—somehow you busted through it. He busted through it—you guys got to know one another.
Justin: Well, I tried to set her up with Kenny, initially. He really wanted to go out with her. So, I thought this would make a really good impression. It obviously didn’t. What she told me in that conversation was, “Hey, I’m not interested. I’ve got a boyfriend back home.” Obviously, at a Christian school, sometimes “a boyfriend back home” just meant you weren’t interested in that particular person. So, I still had some optimism, after talking to Trish for that brief time, that I could convince her to go out with me.
Dennis: So what did you do? Take him out?
Justin: I took him out! I said, “Hey!” [Laughter] No, it was pretty hopeless from the very beginning; but what happened was—Trisha went out for cheerleading. Our school didn’t really have a big athletic budget, so the cheerleaders traveled with the basketball team to away games. So, we started spending a lot of time together. It sounds very stalker-ish right now, as I’m telling it here—but not just from me pursuing her, and calling her, and asking her out. We began to talk—we began to really develop a friendship.
I had an attraction to her—that she didn’t reciprocate, initially, to me; but as we began to get to know each other and get to know one another’s hearts, she started to open up more about her life. We really began to sense that God was doing something pretty incredible. She went home for Christmas, and we missed each other for the first time. Before, I had just missed her. She began to develop feelings for me, as well. She ended that relationship with the person that she was dating. Then, we started going out mid-January of my junior year of college—Trisha’s freshman year of college.
Bob: I’m thinking that once you lost the bet, she was like, “Okay, now I’ll go out with you. I just wanted to make sure you lost before I took you out.”
Justin: And, too, I think the fact that I was still pursuing her, even though it wasn’t a challenge any more. It was really a relationship. It started out, obviously, as infatuation—the way that most relationships start out—as a challenge—but as we began to get to know each other throughout the course of the semester, we had a stronger friendship than anybody I had ever dated before.
Trisha: And it was the first time, I think, that Justin had a relationship with a girl where dating was off the table. He really was allowing me to see the true Justin—the more of that that I got to see, the more that I secretly thought, “Man, I really like this guy.”
Dennis: So you dated how long?
Justin: Well, we dated from January ‘til July. Then, in July of 1994, I asked Trish to marry me.
Trisha: Oh, dear!
Bob: This is the end of your freshman year in college that he says, “Will you marry me?”
Trisha: Yes, it is.
Justin: Yes. Well, I had planned on waiting until the end of the summer, actually; but Trisha came home with me for a weekend in July. She came down from Chicago and spent a weekend with my family in Indiana. My mom introduced her at church that morning really oddly. She said, “This is Justin’s future fiancé.”
We had been looking at rings, and talking about it, and I think we’d even talked to my family a little bit about it that weekend; but it was more of a hypothetical thing than anything else. I was working at a church at the time. I went back to the church that I was working at during the week. Trisha went home. I just couldn’t get it out of my mind. So, I drove three hours from where I was staying to Chicago and rented a limousine. I went to pick Trisha up at the day camp where she was working. I had called ahead of time—and got her boss to kind of—go into a little bit of the plan with me. He was going to keep her in his office until I could pull up into the parking lot. I bought two dozen roses.
Dennis: She was pretty impressed because she’s smiling right now!
Trisha: Well, what Justin didn’t know is I worked as a camp counselor at the Christian Youth Center; and that particular day was creek-walking day. I was a counselor for 14 seven- and eight-year-old boys. We had spent the day in the creek. I was full of mud, from head to toe. I had a bathing suit on and dirty clothes over it. I could not have looked more of a mess than I did in that moment.
Justin: So I show up in a limousine, with roses, and with a suit on. I had just gotten her ring out of layaway at the jewelry store. She comes out and she is completely blown away. Then the nerves started kicking in because, now, Bob, I’m going back to all of the times that I got turned down to go out with her. I’m thinking, “Oh, my gosh! I had to ask her out like 50 times before she said, ‘Yes.’ How is this going to go?!”
Justin: So, she gets into the limousine; and she quickly realizes what is going on. As the driver is leaving the parking lot, he takes a turn. The roses tip over, and all of the water from the roses spill all over the floor—all over us. I fumbled the ring. I have a cassette tape, cued up to our song that is supposed to be playing—I had put that in before she got in—so our song was playing—but then, all of this commotion starts happening. The roses spill onto the floor. I drop her ring into the water that’s on the floor. I start sweating profusely because it’s July, and I’m really nervous. [Laughter]
So, I pick the ring up and dry it off, and try to get—by this time, the song that had been playing was on to the next song, which is not a romantic song—it is a fast-paced song. It was a mess; but she said, “Yes!” We were engaged from July of 1994, and then we got married in July of 1995.
Bob: So you had another year together at college?
Bob: Were you still a student after you were married?
Trisha: Yes, I continued as a student. Trish actually took a year off, then, to save up for our wedding. When we got married, in July 1995, I had a year of school left and she reentered classes at Lincoln, as well, but, then, got pregnant four months after we got married.
Dennis: Okay, you don’t know this about our broadcast, but for a number of years—it didn’t matter who you were—Chuck Swindoll, R.C. Sproul—we were no respecter of persons. [Laughter] We would ask these Christian leaders for a great honeymoon story because everybody has got a honeymoon story—it seems at least—a honeymoon story that is a showstopper. Was that true of you guys?
Justin: That is very true.
Trisha: It’s a show-stopper. I don’t know the kind of show you want to watch, but it was a show-stopper! [Laughter]
Justin: How long is it? How long is this broadcast?
Bob: Well, tell the story and we’ll see what we can do.
Trisha: Well, for both Justin and I, we grew up in lower-middle income families. I left school for a semester to be able to afford to get married. To go on our honeymoon was just an extra bonus. We got married in Chicago the year that—I think, still, to date—was like the worst natural disaster, due to a heat wave.
Justin: Heat wave.
Trisha: The heat was so awful, and the church we got married in did not have air conditioning.
Trisha: So, I was in a long-sleeved, bedazzled dress, and—
Trisha: —my future husband is in a suit. It started off as kind of a hot mess, in all true forms; but we got through the wedding well. Our reception, thankfully, had air conditioning. Our poor moms were literally taking the cards we had received from our guests and opening them to see if we had enough money to go on our honeymoon.
Thankfully, we did. We were excited. I got this ginormous dress! We got to borrow Justin’s family’s first brand-new vehicle that they had ever owned. It was the Astro mini-van. I don’t know if you remember those, where you could turn the wheel—?
Justin: Not exactly the cool honeymoon cruiser that I had envisioned when I—
Bob: Not the romantic convertible you were going to drive her away in.
Justin: Exactly, exactly; but it was great.
Trisha: So, to take you through the 12 hours in a synopsis: We were in the car for about three hours—ran into an accident—sat for another five—finally, got to our destination in the middle of the night. I was so exhausted—the whole “Carry me through the threshold”—I was like, “Just get me to bed!”
Justin: It’s like 4:00 in the morning—we finally get to the hotel. Trisha starts crying. I thought, “Nothing has happened yet. Why are you crying?” I thought, “You know, it’s 4:00 in the morning. Maybe she’s just tired.” She’s like, “I can’t believe this is happening, but I need you to go to Walmart®.” I said, “Right now?” And she gives me the list of the feminine products that I need to buy because that time of the month had just arrived, the minute we walked into the hotel room. So, she goes and starts a bath. I head to Walmart—, in my tux, still. [Laughter]
Dennis: Did you carry a sandwich sign reading “Just Married” as you went down the aisle? [Laughter]
Justin: I come back and she’s asleep. We go to bed that night. We got up, and it was the next day.
Trisha: You know, God’s Word says His mercies are new every morning, “Let’s just start a new day.” So, we get on the road. Mind you, the heat wave is still in full gear. As we’re driving on the interstate, we notice this hay truck in front of us—
Justin: We’re in Kentucky—some place in Kentucky.
Trisha: —starts to lose its hay. We were kind of looking at each other like, “Is this really happening?” Then, all of a sudden, barrels of hay are falling off of the truck. So, of course, we stop and try to help the guy out. As we’re baling hay off of the interstate, hay gets caught underneath his truck and blows the truck to smithereens. It shuts down the interstate. After giving our statement to the police officer, we finally made our second trek to our destination. We did eventually get there—maybe a day late or so—
Justin: We got there a day late.
Trisha: —but we were so excited to finally be there, we just threw our stuff down in the little house we were staying in and went to the beach. Mind you, I was 20. Justin was 21. We were just like kids playing on the beach. After about three hours, we kind of got hungry and thought it was time to come in. About a half hour after eating our food, I really started to feel like I had a fever.
Bob: Maybe a little sunburn happening there?
Trisha: A little hot.
Dennis: It’s not the first one of these stories we’ve heard.
Justin: She wasn’t just a little sunburned. She was blistered, from head-to-toe.
Justin: She had blisters all over her stomach.
Trisha: Yes. You were on the phone with your dad. You can tell them—it’s okay.
Justin: That isn’t that. So, “We’ll just stay in tonight and put some aloe vera on it. You’ll be better tomorrow.” [Laughter] Next day, she’s not any better. So, we go to the movies. We go see a movie. The next day, she’s finally getting a little bit better but not really. We still have not consummated the marriage. I, literally, after three days, I call my dad. I’m like, “What am I supposed to do here? I got married for some action and there’s no action going on!” [Laughter] He’s like, “We’re not even Catholic, but I think you can annul it.” [Laughter]
Trisha: On our final day, we had all of this money because we couldn’t do anything all week, obviously. I was starting to feel a little bit better, so we decided to get a wave runner. Mind you, my husband is a 21-year-old “man”.
Justin: Now, wait a minute! Why did you put quotes around that? [Laughter]
Bob: Because when you give a 21-year-old a wave runner, he reverts. I’m just telling you that I’ve seen it happen!
Trisha: Thank you.
Dennis: Here’s my question—a wave runner is not a good place to consummate— [Laughter] —why would you be thinking of a wave runner?!”
Justin: The tension around that particular topic had already been exhausted. So, “Let’s just go do something fun because we’ve already argued about that three or four times.”
Trisha: Yes, yes! So we get on this; and yes, he has a lot of energy. He says something to me. Before I can even respond, we just take off. As we are taking off, there’s like a cove area, before you get out to the open sea. There’s a yacht coming in—like a party yacht with people on it. It was like slow motion. I could see my young husband seeing these enormous waves this yacht was making. He was like, “Game on!”
So, we were at full throttle; and we hit this wave. As I shoot up 30 feet in the air, over my husband, I can hear the people on the party boat saying, “Oh my...!” I do a full-on belly flop. When I came up out of the water, my blisters had popped. It was like the most unromantic moment.
Justin: She looked like I had just got done beating her. It was really sad. There was skin hanging everywhere.
Trisha: Yes. So, that’s our honeymoon!
Bob: Is it any wonder you’ve written a book about marriage? [Laughter] After just those few days—
Justin: A nice, ordinary honeymoon, for sure.
Dennis: As folks are going to hear this week, this marriage is going to be anything far from ordinary.
Dennis: But there is a great story of redemption and hope that they share in their book.
Bob: The book is called Beyond Ordinary. We have it in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. You can go online at FamilyLifeToday.com to order a copy of the book. Again, the title is Beyond Ordinary by Justin and Trisha Davis.
If you know anybody who’s getting married this year or who just got married a year ago, but who have never been to one of our Weekend to Remember marriage getaways, let me tell you what you ought to do for them as either a wedding gift or a one-year anniversary gift—or maybe it’s a five-year anniversary gift—or maybe it’s you. Maybe you have never been to a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. We are about to kick off the spring season for the Weekend to Remember. In fact, it kicks off the weekend before Valentine’s Day—there are a number of events that weekend.
One of them is in Washington, DC, at the Gaylord National Hotel, where Dennis is going to be speaking—is one of the speakers at that event. Then, the next weekend, there are a number of events the weekend after Valentine’s Day. I’m going to be at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, Pennsylvania, speaking at that Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. Again, there are dozens of these events happening, all over the country, this spring.
So, whether it’s you or someone you know, this is the time to sign up and register for an upcoming event because our team—this week and next week—when you sign up as a FamilyLife Today listener and register yourself for the event, your spouse comes free. Your spouse comes at no additional charge. It’s a buy one/get one free opportunity. It’s good this week and next week only. You have to identify yourself as a FamilyLife Today listener—which means, as you fill out the online registration form—go to FamilyLifeToday.com—as you fill out the form, type my name—type “BOB” in the promotion code box that you find on the registration form.
Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. Say, “I listen to FamilyLife Today. We want to go to a Weekend to Remember. We want to take advantage of the special offer for FamilyLife Today listeners.” You sign up at the regular registration fee for yourself—your spouse comes free. It is buy one/get one free and is good this week and next week only. So, get in touch with us and plan to be at one of our Weekend to Remember marriage getaways this spring. We can’t promise that your weekend will be as memorable as the Davis’s honeymoon; but, honestly, you don’t want it to be that [laughter] kind of memorable. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com or call 1-800-FL-TODAY and sign up to join us at one of these upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaways.
Now, tomorrow, we’re going to hear more of Justin and Trisha Davis’s story. We’ll get a chance to hear about how their marriage began to drift in the early years until it reached a point that was a crisis point for them. We’ll share that story on tomorrow’s program. I hope you can be with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I am Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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