As my husband and I approach 6.5 years of marriage and the start of 2020 we decided to make the true story of our marriage known. For there are only a select few that know the truth. We have started being more open regarding the real story so I thought why not just tell all my family and friends and whoever else takes the time to read my mind wonderings. There have been many who have been suspicious of our marriage and for valid reasons. Our marriage is far from perfect but we work at it and plan to continue working on it. Marriages are much like people, they all have their good, bad and ugly sides. So here is our little story. And for those who we have lied straight to your face sorry, we had good reasons.
After my 2nd hospitalization in a mental institution for 3 months I decided to buy a little white dress, a ring and I wrote vows between myself and God to work my ass of to stay healthy and not spend the next year in the hospital. I then proceed to go to the ob-gyn to get an IUD. My reason was not to prevent pregnancy, rather I had not even contemplated dating much rather getting married. After a couple weeks out of the hospital while staying with a friend I spent time in prayer. I struggled with singleness and loneliness and I was not getting any younger. But similarly I knew I needed a companion in life to help me. I knew if I didn’t have this help I was likely to end up right back in the hospital. I was terrified of dating and had never dated before. My best friend was currently engaged and she had meet her fiancé through online dating. She had encouraged me and this seemed like the best option especially since I was so terrified and had no other means of meeting guys.
I joined Christian mingle and sent out a couple of emails to some guys. My husband responded and we started causally talking online. We had not been talking long but I was terrified that the relationship would go on, that I would get emotionally attached and then have to share my long ugly not so attractive medical history and that would be the end of the relationship. I decided I would rather it never start then be rejected after forming an attachment so I draft a very long email explaining my situation. I remember holding my finger over the send button and praying that God would give me the strength to push send. My finger literally trembled over the send button. I then had the long wait to see if he would ever even respond. We had not even talked on the phone at this point.
My husband says he looked at the email, saw it’s length and thought this must be some scam. But he finished the email and starting googling all the medical terms I had thrown at him. He had been in the United States for less than a year and was extremely uneducated in the mental illness terminology. We laugh about it now cause he actually mistranslated my diagnoses and we were married for months before he realized I did not have schizophrenia. He himself looks back in awe that he was not scared away because in China mental illness is highly stigmatized. But he says that despite all the medical issues he saw my love for God and thought there was something more to this girl.
Anyway he contacted me and we eventually had our first phone conversation. He actually stood me up for the first night he was supposed to call me. The little player, I sat by my phone for hours and he never called. He has since apologized for this. Our phone conversation were mainly about God and our relationship with him. We had many things in common and our phone conversations quickly moved to FaceTime. I was getting ready to return to medical school after being on a medical leave for 5 months. He was just finishing his finals for his masters degree. He was scheduled to stay in the US for 1 month before returning to China to finish his undergraduate degree. He had 1 year left of course work and a thesis in China.
After dating online for several weeks I made plans to fly to New Orleans to meet him for the first time. He was living with 2 girls, fellow Chinese classmates and I was able to meet them through Skype. This gave me a little security that he was respectful enough of women to live with 2 for a year and not try anything inappropriate. He meet me at the airport with a red rose. That night he made me Chinese food at his apartment. There was so much food for just the 2 or us. I was rather tired because I had a 24 hour call 2 days before. I was also dealing with side effects of medications that made me not so energetic. Similarly my tremor was always worse in the evenings. It was our first night together and between my baseline tremor, the nerves and the fact that I was alone with a strange man was a little overwhelming. Although we was concerned by my trebling he was not scared away. He sat next to me holding my hand as I fell asleep the first night.
The next morning I woke up before him and went into his room. He was still asleep but I climbed under his blanket with him. He held me. Thankful my tremor was much better in the morning. We spent the day in New Orleans on our first official date. That evening back at his apartment we sat chatting. After a moment of silence he looked at me and said very bluntly I want to marry you and I said yes immediately. We just stared at each other I think both shocked by what just happened. He scrambled to one knee and this time officially rather then just blurt it out said, Julia will you marry me. I said yes.
We prayed and pulled out our calendars. He was supposed to be on a plane to China in just a little over a week. He was supposed to be out of his apartment in just a couple of days. We decided that he would go back to Texas with me to give us more time together and to figure out what was next. We flew back to Austin and stayed with my aunt and uncle.
Mengming was contacting his school in china to see if he could delay going back to China. His University approved him doing the entire year long distance from US. This is unheard of. He found a language school that accepted him quickly so that his student visa would not expire. We contacted an immigration attorney because we had no clue what we were doing. We had 2 options. Get married now and apply for permanent residency after 3 months of marriage or option 2. Mengming goes back to China, we get married in 1 year and hope he gets into a PhD program if not I forgo my medical residency and move to China with him. We spent time in prayer and we both felt like he Lord was saying just do it. So 5 days after meeting for the first time we got married at the court house. Then four days after that we had a pastor in Austin, Tx marry us before God. I was wearing the little white dress and wedding ring I bought for myself after discharge from the hospital just 2 month ago.
We lived with my aunt and uncle for a couple of months while I was on rotation in Austin. My aunt and uncle just thought we were dating. My parents found out about our marriage by themselves. My mother found the marriage certificate online since it’s public record. They were not happy but with all the explaining about immigration and the situation they were forced to accept it.
Our marriage has been a wirlwind. Including immigrating his 2 parents to the US because his mother needed urgent medical care. Mengming struggling through a difficult PhD program. Me struggling with residency and health issues. Us dealing with legal issues. The list could go on and on. We both see counselors regularly and need regular medical and pastoral care to help us figure out how to survive. But here we are 6.5 years later. It has been an adventure.