Love Story

I knew when I met him an adventure was beginning.


There has been countless days, over years time next to each other with different land under our feet, new places we got to see together. I have a burning in my fingers to write this love story. I'm usually alright with sharing words, but there is a long string of moments to this story I only wish you could see to understand. I'm realizing it's now been 7 years since I fell in love with him. I was 15 when I first saw him,  his eyes chestnut brown, his smile perfect. I felt nervous unlike I ever had around a boy. At 16, we became friends, talked until we had no voice, and he sang me songs sometimes. I turned 17. We held hands, he kissed me one night and a rush unlike any other fell over my heart.
Lasting memories were built quickly. We road tripped to Georgia together, I'll never forget the melody of songs we listened to on repeat as we drove through pine trees and hills. The rip of my dress on a branch, shaky hands every time one of us would reach for one another's, the deep beat of his heart when we laid on a mountain top after hiking up in the summer. These pieces have become part of us, finding a way to remain forever.
(us in 2009)

I wish I told him he was loved. I wish I told him he was an answered prayer. He built up courage after a few months to say "I love you, Bliss." A pained silence. A silence of a ballerina when she breaks her foot on a quiet stage. The way he stared at me the night I didn't say I love you back will haunt me internally. I was young and afraid of loving anyone again. I couldn't loosen my stubborn, restless grip on past failures and boys who used me, lied, and took me for granted. I thought I was forever unlovable. But what he didn't know is that for days and weeks before that moment I was trying my best to say "I love you" in my own ways. The way I opened up about my feelings, I always wrapped myself around him,  kissed him repeatedly on the cheek. I sang in front of him. These minute things were in my mind bigger, vocal things. I tried my best to explain, rearranging my words, but I was damaged and he was infatuated, I didn't see it. He forgave me and said he understood.
By age 18 I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. We grew together, building each others faith, pushing each other to do great things, and most of all proving to one another our admiration. We could do anything and find joy. Years passed, they were beaming with love. Still at a young and growing age there were few natural hardships and career plan confusions, but we barely fought and talked everything out in confidence that we would be married one day. There is some reverie in love. To fall in love with the idea of what they could be or who you want them to be. A balanced mold that is expected to be met. That apparition bled into our ending.
There is distinct suffering to walk in the opposite direction of the person you thought you were going to spend the rest of your life with. He took every risk to love me, every chance to remind me how much he cared but a little over a year ago our plot took a turn when in our minds we started to believe that time was running out for us. That we should have been married already. That one of us needed still needed to grow up, while the other needed to ease her still guarded heart at age 22. The road we planned ahead vanished. I moved to Chicago. We barely spoke. It hurt too much. I never thought giving up would be an option, but it somehow became one in moments.

I'm not the same girl I once was, a lot had to change, pieces of me no longer exist. I've lived and died. Like nature, love is as lovely as it is gruesome. I've been shaken, carved from the inside out. I lost part of myself when I lost him. I could never compare Jake to another man. He is too unique, special, and selfless. It pained me daily that I had lost the one man who would do anything in the world for me. We were silenced for a year. I tried to start over and let time heal me. It did, a little. There were days when I felt time could be reset but quickly realized I couldn't go back to fix anything. A new season had begun. I was moved mentally, lost in a direction of healing, growing and finding myself through Scripture and simple days. Finding the real me. I started to feel better, although the heaviness of him couldn't flee my mind. There are things I miss that I shouldn't, memories roll down my cheeks often. But the biggest thing I've learned about my life is simply I don't have all the answers. God does.

 "And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves, growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had the familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer."
 I've heard everything you go through grows you. I once had patience in short supply but now it's overflowing, and I know how to be still. I received a letter from Jake. It was 3 pages full, explaining his heart. A part of the ending read, "I know I don't deserve you, and I can understand if you never want to talk to me again. At least know I never stopped loving you. I can't fathom a life without you in it. No matter if I've lost you forever, I will love and dream of spending the rest of my life with you. There will never be another girl that could match you. God blessed me with you, and even if 5 years was all I get to have with you it would be more life, love, fun, and joy that anyone could ever give me. You are deeply woven into every fiber of my life. Even if I never get to speak to you again, I love you. I love you so much it hurts, but I would gladly take the worst of our times over the best anyone else can offer.  Love, Jake"

I spent nights wide awake trying to decide where to start, say, and how to feel about the letter. It was as much of an answered prayer, as a tap on the heart. For weeks I felt timid but still at peace. I had already forgave him and knew our story was broken because of both of our failures to explain how we felt as we grew older into adults, when things changed, while life happened. Communication failed. Now it was time to talk. About everything. We spent a days together crying about all of our memories, questions, hopes, regrets, and answers. Coming to the final and very obvious conclusion that we simply couldn't live without each other. I stared at him moonly for moments on end. We started over, as adults, and took our friendship slow just like in the beginning. Fell in love deeper, and loved harder than any sadness that overtook us months before.
You don't have to have it all figured out to move ahead. In my life, I pursued a couple men who swiftly ran past my heart and hopes. I held my breath, said prayers, and realized I was wishing for unrealistic expectations. Take time in a man who is proud to know you and put in the effort to pursue you. Don't throw yourself or your heart at him. Be secure in what you deserve. When you find this man, you'll know. He'll be the one pursuit of your heart, mind, and natural beauty without your help.
One of the many, bigger reasons I knew Jake loved me this way was him and I have chose to "wait" our entire relationship until marriage for one another. The average person thinks, "that's extreme and weird", or "that's so old bible times." I don't expect you to understand. But take it from someone who has walked down a road I will always wish I had not as a teen. A little before I met Jake I made the wise choice of  avoiding the mere appearance of what the world called "love" because not protecting my heart led to a compromise of alone-time boundaries which blurred into regrets and even physical abuse. But what Jake and I saw in each other when we met was an ability to commit, a natural compatibility, and to put our hearts before our flesh. It wasn't easy but we made a confident decision that waiting was worth it since we truly were in love.

Through all of these years of swelling love, beautiful moments, and some sorrowful days,
we have both agreed that when couples love God first they love each other better. We have done nothing but fall in love all over again, better than the beginning, somehow. We are truly renewed. He looks at me as if I was the brightest thing he has ever seen. He calls me beautiful like it's my real name. I can't count the gardens of flowers he's surprised me with since day one. Love letters from teen years to now are overflowing my drawers by my bed. My love, my work, my regrets, my face have all been changed from what this world made me, and I chose to turn it back into a seed that is continually growing upward, outward, and brighter day by day. I miss being a child and often wish I could go back, but he keeps me young.

It took 7 years to grow with each other and learn to love selflessly. He proposed to me by the Brooklyn Bridge on March 7th, 2014. We will be wed January 10th, 2015
This love story is meant to be an outline of what love can be. Young love can turn into forever love. Crooked love can be made straight. Failures and faults can make you closer. Love is patient and kind. Don't give up on it.


Proverbs 3:3 - let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart
if you are a wedding photographer interested in our story please email  BlissBraoudakis@gmail.com 

all photographs by Mattiel Brown
clothingForever 21


24 comments:

  1. omg this is precioooouuusss

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  2. Beautiful words and lovely story!

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  3. To see a love story that is honest, in highs and lows, not a fantasy-glazed construction, but REAL and so much better for it-- that is a kind of grace to me. Thank you so much for sharing this, even with so many who may not know you. It is a gift.

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  4. Bliss, this has me in tears. Not only because of how beautiful and intimate your love story was, but because I can relate on so many levels. Thank you for sharing this and bravely proclaiming such a pure love. You're amazing <3
    -Violet

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  5. Love you Miss!!! This is so wonderful! I love how God works all things for good!!! ☺️��✨��

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  6. So in awe with your beautiful story, best wishes.

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  7. Amazing story, really touched me thank you.

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  8. So I just found your blog, and was floored by this post. It's so scary similar to what I'm going through this current moment that I actually prayed a little wondering why the Lord chose to do that! So just know that your words and beautiful story has encouraged me so much. Thanks for writing this. I wish you two all the best!!

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