sweet sixteen with gabe the babe

Sixteen years ago today, it was an unseasonably balmy 50-degree day in central Ohio, and girls all over the state were crying their eyes out because the hot young 21-year-old sports star/cool guy/camp counselor known as Gabe the Babe was about to be officially OFF THE MARKET.

(That didn’t stop one delightfully-desperate young lady in his high school graduating class from calling him up three days before, just in case he had cold feet and might change his mind and marry her instead.)

We were two crazy kids professing our undying love for each other and sailing off into the sunset toward lands and adventures unknown (aka, a little apartment in Warsaw, Indiana where I’d be a substitute teacher and the Babe would finish his college degree).

Three kiddos (and 11? homes) later, we are still madly (and miraculously) in love (hoping to release an e-book later this year about our rough go of it the past two years).

And, in honor of our special day, here (in no particular order) are 16 things I love about Gabe the Babe:

1. He’s ridiculously handsome. (Cuter now than when we first met.)

2. He’s the BEST girl dad EVER. (He was not a fan of our children as tiny, howling infants, but he just gets better and better with time and has some crazy sense of how to relate to our teen and pre-teen daughters, even though he’s never been a girl or had any sisters.)

3. He’s amazingly relational. (People who meet him for the first time are instantly drawn to him. And, whereas, I can often freeze up and not know what to say to someone new, he always has the perfect thing.)

4. He’s super-gifted and knowledgeable about all things computer and internet. (Can’t put a price tag on that one.) (Oh, drat. He just came into the living room and caught me writing this post–it was supposed to be a secret. I put my hand over the screen and asked him not to look, and he said he wouldn’t. He’d just go back to his computer, log into my site, and read it. Nice.)

5. He wants me to succeed–personally, professionally, and in all the other ways–and will do all he can to make it happen. (Like tell the newly-married personal banker at Huntington that he needs to read my book. And take him a copy.)

6. Everyday life has been an extra-big challenge for him these past two years (heart attack, then anxiety), but no matter how many times he wants to just give up, he keeps going.

7. He lets me decorate our new place with a slew of world maps, globes, and Banners by Bethany.

8. He loves God deeply and desperately wants others to know and love (and know they’re loved by) him too.

9. He smiles at my big, crazy dreams without discouraging them.

10. His recent suffering has made him so empathetic toward others in pain.

11. He loves to help and teach others. And he’s really, really good at it (and patient).

12. He’s cool with me not being all girly and curvy and fancy, and he still thinks I’m beautiful.

13. He’s a really (really) good hugger.

14. He’s doing an amazing job with this plant-based lifestyle gig. (And this is a man who spent the first 15+ years of our marriage eating all manner of meat, fried things, desserts, and anything that wasn’t naturally green.)

15. He’s super-creative and thinks outside the box and is all for doing things a bit (or a lot) out-of-the-ordinary and unorthodox.

16. God has some really cool plans for his life, and I’m honored and excited to be along for the ride.

Thanks for the last 16 years, Gabe the Babe. I’d marry you all over again in a heartbeat. Still not sure how I got so lucky. I love you, dude!

If you know Gabe, I’d love for you to share something you love about him too. xoxoxo

10 thoughts on “sweet sixteen with gabe the babe

  1. Kristin

    Your whole family is an inspiration, and you two form the most foundational relationship in it…..well, okay besides JESUS!! I pretty much love and agree with all of your statements about Gabe…yeah, some are personal for you to him, but I love that you feel that way about him. I think anything I say will be repeating something you already said, but I appreciate Gabe’s socialability. That may sound weird, but you can talk to him very easily and you instantly feel like you can be real and honest with him. It doesn’t feel awkward or surface-y like it can with someone you may not know very well or don’t talk to very often. And everyday I am inspired and amazed by his strength and will to push forward (I know it’s not of HIM), despite what he’s been through. It seems it would be so easy to give up in the situations he has experienced and amidst the feelings he has felt. Even though he HAS wanted to give up, somehow he still always chooses CHRIST and chooses to push forward, even if he doesn’t really feel like it. AND he always gives God the glory and points others toward Him. Though that is kind of Christian-clique-ish sounding, it is truly inspiring to see that lived out in real life before your very eyes. And the empathy he has for others (as a result of what he’s experienced, but also just naturally), is also very moving. Marla, you are one blessed lady, and I am grateful to be in community group with you guys 🙂

  2. Sharon

    I don’t know Gabe, but I love his wife 🙂

    Happy Anniversary! (It’s my daughters 1st birthday today. January 3 is a great day!)

  3. Laura Eckstein

    We love that….he loves our Marla sooooooo much! Knowing Marla….her parents, siblings and extended Yoder family….we would only want the very best man in the world to love Marla! Gabe was….is…and will always be that guy! Happy 16th anniversary and many, many more!!!!

  4. Drew

    Gabe and I went to high school together and he was my college roommate my freshman year (his sophomore year) of college. Needless to say, there are many stories that could be told… trick-or-treaters, hall carpet, campus safety adventures, soccer games and practices together. Details will be left out to protect… well, both Gabe and myself. lol It is no lie. Gabe the babe was a chick magnet! I still think fondly of those days and I’m thankful for that time in my life. It has been great to see how God has and is using both of you. I look forward to seeing how He continues to use each of you. Happy Sweet 16th Anniversary to you both!!!

  5. Krysten

    Gabe is also that great combination of a deep thinker and a not-afraid-to-be-silly kind of guy! His heart for others is BIG, especially when it comes to wanting others to know God’s love.

    I’m so thankful to have met you both a couple of years ago. Happy anniversary and here’s to 16, 26, 36, 46, 56, 66…more years together!! You two are an inspiration to all of us!

  6. Tug

    I love that he is still here, crying as I am typing. So thankful that when we were in school I was welcome wherever he was, with his friends or whomever. I love that although we don’t chat as much as we did I know that I always have someone in my corner and I in his. I could not imagine not have ever having him in my life. Thankful for l the stupid things we did together and the meaningful ones that have built a lifetime of memories. My prayer is that he continues to strengthen himself against everything negative health wise and

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