Once you stop looking for what you want, you find what you need. – Unknown
The Day I Stopped Looking
If you’ve read my other blog posts (How I Learned to Embrace the Single Life or My Ideal: Becoming the Person I Want to Love), you’ll understand that my journey through single life and dating has been one of fighting and personal growth. Fighting with what I want and what God clearly had planned for me and finally giving up and growing through the pain.
It has been neither fun nor easy, but I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had both dating or single. Both have shaped me and helped me be ready to be someone’s partner. And when I finally stopped fighting and started embracing what God placed in front of me each day, things got better pretty fast!
Depressing Dating Life
Earlier in 2012, I made a list of things I’d like to accomplish over the course of the year. One of those things was to go on a date. The reason for listing this is because I’d sworn off dating. It had become too hard and really depressing. I’d heard things like: “If you don’t drink, I’m not sure what we could do…”, “We are both mature adults, can’t we just be physical?”, “My kids have to come first right now.” I’d also been approached for dates on social media… No thanks. Not faulting any of these guys, but they just weren’t for me.
So after swearing off for a while, my good friend encouraged me to give dating a try, again. I agreed, but this time I was going to be WAY more picky about the dates I went on. I know some girls say, hey, it’s a free coffee, dinner, activity, whatever. But for me, I’d rather be cuddled on the couch with my cat watching a movie than be out with a guy who wasn’t for me. But, it is good practice… so I’ll give it another try.
This One Might Be Different
One night, a handsome guy that I kind of had my eye on for a while, approached me. He was direct and asked me out on a date for that weekend. My tummy did flip-flops, I felt light-headed and my heart “skipped a beat” or whatever… I agreed and could hardly fall asleep that night. It was a Tuesday, so I had 3 more days to obsess over what to wear, what I’d say, all those fun things. Plus, he wouldn’t tell me what we were doing, so you can add fear and worry to the list too!
“Dress warm, but you’ll want to be able to move around. I’ll pick you up at 1pm.” That’s all I got when he called me Friday before our date. AH! Torture. He truly doesn’t understand women. But, he knew what he was doing — he was making a solid first impression, taking me out of comfort zone. That comfort zone is called CONTROL. 🙂
February 11, 2012
The day had finally arrived. I picked out my outfit the night before — a turquoise turtleneck sweater, my good dark jeans and nice black boots. My hair was down, framing my face, and I did my makeup the best I’ve ever done it. I was ready to go 30 minutes before he said he’d pick me up — for this girl, that’s a miracle.
Before he got there, I said I prayer. I asked God to remove all my previous ideas about dating and thoughts about how this particular date should go. I asked Him to help be to be relaxed, not overly controlling, and to help me enjoy the day. Then, I jammed out to some of my favorite music — Miranda Lambert’s “Kerosene”. For so long, I just loved this song: “I’m giving up on love because love’s given up on me!” That is truly how I felt. Although I hoped this guy would be different, part of me was OK with being single forever.
My Last First Date
And then there was the knock on the door. I slammed my computer shut, took a deep breath, and opened the door. There he stood, in an orange flannel shirt and jeans. His charming smile and sparkling eyes. “Are you ready?”
The butterflies welled in my stomach. I grabbed my coat and said “I am.” But inside I wanted to scream. Full of fear, excitement, wonder. This stud was here, at MY door, taking ME out. It was like straight out of a movie. I had no idea where we were going, but I walked out that door and down the stairs anyway. And as I followed him to his car, I had a feeling well up inside me, stronger than any gut-feeling I’ve had about a guy to that point — “This is it. He is it.” Oh man. Could this be real?!
As we drove across town, we chatted. I still had no idea where we were going, but I was feeling strangely calm about that fact. After about 10 minutes, he pulled out a pair of knit gloves from his center console and tossed them in my lap. “By now, you probably know where we are going.” I still was clueless. We kept driving… all the way down to campus. I had no idea what we were going to be doing!
Finally, he parked. We ended up at the local ice skating rink! Oh no!! I’d NEVER done this before! And the fear set in. I started to feel combative and wanted to leave. I hate doing things I don’t know how to do. Yes, I’m terrified of failure. Especially on a first date. I didn’t say anything; I got quiet and just kept breathing.
As we stood in line (the place was packed!), I tried to listen as he told me about work, but really I just kept thinking of how stupid I was about to look. I secretly hoped the place would be full and we couldn’t get in. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.
My New Safe Place
As we laced up our ice skates, I calmly told him I’ve never done this before. And he smiled. As I tried to stand up, he offered his hand. We placed our coats in some seats and stepped out on the ice. I wanted to throw up — fear was consuming me. Little girls whizzed by us, laughing and doing tricks. I felt like an idiot.
He grabbed my arm and said “I won’t let go until you tell me to.” At that moment, I was an overwhelming sense of peace came over me. I was still afraid to fall, but somehow knew that if I did, it’d all be ok. Here was a guy who didn’t judge me because I was less than perfect at something. In fact, all he wanted was be by my side and allow me experience something new and provide support as I did it. He wanted me to have a good time. And I did.
At some point as we slowly glided around the ice, I had the thought: How symbolic is this?! He is supporting me and being strong while I’m in fear. It was like he knew my deepest secrets. This was unlike any date I’d ever been on. And I never wanted to experience anything other than this. This was my new safe place, with him, in his arms.
We Began Over Coffee
At some point in a lap around the ice, he asked me if I was hungry or thirsty. I said no. Later I learned he thought I meant I didn’t want to continue the date! But I said no because I didn’t want to stop! Our first miscommunication… the first of many 🙂
Eventually we stepped off the ice and headed over to a coffee shop. It was there that my love for this man began. We talked like we were old friends. It amazed me how much we had in common and how similarly we looked at life. I know many couples have different views on a variety of things, and that’s perfectly fine; for us, we see things a lot alike. And that’s important to me.
I learned about his family of origin and how he became the man he was at that point (I say it that way because he’s continued to grow and change). He shared some beliefs, his faith, his journey with God — and I was mesmerized. I never wanted this day to end. As I shared my story and journey with God, he listened and even asked questions. He was engaged and I knew he wanted to know me. Like really know me. It was amazing.
The Rest is History
After almost 3 hours of talking, we realized we should end for that day… Although I was bummed, I appreciated his desire to date differently than most people around us. He let me know we’d keep our conversations to times like this and that there would be very little talking in between. Although this was different for me, I was weirdly ok with it. He dropped me off, we said goodbye (no kisses) and I knew I’d hear from him again. And I did. We continued dating for 2 1/2 months. Until he proposed on May 6, 2012.
We planned our wedding and were married 6 1/2 months later on November 24, 2012. And I still look back on that first date and am so grateful I said yes, and didn’t try to control it. I let it be what it was and can see how God meant that day to be for us. It was the beginning of our journey together. And because of that, it was magical and I love telling this story.