Two months ago today, I met David in the Target parking lot for our first date.
No, we didn’t go to Target.
It was just a safe and convenient place to leave my car and to meet for the first time. I was extremely nervous about this meeting, because I had a strange feeling it might change my life forever.
Back up to about a month prior to our first date. I was on the last leg of my eHarmony journey and quite pessimistic about ever meeting a decent man. If you’re wondering why, just skip back a few posts and refer to all of my wonderful matches. I had given up really about two months in to my one year membership and had since been using eHarmony as
1) entertainment and
2) a social experiment.
So on April 29th, with a little over one month left in my membership and knowing that I would not be renewing, I was online gathering the last of my “data” for my aforementioned blog. It was then that I noticed a message from David. I ignored it at first, but something made me go back to his profile. I wrestled with myself:
“What’s the harm in responding? What’s the worst that could happen?”
“Yeah, that’s what you said the last two times.”
I had given up. There was no hope for me. I was doomed to a life of solitude watching the people around me pair off and marry. But some shred of hope must have remained, because I did send a response.
We went through the first couple steps of eHarmony’s “guided communication” that day. I can’t remember why, but after that day I didn’t respond again until May 19th.
Poor guy, haha.
After my response, I received the first “eHarmony mail” from him. This was our first real free-form communication outside of the structured question and answer series. I found myself smiling like an idiot at the cell phone in my hand when I got the notification that he had sent me mail. I was in Winn-Dixie, standing in their bargain section at the front of the store. I had to force myself to not respond right then and there, standing in the middle of the grocery store.
We messaged back and forth for the next couple of days. I was amazed at how much we had in common and at how easy it was to talk to him. When my eHarmony app went on the fritz, we switched to emailing back and forth. We covered all the basic “get to know you” questions in those emails, and even moved on to more serious topics. We both knew that we were looking to be married. I was very up front when we started talking and told him that if at any point he felt like things weren’t going to work out, he needed to say so. I wasn’t interested in playing any games. He agreed that it was best to end things as soon as either one of us began to lose interest. There was no point in dragging things out. So as our conversation progressed via email, and as neither one of us was ending it, we decided that it only made sense for us to go ahead and meet. So on May 24th we exchanged phone numbers and made a date for Memorial Day, May 26th.
Fast forward to that day in the Target parking lot. We had decided to do lunch at the Cheesecake Factory and then go to the botanical gardens. I was excited and nervous, but honestly didn’t want to get my hopes up. I had the mentality that this was too good to be true. There couldn’t possibly be a guy out there who met all of my qualifications for marriage and was actually interested in me as well. I feared it would be yet another awkward date and that I wouldn’t hear from David again.
Boy, was I wrong.
He pulled up beside me and met me as I was getting out of my car. We did the awkward side-hug thing and said, “Hey! Good to meet you!”.
And that was where the awkwardness ended.
I got in his car and we headed to the Cheesecake Factory. We talked the entire way there about a little bit of everything, and the conversation continued all the way through lunch, cheesecake and beyond. Our waitress kept coming back to check on us, and I really couldn’t tell you how long we sat there talking! It was like we had known each other forever. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.
We discovered during our email correspondence that we are both childhood cancer survivors. I had leukemia when I was 14. He had rhabdomyosarcoma when he was 3. I mean, really…what are the odds? I realized quickly during our restaurant conversations that he could understand me better than most people. And he could potentially accept me for who I am and the way I am. We are both people with stories and scars and have been through way more than most people at this stage of life.
We finally moved on from the Cheesecake Factory to the botanical gardens, and conversation continued. We broke every cardinal rule of first dates and discussed previous relationships and yes, even talked about marriage. He told me about his college years. I talked about work. The afternoon was progressing and we had walked the entire gardens. We came to a little intersection in the path and I stopped walking. I said “Ok, so we can keep walking around or go this way and leave.” He paused for a moment, hesitated and said “Well if we leave, where will we go next?” I know I was smiling ear to ear. Neither one of us wanted the date to end, so we decided on ice cream.
But the date did eventually have to end. While enjoying our ice cream, we discussed a second date. And when he dropped me back off at Target, the goodbye hug wasn’t awkward at all. I drove home smiling to myself and knowing that this was the beginning of something that I’d been waiting for my whole life.
I guess as they say, the rest is history. I knew by the next afternoon that I was 100% going to marry this guy. I also knew that the general public would find this information quite alarming.
I’ll be straightforward and say that when marriage was discussed on our first date, it was very general. As in we never discussed being married to each other, just what we expected and wanted out of marriage. We both wanted and expected the same things. And we both had the same ideas about love.
My understanding of love is not the popular one. I don’t for a second believe that true love is something that flies out of a bow and arrow and hits you in the butt one day. Love is not the butterflies in your stomach when someone says something nice to you or holds your hand or kisses you. Love is not something you fall into or out of.
Does David give me butterflies and make me smile and make me feel “in love”? Yes. Absolutely he does. Is that what I define as love? Absolutely not.
I think for a relationship to work you do have to be attracted to each other. That is what sparks the initial feelings of interest in another person. Some characteristic, physical or otherwise, draws you to that person. And from there, you build your relationship. You “fall in love”. But at some point you have to make a decision. You have to choose whether or not that person is someone you’d be willing to sacrifice everything for. You have to decide that you are going to commit to being with that person no matter what happens. Because one day you may not feel all that attracted to the person you’re married to. And you certainly won’t always have those butterflies fluttering around in your stomach. But choosing to stand beside, support and be committed to that person anyway, THAT is love.
Maybe it’s weird or irrational, but after that first date I made my choice. I knew all that I needed to know. David meets all of my qualifications and then some. I know he isn’t perfect, but neither am I. He passed all my “deal breaker” tests, and I passed his. We are still learning all of the little things about each other, but what couple isn’t?! Even 20 years from now, I doubt I’ll know everything about him.
We both entered into this knowing that we wanted to be married. Now we both know that we want to be married to each other. Don’t worry, the insanity of the whole thing is not lost on us. We both laugh about how crazy it really is.
No, there’s not a ring on my finger yet, but it’ll happen soon enough. Right now we are planning for our immediate future and have a fun trip to Wisconsin planned at the end August for him to meet my parents!
God brought us together in His perfect timing. I was on my last month of membership and had given up. David had just decided to intentionally search for a wife and was about six weeks in. We almost missed each other. Had I not been such a cynic looking to make fun of all of the clueless guys on eHarmony, I wouldn’t have even logged in to see his message.
When I stop and think of all of things in my life and his that brought us to where we are today, I cannot even begin to thank God enough that our paths were allowed to cross. That either one of us is even alive is amazing. That both of us are alive is a miracle. Our lives together can and will be used to glorify God to the best of our abilities. Please join me in praying as we plan for our future. We want God’s best for us and there are many decisions to be made
A year ago I was a girl with a broken heart. During that time, I built some walls that I said would never be penetrated.
Two months ago my walls started crumbling.
I have been praying my whole life for David. I didn’t know who I was praying for, but now he is right here in front of me. I see in him the answer to all my prayers cried in frustration, all of my tears cried in loneliness and all of the years I spent waiting.
I can honestly say he is worth it all.