This is the second installment of our story. I'm choosing to share it with you because I want you to know who we are, where we came from, and why we are where and who we are today. You can find the first part by clicking here. Check back in a few days for the next installment!
I was 26 when I started dating Chris. I had been single & self-sufficient for years. I thought I knew myself.
In reality, I hardly knew myself at all.
I should have learned by our whole dating/not-dating stint that Chris calculates every move. What I know now and was completely ignorant to back then was that Chris was waiting for just the right moment to make us official. He wanted to be sure that if we did this whole dating thing that it would last, that it would end in marriage. He didn't want to lose me and our friendship if our relationship didn't work out. So he plotted. He planned. He waited. And when he was certain, without a doubt, sure that he could marry me one day, he made his move.
It turns out, it takes me a few tries before I get the hang of things. Like the fact that Chris waits, plans, plots and then perfectly executes said plan.
We started dating towards the end of October. I spent our first Thanksgiving with his family. I shoved my hand up a turkey for the first time, much to my disgust and much to his mother's delight.
Then, I met Chris's entire family at his brother's wedding that Christmas. ENTIRE. FAMILY. Every single one of them. Both sides. Two months after we started dating.
We had many moments alone. Many romantic dinners. There were plenty of opportunities for him to kiss me. I was 26 years old and never been kissed. I wanted him to kiss me for Pete's sake!
Here's where I should have remembered the months of our dating/non-dating stint. Months of waiting. Months of frustration. Then Chris makes a move and it was all worth it in the end.
December came to an end. New Years rolled around and we spent the day with Chris's parents. They treated us to a delicious dinner of Thai food and a stroll through the zoo's Christmas lights display. We wound up back at his parents' place to watch the ball drop.
Chris and I snuggled into the couch, his parents in the recliner. The clock was getting closer to 11:00 pm (because sleep is more important than seeing the actual New Year come in...), and we were preparing our champagne flutes. The TV kept panning over the crowd in Times Square, showing freezing, crazed celebrators. I re-situated myself from sitting on my butt to crouching on my knees, giddy with excitement to see the new year and all that it could bring.
The countdown started.
We all grabbed our glasses, preparing to clink them together for a celebratory toast for 2013.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
That's when I heard Chris go, "Come 'ere," and he wrapped his arm around my shoulder and planted a good one on my lips.
Kissing is so weird. Two people pucker up their lips and smoosh their faces together. So weird.
And yet, so amazing.
I wasn't sure if I did it right the first time, so I went in for a second try. And a third.
2013 was looking to be a pretty great year!
Once Chris dropped me off at the train, I texted my mom. And a few friends. I'm pretty sure all I said was, "HE KISSED ME!"
The months that followed included some really hard conversations. Some really hard processing through emotional baggage. It included reprimands and confrontations. Admonishment and edification. And so much learning.
I learned that there were better ways to resolve conflict than my ways of either red-hot rage or stone-cold silence. I learned that I actually prefer to resolve conflict by talking it out.
I learned that how I saw myself was actually rubbish in comparison to how Chris saw me. I learned that I didn't really like myself and how I talked about myself seriously offended him. I learned that there is a lot of grace in a growing, Godly relationship. That there is a lot of forgiveness needed. That asking for forgiveness can bring immense freedom.
I also learned that the man I was in love with was SO MUCH MORE than I knew or expected. He diligently prayed for and over me. He held me as I cried and mourned. He wasn't afraid to express his discomfort at my tears, but didn't shy away from them. He would surprise me with Starbucks and flowers. He never ran from confrontation and he wasn't afraid to cry.
Seeing myself through Chris's eyes taught me a lot, too. I saw value in myself. I saw beauty. I saw a funny, witty girl who could make a man giggle and laugh like a seal. I saw someone with unique quirks and weird habits that made me endearing to him. I was finally seeing the real me.
Our relationship grew in the midst of a Godly community. We were prayed for. We were loved on by so many people. We were supported. And I'm almost certain without that community, we wouldn't have flourished in the manner we did.
When we first started dating, I has no idea there was so much to learn about myself. And I'm so, thankful I didn't know everything. I'm so thankful there is still so much to know about myself and about the man I now call my husband.