22 March 2011

51 Weeks [in which there is weeping and gnashing of teeth]

Now that I had come home for good, Jared and I were together two or three times a week, whether out on a date, at a church event, or with our families. Speaking of families, we quickly found that we loved spending time with both sides, different as they were.

(I think the best way to explain that is with an illustration.  If my family is walking down the street, it looks like a circus parade. Someone running, someone skipping, someone singing, someone piggybacking another. If his family is walking down the street, they . . . well, walk.

This difference plays itself out in our marriage, but we like it. Yesterday Jared and I were indeed strolling down a sidewalk; he looked down at me and laughed, "I can always tell when you're happy. You start to bounce.")

One of the first things we did that summer was go to NEXT, a Sovereign Grace Ministries conference aimed at young adults. It was a great weekend of learning and growing in faith; we also grew in our relationship because we saw each other almost all day, three days in a row. I enjoyed doing normal things together, not just "date" things. Buying train tickets, carrying luggage, packing lunches. That carried over to the rest of the summer. I loved it when we had a chance to work alongside one another (this often happened in the context of church events, such as when we helped to move Millersville University students into their dorms).

We apparently took Mark and Rachel to Pine View for ice cream. :)

In the midst of all these actions was plenty of emotion to make things interesting. I had no qualms about opening up my fears, hopes, and insecurities to Jared; he seemed to have no qualms about listening, then walking through them with me. At the beginning of the summer, those emotions had less to do with our relationship than with life in general. I was so happy to find that when I admitted my weaknesses, he moved in to meet them, rather than backing away nervously.

Furthermore, whenever we had a conflict we addressed it head-on. Neither of us like letting arguments simmer on the back burner. We talked about our problems, honestly addressed the issues behind them, and did our best to restore peace quickly.

So one of the greatest things I realized in those months was that I could trust Jared-- a rare thing.

But how was it going in the romance department? Herein lies the drama.

My family went on vacation to Maine, and I missed Jared. We came back, and I wanted to spend time with him. However, my feelings for him were definitely not moving beyond friendship, as I thought they should by this time.

Mostly, I wasn't certain how he felt. Did he like me? I supposed he did, since we were still dating. But really. Did he like me?

I wished for some confirmation of his affection, for words or actions that would tell me which way he was leaning. I had a tight grip on my heart and refused to open it up for love until I knew it would be reciprocated. Despite the lovely things we did together, and despite the countless qualities I admired in him, I realized that I could not marry Jared yet. I wanted to love him, but I most certainly did not. And I was wise enough to know that pretending would do no one good.

I was growing frustrated. My extreme swings of emotion frightened me and made me doubt if I would ever, in a rather Austenite phrase, "come to know my mind."

To make matters worse, I felt as if most people around us assumed that we were madly in love and that we'd already made wedding plans. Hardly! At this point, I would sometimes ask myself what I'd do if we were to break up, and never felt terrible about the possibility. Certainly it would be sad, and I would wish that it had turned out differently, but I had no attachment beyond that of close friendship-- and that, most likely, could be maintained even if we stopped dating. I knew that marriage was not an option as long as I felt this way.

Now I realize that time was the missing ingredient (well, and a few other things, but we'll get to that later). But for most of that summer I could not see any way forward. It seemed like Jared was perfectly fine with how things were going. So I was the one hanging back. Fantastic. How was I going to get through this?

I suppose this phase of our courtship crescendoed at the end of July, when two very important conversations took place . . .


  1. The most avid fan of your relationship can't take anymore cliff-hangers.

    Seriously, though, I'm really enjoying hearing the story. Looking forward to the rest!

  2. AND???? I haven't heard this part of the story. Please don't leave your readers in suspense tooooo long! :)

  3. Ditto Andrew. The little I know keeps getting better with each new post.

  4. Yes! Don't leave us hangin'! :-)


    PS: love the new background

  5. Oh you would leave us hanging now, wouldn't you??!!

  6. Matthew Taylor23 March, 2011 12:28


  7. You don't have to have cliffhangers for me to come back. I love hearing your story. Can't wait for the continuation. :-)

  8. Maybe if I didn't post a grammatical error on the grammar nazi's blog, she would do less cliff hangers? ;)

    *any more.