Love can make us do foolish things…
In high school, I dabbled in dating a little. Early on, I wanted to save my first kiss for marriage and only date one person. So, when my first relationship ended after just one weekend, my hopes and dreams were kind of crushed. Since that whole “only one man” thing went out the window, the rest of it kind of did too. I was pretty disappointed, even though looking back I knew it wasn’t ever going to work out. Some time later, I dated a good friend of mine for about a month, after which I ended it. I knew that he wasn’t exactly my mom’s first choice and I didn’t want to disappoint her. So a couple months later I secretly dated him for another month. Yep, that happened. Eventually, after feeling bad about lying to my parents, I ended the relationship again. Still didn’t tell my parents...I’m not actually sure that I ever did. Sorry mommy. Like I said, foolish things...
I actually really cared for the guy I was secretly dating (obviously not enough to date him openly...clearly I had some issues). After that relationship ended I wasn’t particularly interested in relationships again. Not until the summer before college, that is.
Although he had already flown out to spend a week with me, we had told each other that we loved each other, and had shared our first kiss, we didn’t officially start dating until the fall of my first semester in college. Because well, he didn’t want things to be “official” until we were physically living in the same location, rather than 1500 miles apart. But hey, we loved each other, so that was okay, right?. That’s kind of how the rest of our relationship went. Things were just out of place and not well thought out.
A long distance relationship isn’t for everyone. And it wasn’t for us. However, a face-to-face relationship also wasn’t for us. Without going into detail, that relationship (abusive, yes) brought me to a place where I had ZERO self-respect. I gave up far too much of myself, and didn’t allow anyone close enough to see what was really going on, including my sister. We took many “breaks” to try to see if that would help mend the hurts of our relationship, but that never worked. And why would it? If it didn’t work before, it wasn’t going to work again. In a whole year and half I hadn’t had the confidence to end the relationship, until one miraculous night when all my attachment to him was completely removed. Things really weren’t that different that night from the rest of the nights we had argued, but this time I was completely done. By the grace of God. By the grace of God.
Interestingly, that final night, the man I am now married to was bowling in the lane next to my ex and I. Allthough he and I were barely acquaintances at the time, he got to watch the final crumblings of that relationship, not even knowing that he would, three months later, be in a relationship with me.
More foolish things…
My heart wasn’t broken from the end of that relationship, but rather had been shattered to pieces somewhere in the middle of it. Rather than allow the Lord to heal that brokenness, I gave the pieces to another man. As you can guess, that didn’t go too well. I ended up in a rebound relationship with a friend of mine. It was convenient because my ex completely despised the guy. That was a nice little blow to his nether-regions, if you catch my drift (and to be honest, I kind of think he deserved it...Sorry, if you’re reading this). This relationship was one that neither of us ever had any business being in. We didn’t know it until about a month in, but things came crashing down pretty quickly.
That relationship alone threatened the bond I shared with my sister more than anything ever had, and probably ever will. We have a gracious God. Who gifted my sister with an immense amount of patience and love toward me. That love and patience actually led her to screaming at me in the stairwell of the hotel that we lived in at the time. I’m sure she was hoping that it might shock me into some wisdom. And I think it worked, because after my mom coming down to try to talk some sense into me, an encouraging phone call with the ex-boyfriend from high school (Yep, the one who I secretly dated...strange how things work out), and a week of not talking to each other, I chose my sister and ended the relationship.
Here’s a little, but very important side-note. After the end of my long term relationship, before the start of the rebound one (I was a mess, you guys!), my sister started talking to me about this guy “David” who was a friend of her boyfriend (now husband) Patrick. And who also lived at the same hotel we did. She was pretty open about the fact that David needed to break up with his girlfriend so that he and I could date. Because my sister is a good judge of character, she knew David wasn’t a total sh**head (I say that comfortably, because my mom would be okay with me using that reference toward the two men before David). On a particular night she declared to our friends that things really needed to end between David and his girlfriend. Little did she know that that very night, his girlfriend would be calling to end the relationship. There was magic in her words. End of sidenote.
After the rebound relationship, I was totally done. All I wanted was to grow closer to my sister and her boyfriend. I had decided that my primary focus was going to be fostering my relationship with God, and that he could do whatever the heck he wanted in my life. Cause clearly I wasn’t at a place to make good decisions for myself. Remember, I had ZERO self-respect, and he was going to have to fix that.
Because I spent more time with my sister, I naturally spent more time with her friends. Which included David. I think my first experience of him with our friends involved them taking “milk shots” in the hotel breakfast area. There wasn’t any alcohol in them…Just pure milk.
My sister was also a schemer. At first, all of us friends would hang out. We’d go on “family runs,” have swimming parties in the hotel pool area, play board games together, watch movies, and hang out in each other’s apartments. Although, I think we spent WAY more time in our apartment because the boys was ridiculously untidy and overcrowded. Before long, my sister became strategic. Conversations between herself, David, and me would often end as conversations between just he and I. Some of our swim nights were all too conveniently inconvenient for our other friends, leaving my sister, her boyfriend, David and myself to hang out. She would decline helping me carry supplies back to my room so that David would have to do it. There was one night that she provided me with a sleeve of Oreos to share with David during one of our conversations, which didn’t end until long after she left and in the early morning hours of the next day.
Eventually, my sister wasn’t there for our nightly conversations. I was comfortable with starting a conversation on my own, because he was now my friend, and because I wanted to (and probably also wanted to be more than friends). During those conversations we got to know each other better, and I found it refreshing to have a guy ask me about myself, rather than just talk about himself. I was impressed by how interested he was in my family, my pursuits and dreams, and my beliefs. In those then regular late night conversations (I don’t know how David did it, being that he was also a collegiate athlete...He literally ran off of very little sleep), it became apparent that he and I had a lot in common, and that we also really enjoyed each other’s company. While I knew how I felt about him, I was in NO hurry to enter into another relationship. I knew that his previous relationship had also ended not long before we started talking, and I didn’t want to chance ruining the friendship we had started.
I was working at Starbucks at the time and would often share food at the end of the week with the boys. One evening I told my friends that if they wanted to come visit me at work the next day I would be happy to buy them a coffee drink. The next day I started my shift wondering if anyone was going to stop by. As the end of my shift neared I felt certain that they were all going to miss out...Until David walked through the doors. I was happy to see him, and happy to provide him with a free drink. After quickly chatting with him while getting him his beverage, I honestly thought he had left. But a little while later I looked out across the dining and saw that David hadn’t left yet. Then it hit me. He was waiting. Waiting for my shift to end. Waiting for me....I probably started grinning goofily right then and there, because I had my confirmation. That man liked me. Like, he “like-liked” me.
Not only did we sit and talk for a bit after I got off work. But when I returned home later that afternoon, David was already hanging out in my sister’s apartment, essentially waiting for me to get home so that we could hang out some more. I can remember his smile that day when I got home. I had never been smiled at like that before…
My last foolish things...In regards to romantic relationships, anyway.
Some nights later, after David had been awake the night before studying for a test, we were sitting in the hotel lobby. A friend of ours was talking with us, and neither he nor I wanted to interrupt her. But the two of did want to talk as well. After what seemed like a long time of our friend talking, I figured that David would decide to go ahead and go to sleep. However, he didn’t. He laid there sleepily on the downstairs couch, but he didn’t leave. Which told me that he REALLY wanted to talk. I think it was past midnight when our friend finally ended her conversation, allowing David and I to start ours. Not long into it, David asked me, “Can I tell you something?” I really didn’t think anything of the question, and said, “Sure.” David then smiled, looked me in the eye, and stated, “Heather, I really like you.” I was so overjoyed in that moment, that I couldn’t even respond. I sat there for a moment, smiling, with my hands pulled up to my mouth. Eventually, I gladly responded, “I really like you too!” We then spent the rest of the night talking (which meant David stayed awake two nights in a row...he was a little exhausted the next day), and I ate the most delicious David-made hotel waffle the next morning. My sister and I joined us for breakfast, and I remember telling her that we had stayed up all night. She just looked at us, smiled, shook her head and said “You guys are crazy.” When she found out that we were “official” I’m pretty sure she started jumping joyously around whatever grocery store she was at. She was just a little happy about it.
From there, it was history...The foolish part of David and I getting into a relationship was that we literally had only been friends for somewhere around two weeks, and we were both fairly fresh out of some difficult and long relationships. However, we were upfront with each other, we knew that each of us had a lot of healing to go through still, and we took things SLOW. Graciously, God allowed that foolishness to work out pretty well.
Today, I am married to the most amazing, loving, respectful, godly, patient, not to mention HOT, man I could have ever imagined! He’s also the hands-down best father I could have ever wished for our baby boy. I am so thankful for the lessons God is teaching me through my husband, because gosh, he’s so in love with the Lord. I’m also thankful that God didn’t just leave me in my prior foolishness, to end up with someone who would NOT have been what I needed.
He allowed me to make some right choices in the middle of some wrong ones. And I guess that’s something I want to remind you all of too. We do some foolish things, but we always have the opportunity to make the right choice. To get out of a relationship that we know isn’t healthy, and to allow ourselves to be treated rightly. Or, to maybe stop saying yes to foolish things.