I didn't date much in high school. Not much at all. And it wasn't because I didn't want to! I thought for sure that going to a Christian college was going to solve that problem. Freshman year I met a guy at a week-end retreat and we clicked. We dated the rest of freshman year, and I thought we were going to get married. The thrill went away when I began to realize he was not going in to study when I went in to study. He was totally wasting his time and flunking out of school. I was a very serious student, and that didn't set well with me. Then I discovered he couldn't manage his money. It wasn't going to work out for us - my idea. But it was hard anyway.
I went through the rest of college being lonely. When you graduate from a Christian college without an "equally yoked" partner, the future seems pretty grim! That is, if you want to get married.
My college roommate (who was in the same boat) and I moved to a small town in southeast Kansas to teach school. I posted about this during my Job Saga series. I was not happy there, and ended up moving back home with my parents. It was not a good time. My heart was broken during this period of time by "the rancher".
It was at this juncture that I was one of a very few "career young adults" (read single and lonely) in our church. There were several other small evangelical churches in our town, and we did a lot of things together for great fellowship. My dad and his best fellow-pastor friend asked me to try to get some activities going for all of the "career young adults" in all of these small churches. I thought that was a great idea and ran with the idea.
Now - I happened to know that Dad's good pastor friend had a son who had just recently graduated from college and moved to our town to work (his dad had come to pastor here after the son had left home, so it wasn't really "home" to him). I learned that he had a new friend who had just moved to our town from the Midwest. I remember writing down their names in my little notebook and beginning my quest for more people to join together for some "career young adult" fellowship - badly needed by me, at least.
The bad news - I didn't really unearth too many people who seemed to need or want this organization. But I had a core group - these two guys and me! I had to figure out a way to meet these two. It was my new mission in life. Because my dad's pastor friend refused to introduce me to his son - didn't want to get involved in something that might backfire on him!
I began to go to everything that might possibly bring these two guys out. I didn't know how, but I KNEW I would KNOW who they were when I saw them.
We had a small, but good group of this age group in our church at the time, and we enjoyed fellowship in our Sunday School class. But there were more gals than guys, and none of the guys were of interest to me. But we did have good fun every Thursday night when we played volleyball together. Suddenly a great idea DAWNED upon me! I presented the idea to my class - let's invite the "career young adult" class from the church these two guys attended to play volleyball with us. They thought it was a great idea, not even suspecting my ulterior motive.
I have a confession to make at this point - I really hate volleyball. I have never enjoyed any activity that had the possibility of a ball hitting me in the face - it goes way back to elementary school when I was stuck out in the far outfield during baseball games at recess. And I can't serve a volleyball over the net to save my soul. But I went every Thursday night because I was desperate to get out of the house - I was back in a small bedroom in my folks' house after having been on my own for quite awhile.
Wonder of wonders - the other church group agreed to come and play. Of course, this was something these two guys would show up for - it was a sport! I went out and bought a new slack and top outfit and watched all the other girls show up in their grubbies. Not fair, I suppose, but isn't all fair in love and war??
My heart was in my throat as these two really handsome guys showed up first - I was the only one there from our church (p.k., you know - we were always the first ones to any service or activity). I introduced myself. And began to shamelessly flirt with the son of my dad's friend. I spent a lot of time on the floor - I told you I am REALLY bad at volleyball (or most any other sport). I did not pay much attention to the other young guy, the one who had moved out recently from the Midwest.
That was a Thursday night. On Saturday I was taking a trip to visit my college roommate - the one who had left me and moved back closer to her home in western Kansas. I had really been looking forward to this trip, and suddenly I didn't want to go - what if one of these neat guys called me and I wasn't home? Would he ever call again??
Bad news - nobody called! But - on Tuesday, the OTHER one called me. We talked for a long time, getting acquainted on the phone. He had such a great voice, and I really really liked him. He asked me to go for a ride in the mountains on Sunday.
Now, remember, there had been a REALLY LONG dry spell in my romantic life. The very next night, the phone rang - it was a guy. The son of my dad's pastor friend! I could not believe it. We didn't have a long conversation, just enough to make a date to go to the Icecapades on Saturday night - yep, the day BEFORE the ride to the mountains with the OTHER one.
Needless to say, I had a hard time keeping my mind on my work for the next two days. On Saturday night L. picked me up for the trip to the Icecapades. I had always wanted to go to the Icecapades, and we had a really nice time. Nothing heart-stopping. Just very pleasant. He didn't book another date.
The next day, DC picked me up in his beautiful brand new Monte Carlo - I think I fell in love with his car before him. We had the greatest time - we drove and talked and drove and talked. We had so much in common. He practically planned up the whole summer doing things together. I was in heaven. I remember telling my mom that L was really nice, but DC was ready to settle down!
We did begin to see each other and/or talk most every day. L didn't seem to notice. By the time he got around to asking me for another date, DC and I had really developed a relationship. DC had to tell him - L didn't mind. He truly wasn't ready to settle down, and he was happy for DC and me.
This was in April. Things got serious really quickly. In June I went on a trip with my sister and a friend, and I know I bored them silly with DC's name in every other sentence. When I got back home, we began to seriously talk about a permanent commitment. I couldn't believe it was going so fast. But I realized that we both were older and had lived independently, knowing what the other one would bring to a marriage. We had been hurt and knew what we did and did not want in a partner. We were both eldest preacher's kids and had been reared with a tremendous sense of responsibility. We both loved the Lord. We had saved ourselves for each other.
It wasn't long before we were looking at rings. We found a beautiful diamond with a minute flaw. We chose it and decided it would remind us that, no matter how beautiful, nobody is perfect and no relationship is perfect. We chose a set of rings that involved the stone being sent to Kansas City for setting. It took much longer for it to come back than I imagined.
It was a beautiful October Saturday. L and DC were watching football in DC's apartment - he had a large console colored t.v. I had gone fabric shopping and found the perfect off white velvet that I wanted to use for my wedding gown. I stopped by DC's place to tell him we needed to tell our folks we were engaged pretty soon - and I really needed to buy this fabric, because it was on sale until Monday! How romantic is that??!!
We were going roller skating that night with DC's sister and her husband. Now, you know how I feel about sports. I'm a lousy skater, but I was game to go. It was the couple's skate - they cleared the floor of single skaters, lowered the lights and put on romantic colored ones, played "Ebb Tide." It was great. As we were skating around (I was okay as long as I was hanging on to DC's hand), he began to ask me interesting questions. The one I remember the most was, "When we get married, will you sometimes do what I think is best, just because I am the husband?" I immediately agreed! I have to say I didn't think that one through too carefully. Then he somehow managed to stay up on his skates while pulling something out of his pocket - my ring had arrived that afternoon after we talked! He had made a quick trip to the jewelry store 15 miles away, picked up the ring, stopped by to ask my Dad's permission (so romantic and sweet!), went back home to get ready for our date, and picked me up on time.
I must say - I was so shocked when he pulled out the ring, after the conversation we'd had that morning, that I literally ran into the wall! At least I didn't fall flat on my face. I excitedly put on the ring and began flashing it in front of my SIL. She was so excited for us!
We set the date for December 28 - two months hence. His folks had been out in August, were coming again for Christmas, and we figured they would have a hard time coming again in April, which was when I really wanted to get married. I made my dress, my going away dress, my sister's bridesmaid dress, my mom's dress, worked full time 50 miles drive one way - and got it all done in two months. It was a very low budget, but beautiful wedding. And 35 years later, we're still going strong. We've been through a lot in the last few years, but God has brought us through and made us stronger.
INTERESTING FOOTNOTE: L and my sister met that July when my sister came home for a brother's wedding. They instantly hit it off. She was not at all eager to meet L, because she had been "set up" for so many dates that she was pretty gun-shy. At our wedding in December, he told her he loved her. They got married the next November. We've been best friends and family ever since. So awesome.