This was originally written more than a couple of years ago as a Facebook “note” but then I had someone request it because they remembered reading it and wanted to do so again. Anyway, I decided maybe I would just add it to my blog entries for my kids and anyone else interested.
So, here’s my story. My parents met when my mom was 14, at my Uncle’s gas station. My mom lived in Mississippi and my dad in Illinois. They wrote letters to each other until they couldn’t wait any longer and got married when my mom was just 18 years old. My parents have now been married 55 years and counting.
My dating story is completely different. I didn’t really date in high school, I was very busy being silly with my friends. Actually, I did have a few dates… like the real ones. You know, where the guys wonders if you want to go to the movies and halfway through the date you decide, what in the world am I doing? I can’t wait to get home to tell my girlfriends how awkward this is!!!
When I went to college, things changed. I met someone and at our first meeting we decided we literally couldn’t stand each other, until the next day we saw each other again… and we laughed. From that moment on we became best friends and were pretty much together all of the time. We had SO MUCH fun together all of the time. It was great and I was head over heels for this one and he was the same. I won’t tell you the next few years were a bed of roses… cause they weren’t. Circumstances caused us to question our relationship and we would break up and date someone else and then quickly realize how much we missed each other and no one really could ever compare.
I see so much on social media about dating and the wrong things to do and the right things to do. It has to be so confusing for the Christian teen these days. I LOVE that so many of the young people around me are trying to truly seek what the Lord wants for their lives and they aren’t trying to date just to date, or they aren’t bouncing from one bad relationship to another but sometimes I see such extreme caution that I think… how in the world will you ever know? I know, I’ve heard it all (or close to all of it) about Courtship vs. dating vs. whatever new trend or Christianese thing worked for someone else but I would like to challenge all of the youth out there to stop paying attention to someone else’s love life! It’s not your story. It’s their’s! Please stop comparing. Please stop coveting. Please. Just Stop.
The only thing I remember my mom ever telling me is that I should not be unequally yoked. That was it. Her complete guide to dating, was don’t date someone who doesn’t believe what you believe. You know that the boy I met in college, that quickly became my everything was Jewish? Jewish. Hey Jewish people are great…I mean, Jesus was a Jew… right?! But, let me state this a different way… I was a Baptist, Pig Farmers Daughter. For those familiar with Jewish traditions and beliefs, you will know this is not really “Kosher”… hahaha! See what I did there? After we had dated on and off for more than 4 years… his parents wanted me out. It was awful. They wanted me out of their son’s life and would do just about anything to get me out. I started to think about having a family with this man and what it was going to look like. If only I would’ve listened to the ONLY piece of advice my mom gave me about dating this would NOT be an issue. I had given my heart away, so now what do I do? *Insert here – “kids, listen to your parents they actually know something.”
My thoughts raced about what our future together would look like… we were now in our 20’s I had a full-time job and he was lying to his parents about our relationship to keep the peace at home. I’m sorry ladies, but really? If the guy you are dating or want to date, doesn’t resemble Rocky yelling Adrian’s name then my advice is… you need to look somewhere else. Seriously. The guy you end up with should want to show you off to everyone like he just caught the biggest and best fish in the ocean. This is the way you should feel. He should defend you to anyone, including his family.
So, at this point, I’m disappointed and frustrated. The cuteness and fun is being sucked out of the last 4+ years of my life and it is beginning to get pretty weighty. I took my students on a field trip to a pumpkin farm and the guy driving the tractor called me and asked me out. Guess what? I went. I know… I had a boyfriend! I’m a horrible person! I get that. But here’s what happened. I liked him. He was nice. He was polite. He had beautiful eyes. He showed me a future in a matter of minutes. I like to summarize it like this… we discussed potato salad and mayonnaise and decided to get married. Yep. That’s it. I told my Jewish boyfriend I had gone on a date. He sped away quickly in his red Nissan Sentra and didn’t call me for 2 months. In that 2 months time, my new boyfriend bought a ring just 3 weeks after our first date. DID YOU HEAR ME? He bought an engagement ring after 3 WEEKS of dates! I have no clue what you call that… is it dating? Is it courtship? Is it insane?? I don’t know.
We discussed mayonnaise and decided to get married. It was just the right time for both of us. We liked each other. We enjoyed each other. We had jobs, we had things we wanted to do and he wanted to find Jesus. So we got engaged just 2 months after our first date and we plan to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary this December. We have 3 beautiful children and parents that love us. We love each other, support each other and I can’t think of anyone that I would rather do life with. When we lost our son Henry, I couldn’t imagine what my life would’ve been like without him. He is the best dad and husband. He loves Jesus with all of his heart and serves other people in a way most people can’t even fathom. When other people talk about him, they use words like the most honest, trustworthy, genuine, and sincere… I like to throw cautious and a rule follower in there also for those of you that REALLY know him.
But that is MY story. So please young people, stop comparing your life to your peers. Please stop comparing your love story to someone else’s. You may not look across the room and know the moment you laid eyes on each other that this was the spouse God intended for you! I will guarantee no two, love stories are the same or should they be. I am pretty certain there is only one thing you need to be certain of… are you going in the same direction? Do you both want to seek after God and His desire for your lives? Do you both want to trust Him? And do you want to treat each other like you just caught the best fish in the ocean or won the biggest prize at the fair? And do you both like mayonnaise or miracle whip?
Just because Kissing Dating Goodbye has worked for some, doesn’t mean it’s your story. Just because you dated the wrong guy/girl doesn’t mean you won’t find the right one. Just because you date someone doesn’t mean you are going to marry them. You just might not. I’m sorry to break it to you. It’s just true. It may not work out the way you expected it to or the way it was described in a book. It may just work out the way God intended it, if you are seeking what is best by Him. Trust in His timing. Trust in His plan. Date for years or date for what seems like a minute, but once you decide to commit to marriage. Commit. And please stop comparing your life to someone else’s. Let their love life be theirs and yours be yours.