The Way We Were

Filed under From Marriage to Motherhood on Oct 13 12 by

The Way We Were

As this whole journey of mine deals directly with my husband, I thought I should tell you how we met and came to be a couple. It’s a rather funny story actually. Have you ever met someone, and instantly thought, “I will not be friends with them; they are strange!”? That’s how I felt about Dave when we first met. He had just come off of working at a summer camp in Michigan, and was all summer-camp-hyped. He even did “happy hands”. You know what I’m talking about—the thing you see people do when they get really excited on a game show, where they just wave their hands around and act insane because they just won a hutch or something. He was sitting on a couch across the room from me during our orientation to the Leadership Development Program we had both just arrived to. So on this couch was Dave, the Irishman, an older Australian, and a Canadian so laid back I thought he might be going backwards (sounds like the start of a great joke right?). I thought, “I’m staying away from the people on that couch”—which is easier said than done when you are all living in the same house in a very small town in Ontario. By the end of the year, all three of the guys on that couch were my closest friends in the program. That, my friends, is the definition of irony—I looked it up just to make sure.

Dave was the first person I was actually “just friends” with before we dated. We were both involved with other people when we first met. I had just come off of a summer relationship, which I thought was very sophisticated since we had decided at the beginning of the summer we would break up at the end—now I think this was rather stupid. He was still in the “it’s complicated” phase with another girl. Then, as soon as I got to Canada, I jumped right into a new relationship, because that’s what I always did. So during that time, Dave and I were friends—good friend,s actually. And by Canadian Thanksgiving (that’s in October), he knew my life story.

After Thanksgiving, we took the bus back to camp together, and I told Dave all the terrible decisions I had ever made. I’m not sure whether I was trying to shock him, or if I was testing his ability to still like me once he knew the real me. He told me later that this bus trip, and all that I told him, impressed him more than ever. He had never had someone be so raw and real and just pour out her soul to him. And isn’t that what we all fear? Pouring out our innermost flaws? How many times had I tried to hide that stuff from people, hoping that they would like me enough to accept me before they found out everything?

We were inseparable after that. We would spend hours just talking by the wood stove in the kitchen. During Christmas break, we were e-mailing each other twice daily. My most recent boyfriend, the snowmobile racer, had broken up with me in a devastating way, and Dave was there to pick up the pieces. Dave knew he had feelings that were more than friendship for me; I had no clue yet. My mother knew before I did. She kept asking why I needed to be in such constant contact with this guy if we were “just friends”. When I explained that he was my best friend, she just smiled and nodded (isn’t it annoying when moms are right?). By February, my growing urge to kiss him made me realize we were not in the “just friends” circle anymore, and that terrified me.

Dave was literally my best friend. What if I lost him? What if we tried this whole relationship thing, and it blew up in our faces? I didn’t think it was worth it—I couldn’t bear to give up this amazing friendship, even if there was a chance it could be even better as something more. I had always just jumped into relationships with guys—head underwater, no scuba gear in sight. It had mainly ended badly, and I was so done! I told God I was done with guys for awhile, and I asked him to just stop putting them around me. Dave was also scared. He knew how much I had been hurt, and he didn’t want to be one of “those guys” who acted like a friend at first, but always wanted something more. He actually prayed that God would take away the “more than friend” feelings he had for me, so that he could be the friend I really needed.

After a month of battling these feelings, we tentatively decided to date. I immediately got cold feet, and I tried to break up with him at least once a month for the next three. I say “tried” because he would always shut down my excuses. “You live in Ireland,” I would say, “I’ve never been good at long distance relationships.” He would say, “I’m right here for now, and we’ll figure that out when we get to it.” On and on the pitiful excuses went, but he always had an answer for them, coaxing me sweetly, gently, to the realization that God just might have sent me a man that could love me the way He wanted me to be loved.

By April I knew I wanted to marry him. I know, I know, I went from one extreme to the other, but I’m a “just make a decision” kind of gal. I remember sitting in my bunk bed during the beginning of summer, and crying out to God. I told God I needed an answer about His will, if this was “the one,” because I was in danger of totally giving my heart away. That is one of the first times in my life I know I got an almost audible answer from God—a definite “yes.” We had spent all year getting to know each other so intensely, allowing God to work in both of our hearts through each other. Now here we were, two people who weren’t sure marriage was ever gonna “be” for them, looking towards a future together.

In September, the program and summer camp were over, and I truly didn’t want to see him get on a plane and fly back to Ireland. So he came home with me in September, and proposed to me within the first few weeks of staying with my family and I. I went to his for Christmas and met his family, and in April of 2005 we got married. We have had quite the adventures ever since—some fun and exciting, others tough and grueling. But those are for another day.

So that’s how we came to be, how we started this journey of life, love, hardships, and children. That’s the way we were, now I’ll get back to how we came to be parents.

-To be continued-

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Leigh Eddy Nelson
Leigh is currently a stay-at-home-mom, or SAHM, ministering to the community around her at The Oaks Camp and Conference Center in Lake Hughes, California. Writing has been a passion of hers since she was a little girl, and God has given her a gift to share her experiences in life, love, marriage, and her journey to, and through, motherhood. Follow her journey here every month!