I thought I’d share how my relationship is going for two reasons: 1) because you all apparently care (which I’m basing on the crazy responses to any Tall-Shadow references on my writer page), which is totally sweet, and 2) not that I’m a dating role model by any means but simply so you can see the choices we’re making along the way.
Tall-Shadow and I live ninety minutes apart, so this means he and I are having to put in some serious effort (and mileage) to make this relationship happen. And though he and I are having our fair share of fun (mini-golf, go-karting, golfing, bowling, Starved Rock, Navy Pier, the movies, a boat ride, family dinners, double dates, and lots and lots of lunches and dinners both in and out, with and without kids), dating – for us – is not all fun and games. I am at the age where I am not dating just to be dating. I am not just hanging out with Tall-Shadow for the heck of it. He and I are both in it to see if we’d be suitable lifelong companions for one another.
Now, some of you may think that at under three months, that is just too fast to be thinking that way. You can think that all you’d like. But I am taking this journey very seriously, as is the sweet man. First of all, on almost every date, we ask good questions. I’ve even bought a bunch of dating-questions books and bring my Kindle along a good deal of the time.
Then, we worked through Freeway together, which was so great. I LOVE this small group material. In fact, in my twenty-five plus years of leading and being in small groups, this is hands down my favorite material yet. I cannot recommend it highly enough to do on your own, in your small group or as a couple. It’ll get you to open up and really dive in to your past hurts and to see the freedom that Christ wants for you in your present and your future.
We then finished that and met with his pastor to talk through some issues. I met with a sweet divorced woman who has recently remarried to barrage her with questions. And now we’ve started meeting with my counselor to begin talking through pre-pre-marital stuff (might as well figure all this out now, people). And we are going through Les & Leslie Parrott’s Saving Your Second Marriage Before It Starts book and workbooks.
Again, this may sound too soon to some of you, but my biological clock is ticking…and by that, I don’t mean as in to reproduce (for the love!); I mean that our combined age is 92 and we’re almost dead. We’ve been around the block. We’ve both been married. Life is short and we both know what we’re looking for, what we don’t want, the kind of people we want to be and the marriage we want to have this time around.
Now, one more thing I want to touch on. I know what it’s like to read someone’s blog or follow a musician’s career and feel as if I know the person…to feel like, “Well, that person did such-and-such, so I can too…” If you feel even an ounce of that with me, just by reading my blog, I want to gently caution you. You can “follow” me to the extent that I am trying to follow Jesus in this (but I’m still messing up along the way…I am totally human after all). But you cannot and should not follow me step-by-step in my process or in my timeline.
I told my daughter that I feel I have to do this all of this right because I have a thousand women watching me to see how I walk this all out, and my wise-beyond-her-years almost-eighteen-year-old said, “You’re putting too much pressure on yourself.” (She’s right.)
I may end up getting married sooner than some of you would think is prudent. (I also may totally not.) But what I need you to know is that I love Jesus; Tall-Shadow loves Jesus (ANY man I would even consider marrying would have to love Jesus); we are being prayerful; we are being thorough (trust me, I am leaving no stone left unturned); and because we have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us, we are the experts of our own lives, and have been given a spirit of wisdom and a sound mind to make our own decisions. Just like you.
So please, follow along with me, if you like…but please, do so more out of a healthy curiosity than as any kind of dating leader/guru/trailblazer. Because Jesus should be your one and only true Guide, and he is the only one who can tell you what’s best for you, just like he will with me.
If this post encouraged you, you’d benefit from Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage or Living through Divorce as a Christian Woman.