Monday, November 12, 2012


I have always been independent. Even as a kid I wanted to do everything for myself and had no fear. And going far away to school increased that independent streak. Since college, I've lived by myself and have pretty much been able to handle whatever comes my way. Sometimes it does require paying someone to fix things or complaining a lot to my landlord to get rid of a raccoon. But I'm proud of my ability to handle things on my own.

But the downside of that independence streak is that I can be a bit of a control freak. I don't like change, so I really like to be in control when my world is changing. I'm also afraid of being hurt, so I have tendency to try to control my relationships whether it's a friendship or a dating relationship. And by control I mean that I often put people in boxes and limit who they are to me and what our friendship/relationship could be.

But when J came along, I handled it differently. In some cases, it was intentional and some of it not, but it opened the door to much more than I expected.

The Monday after J and I's first date, it snowed a few inches. I woke up to an email from him asking if he could come shovel my driveway. My first reaction was "no way." I didn't want to let down my guard and show that I needed something. I had parked at the end of my driveway so I could get out easily and resolved the situation in my own mind. But I forwarded it to a friend, and she immediately replied and said, "Your answer is yes and have some hot chocolate ready for when he is done." I took her advice and let him come shovel the driveway that evening. He drank hot chocolate with me, and we got more time to talk and get to know each other. And it was the beginning of me letting down my guard.

On our first date, we met at the restaurant, but after that he started picking me up for our dates. He opened the truck door for me every time, and I would even wait for him to come around and open it when we were getting out. (He still opens the truck door for me, but I'm not as patient anymore in getting out of the truck.)

I always let him call me, and while I suggested a few date ideas and the occasional restaurant, he generally came up with the plans for our dates and we had (and still have) a lot of fun on all of them. There were other things where he took the initiative, and I pushed down the desire to assert my independence. Basically, I let him be the guy.

This doesn't mean I became someone I wasn't or let him control me. I just stayed away from my defense mechanism of asserting my independence and trying to take control of everything to try to avoid being hurt (which really doesn't work anyway). And honestly, those things weren't healthy on my part.

In return, he treated me better than I had ever expected from someone. He didn't play games with me. He called when he said he would call. He surprised me with thoughtful gestures and sometimes gifts. He was clear about how he felt about me and where we stood in our relationship. He took the lead in our relationship, and it gave me a picture of what he would be like as a husband and leader in a family.

A few months into our relationship, he told me that he really appreciated me letting him be the guy and giving him the chance to treat me the way he believed I should be treated. It gave him the confidence to lead because I wasn't second-guessing every decision.

But to dispel any thoughts that I came out seeming needy in all of this, J also told me that he was attracted to my independence from the beginning. He knew I could take care of myself, and it made it more of a privilege for him that I let him in my life and let him do things for me. He also said that he breathed a sigh of relief on our first date because he knew I would not be a needy girl that called him three times a day.

Of course, a couple of months ago I called him at least four times in two hours — in my defense, he didn't answer until the fourth time — because I didn't have any hot water. He kindly rushed over, and it was once he got here that I found a card that said my gas had been turned off because the company switched out my meter three days earlier. But it just goes to show that somewhere along the way I let down my guard and started relying on him.

Friday, November 2, 2012


I haven't written much about J and how we met. Mostly, I've wanted to protect our privacy and avoid the trail of the world wide web. But it has no doubt been a big part of my life for the last eight months, and it seems odd to have left it out of this blog, especially since it's how we even met. So I'm going to be filling in the blanks in some random posts over the next few months.

In case you missed it, I let my sister write about me on this blog to include on Kelly's Korner's Show Us Your Singles. J's cousin's wife clicked on the link on Kelly's blog and got in touch with me about J. She and I emailed back and forth, and then she gave my information to J. He emailed and then called, and eight days later we went on a date. I'm still in awe of how it all came about. But J and I were talking recently about how perfect the timing was.

J had left his full-time job as an engineer for a construction company in town to have the chance to go in a different direction career-wise. In the meantime, he was finishing building a house, and when I say building, I mean he built it all himself. I had been told all of this ahead of time, and on our date he explained his unhappiness in his previous job and his aspirations for what he wanted to do next. And these weren't just vague plans, he was taking a class and actively applying for jobs.

I had been back in Columbia for six months and had my dream job. Work consumed me, but I loved it. However, in the months before I left Charlottesville, I was miserable in my job. I wasn't passionate about what I did, and it really was just a job that I felt stuck in. There were times in my job hunt that I wanted to walk away from that job without something else lined up. I wasn't in a position to do that, but the thought crossed my mind. Fortunately, God had me waiting until this dream job became an option and brought me to Columbia.

So when we were on our first date, I got where he was coming from. I understood why he left his job, and I was impressed that he was in a position to do that. Two years earlier, I probably would have written him off because he didn't have a job, but when we met, the unemployed thing didn't bother me. And just as he finished his house, the right opportunity came along for him, and he has a great job that he's enjoying.

On the other side, J says one of the reasons he was attracted to me was because I was so passionate about my job. I can definitely get on a soapbox about what I do these days, and I know I did that on our first date. But it wasn't a turnoff for him. He wasn't intimidated by my job or resentful of the fact that I care so much about it that it often consumes me. Since he started his new job back in May, we've discovered that we have similar work habits, i.e. we are both admitted workaholics. But again, a year earlier, I couldn't have cared less about my job. It's not possible for me not to do a job well, but instead of talking about how much I love my job, I would have been whining about how much I hated it, which probably would have been a turnoff for J.

So God picked this exact time to bring us together. Obviously, a big part of the timing is also that I actually picked up and moved halfway across the country six months earlier. But it was more than coincidence. God had each of our hearts in the right place when we met.