I never grew up with a 'man of the house' to reel in my wild and curious nature. By the age of two, my parents were separated. By age 10, I was a smart-mouthed terror. By the time I was 20 I had three failed relationships with boyfriends, for various reasons. Though I made many male friends in an attempt to fill a void, I closed myself off to the idea of sharing committed relationships with them. I was resigned to believe there were no success stories with love; it would be only a matter of time until even the solid couples I knew fell apart, too.
As my senior year in college came to a close and my need for independence became a calloused wall surrounding my heart, a co-worker insisted on scheduling a blind date for me. This spunky tattooed vixen and her lumberjack of a boyfriend at the time insisted that I meet him. I threw my own girl friends into the mix for consideration in place of me, but each was shot down. In an ironic twist, Mr. Blind Date refused blind-dating on his end, too. This just wasn't going to happen. It wasn't until the Vixen coaxed me out to her Lumberjack's birthday party at Dave and Buster's that I realized we had been set up.
There I stood in a swarm of 20-somethings, hoping for the bartender to deliver my cocktail soon, because I had just been notified that Blind Date would be arriving soon. Why was I getting nervous? I did not need nor did I desire this guy's attention or attraction.
I saw him walk in the door, but ignored the way my heart skipped a beat. He looked at me and then looked away. Really?! Wow. With that, I decided the set up camp at a table of ladies and shake off the visual rejection. We discussed all the gossip circulating at the time, from jobs to trips to infidelities. If I would ever date any of the men in the group, at least I would an edge on knowing all their background information.
Eventually, we dispersed into the crowd and played a few games. The first game I walked up to - Skee Ball - just so happened to also be the destination of Blind Date. I ignored his presence at first, swiping my card to play in silence.
"So do you know any tricks to this game?" Wow. He speaks.
Our superficial conversation continued on through two more rounds of Skee Ball, and before I knew it, he was buying me a drink. Our next game of choice was Deal or No Deal. After that, basketball. Suffice it to say, we did not rack up many points that evening, but he was quickly loosening up and gaining value in my eyes.
Before long, the party was coming to a close, but Blind Date insisted I join the group at the Great American diner for late night grub. I had no intentions of going home with my curiosity about him piqued, so I obliged. The two of us stuck out like a sore thumb among the veteran couples eating with us, which eventually led us to exchange numbers. That night, like a true gentlemen he offered only a hug and peck on the cheek when bidding me good night.
The days and weeks that followed felt like a whirlwind, especially because it had been some time since I played the dating game with anyone. The fact that I liked him so much so soon frightened me, and often times I found myself driving home from a date in tears -- not out of disappointment, but out of fright that opening up to a relationship would leave me even more scarred and alone than other times before. I can remember praying on many of those nights, "God, please don't let me screw things up."
After six months together, I was nearly settled into my confidence in us when I found out my sister's marriage was falling apart. Every stride I made with my Blind Date wanted to fall away. I wanted to revert back to the safety of being alone. We fought our way through those insecurities and came out on top, but it was quite a battle to fight early on in our relationship.
Over the past several years - two and some change to be more exact - we have had many of these moments where I push hard to revisit my safe place of singlehood. I have learned not to listen to that anxious, avoidant voice in my head as much anymore, the one who insists relationships are not worth the work they take to keep. That voice can pack a pretty convincing tongue-lashing, but I have never regretted ignoring her advice.
I love my Blind Date and everything we have grown to be these days. I love that I can have a lapse of faith and that his confidence is strong enough for the both of us. I love that he naturally reassures me in ways I never asked to be reassured. Mostly though, I love that he has overturned every notion I had about men and their ability to love, lead, and make me feel safe.
My wish for all ladies is that they too would come to know the overwhelming beauty of love like this, and most of all, if faced with fear, that they hang on and let the love in.