Real and Raw Part 1
Real and Raw Part 2
Real and Raw Part 3
Real and Raw Part 4
Real and Raw Part 5
Real and Raw Part 6
Real and Raw Part 7
Real and Raw Part 8
Real and Raw Part 9
Real and Raw Part 10
Real and Raw Part 11
Real and Raw Part 12
Real and Raw Part 13
Tim said he wanted to move forward in our relationship. We both talked about our expectations in dating. We agreed that we were done dating just to date. We wanted to date with the expectation that we would get married one day. If there came a point in our relationship where we felt we could not marry the other person that we would break up. At the end of the conversation Tim said “So….will you be my girlfriend?” I said “That was so cheesy couldn’t you have asked another way?” He said “I didn’t know what to say..do you want to go out with me sounded junior highish? I said “Oh geesh…that was cheesy but yes I will be your girlfriend.”
Shortly after we started dating I made the decision that I wanted to wait six months before we kissed. I had wasted so many kisses in my lifetime. Most of the time in my past relationships we kissed and then decided we would date. I didn’t want this to be like any of the other relationships in the past. I wanted the next person I kissed to be the man that I would spend the rest of my life with. He was totally okay with my decision.
I always told Tim that dating him was way harder than being married to him is. I was such a wreck when we started dating and most of our relationship was spent undoing the unhealthy patterns I had formed in my life.
Tim came from an amazing godly family. His mom was a strong woman who taught him strong values and convictions. His dad was a humble servant who was faithful to his marriage, his family and his faith. He taught Tim how to live with integrity. He went to church nine months before he was born. Tim can tell you any of the Bible stories and has so much Scripture in his head from his upbringing…it is awesome. I am totally jealous. He also can’t remember anyone saying anything to him that left him wounded. Hmmmm… must be nice. He also had remained pure in his relationships. HELLO DREAMBOAT!
And then there was me…yikes! I felt so unworthy.
As you can tell from my story I hadn’t learned how to handle conflict very well. When in a fight I always thought there was a winner and loser. I wanted to win so I would argue my point, call him names, and scream louder than him. If he had nothing left to say I felt victorious. HOW MESSED UP IS THAT!?!?!
When we would fight I would either clam up and pretend like I couldn’t hear what Tim was saying. Or I would blow up and scream at him. There wasn’t much middle ground. Both tactics didn’t sit too well with Tim. When I would yell at him he would get quieter and quieter until he was whispering. It was annoying! I wanted someone to yell back at me. To this day I have never heard Tim raise his voice.
Tim was SO patient with me and when he responded in kindness and love to my rants and looney toon fits I wanted to be more than I was. I wanted to learn how to handle conflict and share my emotions without screaming and making him feel devalued. I wanted to be able to dicuss tough subjects in a healthy way and come to a resolution. Slowly I was learning.
My feelings for Tim became so strong it scared me. I couldn’t get him wrapped around my finger and he wouldn’t play my games. I always felt like at any moment he could leave. In prior relationships I always felt like I was in the driver’s seat and that they were “whooped” over me. Tim, on the other hand, cared about me but he didn’t hold so tightly to me. I always knew his value was not found in his relationship with me. I knew that was healthy and good but it also was unsettling in the same sense.
One day we got in a fight and he left to give me time to cool off. I was so desperate and scared I called an ex-boyfriend. I think I just wanted someone to stroke my ego and make me feel better about myself. Tim found out and he said, “I care a lot about you but I refuse to play your games. You are either all in, or I am out. Call me when you have made your decision” He walked out the door. I knew for sure he would call me, they always did. Three days later I broke down and bawled and apologized. I asked him if he would have called me and he said, “No, never I was not the one who screwed up.” Thank you Lord he didn’t give up on me.
I knew I loved Tim within a month of dating but I didn’t tell him for three months. I was so scared to be that vulnerable. I didn’t think Tim would use it against me but there was something inside me that hard a hard time letting all my cards show. I was the first girl Tim had ever told that he loved. He made me feel so special. He treated me with such respect and love at all times.
Our six-month anniversary happened to be on my birthday. He was living in Florida for the summer with two of his college buddies Paul and Brian. They were beach bums by day and worked at a beach resort as waiters at night. I was in Chicago working as a waitress at Lone Star Steakhouse at night and working at Ameritech as an administrative assistant during the day.
I got approved to live off campus that semester. So I went back to Lynchburg and moved into my off-campus apartment with my two roommates Amy and Tracy. Tracy was dating Paul. So the plan was that Tracy and I would drop our stuff off at our new apartment and then drive to Florida to see our boyfriends!
August 10th came and Tim had planned a whole day for us. He made me a pancake breakfast with “Happy Birthday” spelled out in the syrup. Then we went to play putt-putt golf. I won…or maybe he let me win since it was my birthday Then he took me out to lunch. When we got back to his apartment he had a nice dress that he had bought for me to wear that night to dinner at the resort. His boss had given Tim “his card” and told him to take me out and order anything we wanted. The place we went didn’t have prices on the menu!!! I could barely concentrate on dinner because I knew the day we had been waiting to kiss was moments away.
We left the beach club and Tim took me to another part of the resort. There was this long boardwalk that led out to a gazebo that was in the middle of a beautiful marsh. There were rose petals all along the boardwalk. When we got to the gazebo there was a blanket laying down with chocolate and a bowl of fresh fruit with two wines glasses and sparkling cider on it. The sun was starting to set over the water and hues of purples and pinks were strewn in the sky.
I was so nervous I was just blabbing about randomness. Where we were was a bird-watching area. So I was feigning interest in the bird stations located in the gazebo and begging for a bird to fly up to distract us. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a ring box hidden under the bench.
I started freaking out, “Oh my gosh is he going to propose? I mean I know we talked about marriage but oh my gosh, I am not ready for this moment. It is too soon. Oh my gosh what I am going to say” Sweaty palms, heart beating out of my chest, butterflies fluttering in my stomach…and not a dang bird in sight!
Tim said “Come here…”
Deep breath and one foot in front of the other I slowly walked to where he was. I sat on his lap and he read me this…
I want to start off by saying I love you more than I ever dreamed I could love a girl. i can’t wait, even though it is is very hard to imagine, loving you even stronger. I cant wait to see how our love will grow over the next 50 years. I remember when I was little my mom used to tell me she prayed for my future wife and family. When we used to pray together I would do the same. When I was praying, I never dreamed it would be as awesome as I have it now. You make it very easy for me to love you. I appreciate you putting my needs before yours on many occasions. I appreciate your willingness to work on things (sometimes things you think are stupid) but no mater what the case you are willing because you want our relationship to be awesome. Most of all I want to thank you for the woman you are in the hands of Jesus Christ. You have challenged me in so many ways spiritually. I have learned so much from just watching your life. I am thrilled when I think you are the woman who will raise our children. I want you to know that whenever I kiss you I am making a promise to you that I will be yours and only yours and that I am promising to continue to strive to be the man God wants me to be. I am making the commitment to love you no matter what. I want you to think about these things when I kiss you and know that I am yours and your are God’s. I love you seems to inadequate at a time like this. But, Rebecca Marie I want you to know I love you and I will love you. Because love is a choice and I choose you…
He leaned in and cupped my face in his hands…