This is part 2 of a continuing story. If you haven't read part 1, scroll down and do so first!
I had a couple of friends who were intent on hooking me up since I was newly single again. Don’t ask my why they took such an interest in my dating dilemma, but praise God they did! They started talking about Dan, the new soccer player everyone was raving about, and asking me if I had met him yet. I hadn’t and when I did, (no offense, honey) I wasn’t impressed. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike him, but I wasn’t pining immediately, either. He was cute, tall, blond and played soccer, all qualities I was attracted to, but also very quiet and shy, two qualities I had never been attracted to.
There was some more interaction between us, mostly because of those 2 friends who tried to force the issue, and some because of those silly MBBC rules that required multiple people in vehicles for a trip to Wal-Mart and such. But other than that, not much transpired between us.
Fall Artist Series was fast approaching when I was invited to a party at a home of a student who lived on campus, but whose parents lived relatively near by. I rode to the party with my roommate, Jana, and one of those buddies who were trying to set me up. We arrived and Dan was there. Since we had interacted enough to know each other, we started to talk and for the first time I felt attracted to him. Yes, he was quiet, but also really nice! And I had known enough “life of the party” type guys that I found myself enjoying his meekness. The party ended without anything exciting happening, but I started to think about him more. In fact, I started thinking it would be nice to go to Artist Series with him. After all, everyone went “date crazy” around Artist Series time! Well, I found out shortly from that aforementioned “buddy” that Dan already had a date and that Dan had actually thought I was dating my guy buddy because we rode to the party together! And even though we both insisted we were only friends, it didn’t help our cause when we decided to go to Artist Series together instead of dateless.
After learning that Dan already had a date, I succumbed to the Bible College mindset and had him marrying the girl before they ever went out. I checked him off as “taken” in my mind and tried to move on. Problem was, I couldn’t. I kinda liked him enough already that it was hard to just move on. Then the report got back to me that his Artist Series date hadn’t gone great and they would not be likely to go out again. “Ok, what now?” I thought.
Well, the other guy buddy who was intent on setting me up got it in his mind that Dan and I should be a pair. So he arranged an outing where we would inevitably be paired together and asked me if I wanted to go. I saw through the story and surmised that this was a fix-up, so I told my friend that if Dan wanted me to come, he would need to ask me personally, like a real gentleman! Shortly after, I received my first phone call from Dan. He was nervous and so was I, but we talked and talked and had a great conversation! I started to really look forward to this date, until I found out that his Artist Series date would be coming also. As you can imagine, this was going to be awkward. Especially since her date cancelled at the last minute and that left us in a group of an odd number.
I entered the date unsure of what to expect and nervous that I was “competing” for Dan. I have never been competitive, per se, and especially in the dating arena, where all your insecurities come bounding to the forefront of your mind. So, admittedly, the date was only mediocre. We went to someone’s house and had a bonfire, then watched a movie. It was an awkward assortment of people, as many outings at Maranatha were, so Dan and I didn’t even get to talk a whole lot. We both came back to our dorm and reported to our roommates that it was just an “Ok” date.
Then came Monday morning at Chapel time. I was talking to some college friends that I knew from home and reporting to them about the date when I saw him enter the back of the “gymnatorium.” I slipped back into my seat, which just happened to be on the aisle he walked down, and he approached me and asked if he could sit with me. Now to be fair, Dan, being new to the MBBC mindset, didn’t realize that sitting with me in chapel meant everyone who saw us would automatically assume we were a couple. But that was ok, because after some more fantastic conversations in the library in the following days, we were pretty much inseparable.
The more I got to know Dan, the more I liked him. His shyness faded away, at least around me, and we really connected. His background was pretty similar, and I found that his theology was, too! He wasn’t raised legalistically, so the fears of “all Maranatha men think women shouldn’t wear pants and all CCM is sinful” were gone. In fact, we had a lot of convictions about the same things and both of us were turned off to the legalism we saw. His faith was real, and that calmed my nerves even more. So shortly after we started talking, I invited him home to my house for a Christmas party that my college group hosted. He came, and I think it was that weekend that my dad basically told him that he could marry me! (Dad, how embarrassing!) But it was good to know that my parents like him, probably the first of my boyfriends they ever did!
Another weekend where I met his parents, and then we were officially a couple by Christmas break. That was December 1997.
Tomorrow I will tell you how we got engaged. It was exactly 8 years ago today that Dan asked me to marry him!