A week into my renewed friendship with Nathan and I was in deep trouble.
After a year of silence between us, we’d gone to a Georgia Bulldogs’ football game together where we laughed and talked and were extraordinarily comfortable with one another.
All the cells in my heart and mind were screaming: WE SHOULD BE DATING! The cells in my tummy and elsewhere were screaming: CHOCOLATE! Which is what they always scream.
And I told him that about a week later—about the dating, not the chocolate.
He explained and repeated that he didn’t. want. a girlfriend. And really, we could’ve skipped all of that part anyway. Let’s just go straight to marriage! No, I wasn’t that crazy. I did not say that to him.
So, weeks turned into months, and our friendship became rather solid. We saw each other about once a week, talked three or four times a week and had some great conversations. Sounds like dating, doesn’t it? It might. But the key difference was that Nathan was very conscientious and intentional about guarding my heart.
I made it no secret that I wanted to date him. Many lesser men could’ve taken advantage of that in part or in whole in order to feed their own self-esteem. Nathan didn’t. He said nothing and did nothing to appeal to my heart, to lead me on or make me think that something was happening besides what was really happening: friendship. He treated me with the utmost respect at all times, as any man should treat a woman.
Around the middle of June 2011, I peeked out from under the scales on my eyes and began truly believing that friendship is all there would ever be between us. And because I still ever-so-much wanted to get married, I decided to jump into the online dating pool with a cannonball as my opening dive.
Profiles were filled out, free trials were exhausted, and the rubber met the road as I pulled out my debit card to sign up . . . for real . . . but only for the cheap three-month packages. I made myself a rule that I would go on at least two dates with anyone who asked before making any ultimate judgements on compatibility.
Fortunately, two or three guys did want to go on more than one date with me and even one guy took me on three dates! And throughout all of this dating, I still maintained a friendship with Nathan, though I spared him stories from my dating drama.
As the summer of 2011 began to wind down, I planned for one big jam-packed, over the top, blow your socks off, birthday extravaganza for Nathan. In a way, I could see our time hanging out was coming to a close. Of course, we’d always be friends, but I could tell that something was shifting. I was giving up on Nathan being the man of my dreams. I’d come to consider that the dream I’d had, which I believed revealed him as my future husband, may have been a dream about God and how He has every. single. thing. in my life taken care of—that I was to rest in faith knowing that God had a plan. And with that new perspective on my dream came abiding joy and peace. It was not a resignation. It was not a demotion. It wasn’t a change of plans. It wasn’t a rationalization to ease the loss of the idea of Nathan as my husband. Rather, it was the lightest, most hopeful perspective I’d had in a long time. I became unshakably assured that there was life after the dream.
I didn’t know it at the time, but things were shifting for Nathan as well. A few weeks after the Spectacular Spectacular birthday extravaganza, something about Nathan’s words and actions became more. There seemed to be a different kind of energy building, but I wasn’t sure what it was or why—and I didn’t ask.
Now, Nathan and I are both exuberant Coldplay fans. We’ve seen them several times, have their songs as our ringtones, and generally geek out over anything they release. On September 24, 2011, Coldplay was headlining the Saturday of the three-day event, Mid Town Music Festival in Piedmont Park. Nathan and I had tickets.
As per usual when we hung out in Atlanta, I drove down from my house—because I lived far north of the city—to his house which was about 20 minutes from any events we’d ever want to go to in Atlanta.
When I arrived at his house, he was sitting on the couch watching TV. He was clearly not ready to go. He motioned for me to come in, I did and eased down onto the sofa. We chatted for a second and I just kept wondering: Why aren’t you getting ready? It was then that he turned off the TV, placed the remote control on the coffee table and turned to me.
“I’ve been thinking about this a lot,” he said. “I mean, really a lot. . . . And I . . . would like . . . to date.”
In the nanosecond between his words and their registration in the auditory cortex of my temporal lobe, I squashed any hope, any assumption, even any registration of emotion and told myself: “He’s not talking about you. He’s ready to get out there and date and he’s letting you know because he knows how you feel about him. Be cool. You’re okay with this. You’re dating around too.”
And on the tail end of that lengthy internal monologue, I said—as unaffected as possible—”Oh, that’s great,” and smiled. To which he urgently responded, “You. I would like to date you.” To which I responded: “OH! That’s great! Okay!”
And so, that’s how we came to build a friendship, how I gave up on the dream, and how we had our second first date of our relationship at a Coldplay concert.
Read our story from the beginning:
how we met
a dream about my husband
between the dream and dating
meeting my husband again
we tried to date but didn’t
a year of silence
how we became friends again
we started dating . . . for real this time
we got married!
©2015 Jennifer Wilder. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint or publish this content elsewhere, please contact me through this blog.