February 8, 2013
Some of my favorite memories to reminisce are the times when Rich and I first started dating and we simply wanted to see one another all the time. However, when we first met, we were both living with our parents, and seeing as how neither one of us wanted to dive into the "meet the parents" routine and hang out at one another's house before we had even become official, we literally ran around and sat on every bench in the Madison and Huntsville areas.
Of course the first bench was the one we spent two and a half hours on after the establishment we had been in had closed. I guess that's what set the precedent of the bench-sitting. We would meet up at Starbucks and sit on the big couch inside and chat. Then we would move outside to one of the tables after they would close and chat for at least an hour more. We would go to dinner and then drive out to Big Spring Park in Huntsville and sit under a gazebo. There was also that time that we were going to hang out one night after my Zumba class (thank God he was not afraid of a little girlie sweat...he thought I was cute regardless), and none of our friends at the gym knew we were really dating yet. After class we all hung around and chatted, including our clueless friends. We tried to play it cool and casually get everyone to go on and head home so that no one would see us hop in the car together. (We dated for about 3 weeks before we let everyone know...just because of that whole, he was kind of my "boss" and all - even though it was just Zumba!)
All of the bench-sitting really forced us to get to know one another on a personal and emotional level. We spent so much of our first weeks talking about our pasts. In fact, at our first coffee date, Richard held very little back. He laid everything out in front of me. He illustrated his past for me, speaking of his struggles and demons, as well as praising God for his victories. I spoke the same of mine. It is true that Richard had been through so much in his short life. Things that I could not even fathom or begin to relate to. He told me later that he likes to dish a lot out right at first to make sure that the person will not be easily scared off. I was not scared. I was incredibly intrigued by this man. I found him interesting, mysterious and just downright attractive. He could not have pushed me away even if he had wanted to. And thank God he didn't want to.
Although we were very different - different music tastes, different college experiences, different types of friends - we were also able to connect on such a deep level. Our faiths were strong, our visisons for the lives we wanted were the same and our hearts were the same. I felt so connected to him even throughout our surface differences. Sometimes the surface differences would bother me, only because they were not what I had ever envisioned for a relationship of mine - and then he would look at me and tell me how beautiful I was. Then all of those differences faded.
I like to look back on that moment and think that God was like, "oh yea - you guys are both in for a little shake up. In a great way, of course."