I recently received an unexpected email from an old friend. Actually, an old boyfriend. His name is David, and he and I dated for a short time before I moved to Dallas. After reading about his life over the past several years, I began recounting our time together. We enjoyed listening to music, playing with his "recording studio" (aka his master bathroom - HA!), spending time on the lake, and laughing A LOT. David did a lot of wonderful things for me... things that I never realized until I started thinking back on my life at that time. Seeing these things in hindsight has allowed me this strange, but very real, perspective into how ALL of my previous boyfriends have led me to be the person that I am today, and how they led me to choose the person that I will spend the rest of my life with.
BOYFRIEND #1: Jake
Jake and I dated for two years of high school and a year and half of college. Jake is a really cool guy - very intellectual, quite athletic, incredibley talented musically (All-State singer AND violinist, people... now THAT'S talent!), and he's quite funny, too. Jake was my first love. People who don't believe that you can be in love with someone at the age of 16 are mistaken... I was definitely in love with him. However, I don't know that Jake was ever in love with me, but rather in love with the idea of me. He had the issue of "the grass is greener" in our relationship, which effectively ended our relationship the second time he acted on this stepped into greener grasses. How did Jake point me toward my husband, you ask? He taught me that I needed to be with someone who possessed many of his qualities (intellecitual, musical, sense of humor) in order to have a lasting and meaningful relationship. He also taught me that just because I love someone doesn't mean that they have to love me the same way in return. That's a really tough lesson to learn, but it has been quite valuable to me.
BOYFRIEND #2: Ryan
Ryan and I only dated for 9 months... but man, what a whirlwind of 9 months! It was only a few weeks after we began dating that we started talking marriage. Ryan is a very passionate person - everything is exciting to him... in the beginning. He's a risk taker and a free spirit - totally the opposite of what I was accustomed to. This relationship caught fire very quickly and burned out even more quickly. The end of this relationship was harder for me than any other I've had. Why? Probably because this relationship eneded for the same reason as the first... someone else's grass was greener than mine. Talk about a self-esteem killer. How did Ryan lead me toward my husband? He taught me that passion in a person is important to me - that it invigorates me and is rejuvenating. It forces me to look at things from a different perspective, not only from the logical and judicious side of things (which I DEFINITELY tend toward). He also taught me that spontaneity can be a GOOD thing... that I don't have to have everything prefectly planned out, which is completely against my nature. Both lessons have been incredibely valuable to me in my personal AND professional life.
BOYFRIEND #3: Lance
Lance and I dated off and on for 2 and 1/2 years. Lance is very much like Jake. He's very intellectual, athletic, musical and caring. Lance is also unusually perceptive and empathetic... qualities that are not entirely common in men. Lance was also incredibely generous in many ways - something that was really new to me in a relationship. But, yet again, I wound up with a "grass is greener" guy. As soon as I began to move on with my life apart from him, though, he'd come running back! And, unfortunately, this happened many times. I've never truly understood why I put up with it for so long, except that I loved him and had very low self-esteem from my previous relationships. Clearly, Lance didn't love me, and that realization, for some odd reason, took me a while. This relationship ended when Lance moved to North Carolina for his residency. At the time, his moving away was the end of the world for me. But as it turned out, it was actually the beginning of a whole new world for me. How did Lance lead me to my husband? His perceptive and empathetic nature, I found, were incredibely important to me. His generosity was also a wonderful attribute, something which I appreciated immensely.
BOYFRIEND #4: David
David and I only dated for 2 months, I think. He was so cool, though, and so different from the other guys I had dated. He was very intellectual, VERY funny, athletic, generous, attentive, thoughtful, artistic, creative and a strong Christian. The other guys I had dated were all Christians as well, but didn't live for Him the way David does. David lived in his grandparents lake house while he was in medical school, complete with boat. We would get out on the water pretty often, which is when I was introduced to the world of wake-boarding. It looked like too much fun to just watch from the back of the boat, so David taught me to wakeboard. Our relationship fizzled out when I accepted my teaching job here in Texas. It was an amicable break-up... I'd say it was as good as a break-up can get. How did David lead me to my future husband? In many ways. His Christian walk confirmed how important it was to me to find a strong Christian mate. He taught me that I can be enough for someone and that's how it's supposed to be in a relationship. He also taught me to wake-board. 'Nuf said. :)
JRLD led me to B: My husband, Brandon
Brandon. What a wonderful name. Brandon is the most wonderful person to have ever stepped into my adult life. He and I met my first year of teaching when I worked as his assistant choir director. I remember meeting him for the first time in a job interview. After being offered the job, he gave me a ride to the school where he and I would be working together to show me around the building and to meet with the principal. I distinctly remember one fleeting moment of our ride to the school in which I thought "Could he be part of the reason I'm supposed to come here?", but I dismissed the ridiculous idea as soon as I thought it. Brandon and I quickly discovered that we have a lot in common, including our illustrious line of not-so-great relationships. I soon saw that he is everything I had learned that I needed in a mate. He is a Christian man, he is empathetic, he is passionate, intellectual, generous, loving, creative, attentive, thoughtful, musical, funnny, athletic (master wake-boarder)... I could go on forever! But do you know what the most exciting part of it all has been? He loves me.... always and without fail. And, while Brandon certainly isn't perfect, he is the perfect person for me... and I love him more and more with each passing day.
It's amazing how the Lord works. He's a GENIOUS! He knew that I would need to go through all of those difficult relationships in order to appreciate the things in my husband that I may have taken for granted otherwise. He knew that I would need a man that didn't fit into my "ideal" mold for a mate, but that he would come from a completely different mold and a very different place than I expected. He was waiting for me to relinquish my "control" over my life in order to show me what I had been looking for all along. I was blind... but now I see.
Thank you, Lord, for the trying relationships that you brought me through in order to receive your wonderful gift of my amazing husband.
Help me to always remember that
trying times lead us closer to You and Your will for our lives.
Help me remember that the grass is greener... on your side.