So the shy guy finally asked me out. I was giddy with excitement as I anticipated our first date. Shawn rang my doorbell on a Friday night and handed me some flowers. The thing is, I thought our date was on Saturday. I looked like crap, I was stunned to see him, and being a chick with an eating disorder, I threw up because I was uncomfortable. Oh, and when I am uncomfortable I babble mindlessly. There was a lot of babbling.
I refused to go out to eat. I lied and told him I had already eaten, again due to eating issues. Our first date was nosediving in a huge hurry. We went to a concert, and Shawn confesses that he was looking at his watch to see how much longer he had before he could ditch me and go home. I guess God decided we needed some help moving our relationship along. A tornado came through nearby, the electricity all went off, and no one was allowed to leave due to the severity of the storm. I looked at Shawn and said in a now trembling voice, "I'm afraid of storms." Being a man, he comforted the damsel in distress.
By the end of the date, Shawn had decided I was hot enough (read "good enough kisser") to get one more chance before he totally gave up. The second date was worse than the first. A few minutes before Shawn was due to arrive, we received a phone call that my brother (my very best friend on the whole planet) had drowned overseas. I couldn't get in touch with Shawn, so he pulled up to the house, walked up and said, "I've had a really rough day. I was in a wreck at lunch." So I say, with no tact, "Me too. My brother's dead." We sat on the front porch as I told him the story, him again holding me as I cried. He offered to go home, but my dad encouraged us to go ahead with our date just so that maybe I could be spared a few hours of some of the intense and horrible drama at home. (The divers were still searching for my brother, and the waiting was intense.)
Believe it or not, the guy asked me out a third time. It had to be a mercy date. But one date led to another and by about our fifth date we were talking about a future together. Shawn jokes that it did not take us long to fall in lust. We were engaged labor day weekend, nearly 3 months after we first met. We waited until May to marry, after I turned 18.
When we married, we both had some really unrealistic expectations. I imagined a prince charming that would lavish me with affection. I pictured dancing in the kitchen, snuggling watching movies, lots of long walks with deep conversations. I imagined us side by side in every activity, never apart unless we had to be. I seriously believed that my husband would seek every opportunity to pamper me and adore me and lavish gifts on me and would always just know what I was thinking. I thought he would communicate all of his feeling and deepest longings. Think giggling slumber party meets Cinderella.
On Shawn's side of things, he pictured marriage as a cross between "Leave it to Beaver" and "Debbie does Dallas." He thought I would keep our house shiningly perfect, cook gourmet dinners, and rip his clothes off when he walked in the door.
Reality was that Shawn was not naturally romantic, and he couldn't read my mind, and he wasn't a giggly girl. On the other hand, I have always sucked at cleaning, I couldn't boil water, and sex was something I vaguely remembered studying in biology.
Our first several years were pretty good, in spite of some obstacles. We were in a great church, with lots of friends. We enjoyed our ministry, and worked through some of our earliest expectations and disagreements. We discussed the great questions of life like whether the toilet paper went over or under the roll. During this time period, we also dealt with some big stresses such as infertility, financial difficulties, and full time college. We had no clue how to argue fairly, and our arguments typically ended with Shawn storming out and driving off. But I would say that for the most part, we were happy together. We got along well more often than not, we agreed on the big issues in life, and we were thrilled when after several years, God blessed us with our first child. If you had asked me how I liked marriage, I would have answered you honestly that I was happy. I knew that I felt somewhat unfulfilled at times, but mostly it was fine. But that all soon changed.