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Looking Back and Moving Forward

September 5, 2008

Sorry to be boring, but I really don’t remember how they reacted. When I said, “I think I have a boyfriend,” they obviously would have asked me who he was, where he was from, etc. And I’m sure my Mom probably said something along the lines of, “What makes you think that?” I’m also pretty sure my parents probably didn’t expect much to come of this person who might be my boyfriend. I didn’t even know whether he was!

I remember thinking to myself that Daniel would be good to date “for now.” He really liked me, he was pretty cute, and he was actually tall enough for me (I’m five foot eight and he’s 6 foot one or two—he always gives me different answers). I figured we would date for however long, and then I could move on. Even on a small campus, there were certainly a few other boys I had my eye on. Besides, it was only two weeks into my first year of college, and at that point I really wasn’t thinking about or planning on forever…

But two weeks turned into my entire freshman year, and that one year became two. All of our differences—and believe me, there were some big ones—seemed to work themselves out. Okay, so we had to work hard to make them work out. And there were quite a few arguments and quite a few tears. But however they managed to work out, they worked out.

We have now been together four years (September 6), and it always amazes me to look back and see how far we have come. Daniel and I have been through so much together, and done so much growing up along the way. In coming as far as we have, I know we’ve surprised some people, both family members and friends. If you could go back in time to September of 2004 and tell eighteen-year-old me that I would end up marrying Daniel, and that I would never date any other guys in college or thereafter, I would be surprised too!

Not that I was the type of girl who was used to dating lots of different boys. Not at all, although in high school I may have wished that I was. When I was in kindergarten, I had a “boyfriend,” but don’t ask me what exactly that meant at age five. From first through eleventh grade, though, I would have many crushes and not a single date. In high school a group of my girl friends and I always went to our school dances together, but I was always wishing that my crush-of-the-month/year would ask me to go with him.

By the time I was in eleventh grade and junior prom came around, a lot of my friends were getting dates. So, not wanting to be left out, I got up the nerve to call an old friend from middle school (a boy I had a crush on back in fifth and sixth grade). He agreed to come with me, even though we hadn’t seen or spoken to each other for a few years. I still can’t believe I was brave enough to do that!

The next year, when I was a senior, I finally had my first real boyfriend. We’ll call him “Pete.” I liked him a lot, but it wasn’t too long before we had a real problem: religion. I had gone to a Catholic school up until high school, and all of my closest friends at my public high school were Catholic. Pete, however was not. He was Methodist, and had a hard time understanding Catholicism. Since my faith was so important to me, this became a major stumbling block for us. We dated for about five months, long enough to get me through senior prom, and then we were done.

After we had already broken up, the message Pete wrote in my school yearbook included this: “You’ll meet a nice Catholic boy in college and fall in love. It’ll be great!” I’m still not quite sure exactly what percentage of this was sarcasm on Pete’s part, but he had hit on what I really wanted. Since I would be starting at a Catholic college in a couple of months, I was excited about the prospect of meeting a whole bunch of cute Catholic boys all in one place—at least this is what I imagined!

But God apparently had something else in mind for me, something that would end up strengthening my faith in a way that I never would have expected, something a little different from the Catholic poster boy I had envisioned. Enter eighteen-year-old Daniel.

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