Wow, it's been a while since I've logged in, and it looks as though this blog is getting quite a lot of traffic. I'm glad for that, but it also makes me slightly sad, since I'm not actively posting anymore. I know people have asked me to come back and continue posting, but since I'm not on my yearlong hiatus anymore, it almost seems as though it's logical to leave it and not come back to write more about what happens in day-to-day life when I'm no longer single.
Oh, you caught that? Yes, as Facebook would say, I am "in a relationship" (in fact, my Facebook page does say that, and it was fun to see how excited people got when I changed that). As I mentioned in my post Plans, Patience and Answered Prayers, I knew before the end of my dating hiatus that there is a man that I believe I will end up with. As of August, when I wound up my year, The Man and I were getting closer, but still not in a romantic relationship. Now, three months and lots of conversations later, I can definitely say that we are together, and our future looks bright.
Of course, the fact that he and I are so similar in many ways and share a faith and outlook on dating and marriage - well, in most things, actually - has helped us to draw closer over the past few months, but I know that taking that year off from men in general was such a good thing for me and for our relationship. I know I messed up here and there - The Michelin Man being an example, as well as that silly little crush on my roommate - but for the most part, my focus during that year off was total and complete. I wanted to stop going after the wrong men; I wanted to learn how to say no when I recognized someone wasn`t the one for me; and I wanted to prepare myself to be better in a relationship. Rather than looking for the right person, I realized that I wanted to make sure that I could be the right person for him once I found him. Now that I have found him, I can see how invaluable the time really was for me, and how much better it has made our relationship.
If those of you who have read the blog faithfully haven`t already figured it out, The Man is Stu. He and I "courted" briefly a couple of years ago, but things ended when he told me that he wasn't ready for a relationship. Back then, I saw in him all the things that I desired in a man, and I was so anxious to be with him. I remember seeking out our pastor's wife and talking with her about how very badly I wanted things to work out between us, how happy he made me, and how good I thought it would be. She listened and empathized, but I think she knew that I wasn't ready. I was all about what I wanted, and not about what Stu might need, or what God wanted for either of us.
When things ended, I had already started to pull away from him in my mind, because I could see that his heart wasn't in it, and I was so terrified of allowing myself to be hurt. The fact that we were close friends and that we did not have a physical relationship made it much easier to allow my hopes to dissolve into a solid and comfortable friendship, although I did still have a vague idea in the back of my head that it would be nice if someday Stu would be ready for a relationship and would seek me out (see Stu is a Force to be Reckoned With for more of my feelings at the time...and a bit of foreshadowing that I didn't even recognize when I wrote it!). As my dating hiatus wound to a close and suddenly Stu was back in my life in a new and totally different way, I began to remember the fierce and firm idea that I had once upon a time of Stu being the man that God has for me (In Plans, Patience and Answered Prayers, I talk more about these feelings and the absolute certainty it gave me that Stu will once day be my husband.) Suddenly it became even more important to me that I learn to be the right woman. Back to my pastor's wife I went.
Things were different this time. I talked with her about my feelings for Stu and how they had developed. I talked about the moment in the car when I felt the strong conviction from God that he is the one for me. I talked about how terrified I was that I was going to mess it up; how great my worry was that I was just allowing my deep longings and hopes to create some sort of false assurance for myself; how much I wanted to be there for him and how much I prayed for him and our growing relationship every day. I could see in her face that she knew this was different - that I was different from the eager little girl from two years before. She held my hand in hers and reassured me that if this is what God wants for Stu and for me, there is nothing I can do to ruin that...just like if it isn't His will for us, there is nothing I can do to force it to happen. That took such a huge weight off me. Although the onus is on me to be the best person I can be, and to contribute positively to my relationship, it isn't my responsibility to make it work or not work. I admitted in Plans & Patience that it terrified me to actually put fingers to keyboard and type those words: "I have faith that this is the man I am supposed to end up with." It's scary. The whole idea of believing I've found the man I will be with for the rest of our lives is terrifying, because now that means I could lose it...but my pastor's wife reminded me that if it's meant for us, then it will be, and there's nothing that I - silly, impetuous hopeless romantic of a girl - can do to mess it up. I can relax into the relationship and just be myself, and love him as best I can. The rest - including the work that needs to be done in Stu's heart - is up to God. Not me.
Stu and I spend a lot of time together and it is growing steadily. I am so grateful for his presence in my life, and happy that I can share every part of myself and who I am with him - he accepts it and cares for me, everything included: my goofiness; my intelligence; my fears; my history (which can sometimes be scary to share with him, especially the bits I'm ashamed of, but he always, always surprises me with how well he listens and how much he cares, as well as his insights); and my admittedly sometimes overwhelming love for him. He isn't as much for PDA as I am, but he grins and responds to my exuberant affections readily. I believe we will get there, to that place of happily-ever-after, and in the meantime I'm enjoying every single moment I have with him. He truly is a gift from God to me and I intend to spend every moment I can being the best gift to him that I can possibly be.
Thanks for following my journey.