Blind dates. UGHHHH! I know my friends mean well! They just want to see me happy, married, with a family. I wanted it too, but at what cost? Actually, I’ve only been on two blind dates set up by my friends. The first one was with an acquaintance of my friend’s husband. They were in a music group together. My friends set it up for the Saturday night after I flew into town to visit them. And they waited until they picked me up from the airport to tell me the plan. “He’s a nice guy. We just invited him for dinner. You don’t mind, do you?” I believe God works in our lives in amazing ways and maybe this was one of those amazing times. Why not? What did I have to lose?
Our dinner guest arrived while I was finishing getting ready. He was talking to my friend in the kitchen when I walked in. I made sure my hair looked nice, my makeup was done well, and my outfit was presentable. I was open, positive and ready to possibly meet the love of my life!
I’ll never forget the look of ….hmmm……not sure what the word is. Disgust? Disdain? Off-putting? Maybe he didn’t know it was a set-up and had no interest. All I know is he made it very clear from that first hello, that he was NOT interested in the least. He didn’t even try to make conversation with me. I could tell it was going to be a very long night. Apparently, he didn’t find me physically attractive which was okay because he wasn’t my type either, but I was willing to get to know him. Maybe prince charming was hidden under that gruff exterior. And if nothing else, we were together for the evening, so let’s make the best of it!
At dinner, we got talking about churches and when I mentioned that I attended a mega church in the north, well, that must have cinched it for him. He made it clear that he didn’t believe those to be real churches at all and without actually saying it, thought I must not be much of a Christian if I attended there. Lord, please let this dinner be over soon! Oh the frogs!!!
After dinner, we moved to the family room to continue this delightful encounter. I sat down on the couch at the far end. He sat at the other end and proceeded to visibly turn his back to me and then talk to my friend’s husband! Unbelievable! But, being the person I am, I sat there with the forced smile on my lips, feigning interest until he finished telling my friends all he needed to tell them. I replay that scene so often in my mind and wish I had excused myself with a headache or announced I had a thrilling novel I was right in the middle of and needed to rush back to and escape this madness!
Was it just me? I took a shower! I brushed my teeth! I smiled! I wanted to at least try! Was it just me or was he just a frog??? The next morning at breakfast my friend’s husband apologized to me for the rude behavior of his friend, well it was more like his acquaintance. He didn’t realize what this guy was really like. I told him I forgave him. They were just trying to help!
The second blind date was set up by my good friend from church. The four of us went to dinner and honestly, Jeff and I didn’t really hit it off very well. I wasn’t really interested in a second date. But, he walked me to the door and asked if we could go out, just the two of us and leave our friends at home. Okay. I was willing to give it another try. I knew that sometimes the chemistry can change if there is no one else in the mix. I was glad I did because we did hit it off when I saw more of who he was. So, we kept dating.
Jeff worked at our church but just as we met he and several other staff were let go due to budget cuts. He was in a difficult place in his life. He was working toward getting re=certified to do drug and alcohol counseling and was hopeful after a job interview. But, it took such a long time to get re-certified the job was taken and he was on the hunt once again. I was supportive, believing that he would find one soon. I let him move through the process at his own pace, in his own way. About once a week I would ask him how the search was going. It just didn’t seem to me that he was making a whole lot of effort. But, it was his responsibility. So, again, I didn’t say much.
The job search continued from March on until the fall. Due to some female issues, I had a hysterectomy Thanksgiving week and was in recuperation until the end of December. We had talked some about marriage and as we talked about the fact that I wouldn’t be able to have children, we discussed the possibility of adopting one day. He was open and that was important to me.
We had tickets to go to Blue Man Group in Chicago during that week between Christmas and New Year’s. I was so excited after being cooped up for so long. Jeff seemed really excited! Now, if you have never been to BMG, you might not know that no words are actually spoken by the performers. But, there is a lot on the screens in the front of the theater. It was about 5 minutes before the show was to start. The screen instructed everyone to read what it said out loud. And then the audience said our names and told us to stand up! This had to be some joke! How did they even know we were there??? And then the audience read, “Debbie, Jeff has something to ask you!” I looked down and Jeff was pulling a small box out of his pocket! Oh my!! What! Here!! He was asking me here?? It was almost surreal. Then the whole audience said, “Will you marry me?” I looked at him and he said, “Will you marry me?” I was shaking – I couldn’t believe it! I said yes, put on the ring and then they turned off the lights so the show could start! I wanted to see the ring! The show was fun – but, pretty much a blur for me. We went to dinner and then he asked me again, with just the two of us. Of course, I said yes, again.
We set the date for September but the gnawing thought in the back of my mind was that he still didn’t have a job. And now it was a problem. Our marriage mentors talked about it with him. He just wasn’t working very hard to get one. He finally took a job at the bus company that served the home I worked at. He had the opportunity to make more money but did nothing to move that forward. I didn’t push, nag, or threaten but gently encouraged him to do the things he needed to do. But, he didn’t.
I finally decided that I couldn’t move forward with wedding plans until this was resolved. I needed to see him working. If we were going to move into a house and eventually adopt, he had to get a job. He hadn’t worked during our whole relationship – except for the few months driving the van for our seniors. I had lost respect for him. It wasn’t that I didn’t love him anymore. I did! But, this issued was growing bigger. So, 5 months after our engagement, I told him that I couldn’t move forward with the wedding plans. I didn’t tell him I didn’t want to see him anymore. I just couldn’t move things forward toward marriage. I needed to see him doing more in that direction.
When I was done, he didn’t say a word and walked out. I waited a month to hear from him. Nothing. So, I called him and suggested we meet and put closure on things. We met. He told me how he felt. But, what was hardest was that he didn’t fight for us. He didn’t make any effort to do whatever it took to keep us together. I wanted him to fight for us. But, he didn’t. My respect for him was gone. Our marriage mentor told me I had done the right thing as I couldn’t marry him if I had lost respect for him. Respect in a marriage relationship is vital to its longevity.
Months later I saw him at an event at church. We talked a bit. He told me he had a job but then quit because they wanted him to work on weekends and that interfered with a ministry he led. So, once again he was jobless. Oh, my heart. I felt so drawn to him again. I still had feelings for him but, couldn’t walk back into the same situation. He hadn’t really changed. It was so sad, so disappointing. Wasn’t what we had worth fighting for?
So, I added another quality to the list: Endurance ! Humility and endurance. Oh yeah, and don’t forget stature! (Check out my other blog, “Stature!”)
Lord, how long? I’m 44 and alone once again! And now, I can’t have children of my own. I know adoption is an option. But, something happens deep inside when you know you will never have one of your own, never know the excitement of carrying a life, never meet that wee one for the first time, face to face, and feel the awe and wonder of a new life born out of love. It just wasn’t fair!
Someone said to me that maybe I could marry someone who already had children. I was trying to be open but decided that I would NEVER marry someone who had been through a divorce with kids. I didn’t want to deal with the ex-spouse! Marriage has enough of it’s own challenges! I didn’t need that one thrown in the mix too! Divorced was okay– but not kids or exes!
It seems God had different plans for me!