Six years ago today, it was a thurdsay, and the last day of my first week of that college semester. After classes, I said goodbye to my best friend, Luke, and felt sort of sad about my triumph of avoiding Friday classes for the semester, because it meant an extra day before I got to see him again on monday.
Of course, that was bordering on impure thoughts, and i shook the thought out of my head.
Luke looked strange as he said goodbye and lingered too long by my red truck, and I worried. Purity with my friend — purity meaning no romantic anything — was always forefront in my mind.
Even though my dad regularly talked about how I would probably marry Luke, he was also concerned about me falling in love before anything was spoken, and the burden was on me to keep my best friend at arms length. It was difficult, because he cared for me so much. I wanted to cry in his arms whenever I was sad but I always pushed those thoughts away with shame.
That evening, after a rushed dinner, two of my brothers and I headed to a nearby apartment complex to ‘do ministry’ with some kids. it was my week to teach the lesson.
after i returned, Luke called. I never got to hear why, (it turns out, that was the plan) because my dad interrupted to take me outside and show me something. I said a quick “Oh, I’ll call you back” and headed out.
There was a table with candles on it, and candles in the pond. I wasn’t sure what was going on, I thought it was a long ago promised daddy/daughter date. I sat down, dad said some sweet things about me, and then a voice behind me said “I’ll understand if you can’t call me back right away”. I blushed madly as Luke moved to sit down across from me and dad got up.
Dad left and Luke uttered our usual ‘hey’.
“Hey”, i replied, feeling more bewildered with a ‘too good to be true’ feeling than anything.
“so should we small talk first or what” he asked. (classy, dear. classy.)
I shrugged. I wanted to get on with it.
So he got on with it. He told me about asking my dad and his parents, and asked if I would enter a courtship with him, with the intention of marriage.
“what can I say*” I replied, “I would love to”.
we talked after that, about kids, about me being pretty, about me being ‘the most beautiful creature he’d ever seen’ – all the things we could never say before.
And then he told me, “I love you”
After a pause, I replied tearfully, “I love you, too”.
He was taken aback and told me, “when i tell you I love you, I don’t say it just to hear it back.”
I had never felt so free as I did at that moment. “thank you,” I told him. “but I do love you”
And I did. as soon as i took the wall down I knew what I hadn’t let myself to feel. I loved him with my whole heart.
*It was what i had wanted for years, although to tell you the truth, i felt like I had little choice, like i was spoiled for anything else by my emotional attachment to Luke. With the strict purity teachings, marriage was almost about ownership to me, about being owned, and purity was taken to the extreme. We didn’t even hold hands during our courtship, because of purity. … Unbeknownst to us at the time, our parents had even gotten together when we started becoming closer friends, to agree that we could get married if things led to that. they didn’t talk to us about perhaps getting too close until a year or so later. I felt, after hearing about that, that they had basically set up our courtship without even asking us, especially after my dad referred to all the time i spent with luke (that they allowed) as part of the reason i was in danger of being emotionally impure.
Today i believe more in my choice, and even though we’ve been together for six years, I know that I have a choice. And I choose Luke. you make me so happy, you treat me like a person, and you listen to me. i appreciate you, and I love you.