our love story part 1: intentional dating...why the third time was the charm
For five months and one day I have been Mrs. C. Drew Beckwith. And it's been an amazing, challenging, sanctifying, fun, messy, hard, and beautiful five months. I'm feeling a little sentimental about all of this today, maybe because I don't know how five months has already passed, maybe because my best friend says I do next month, maybe because one of my oldest friends says I do next weekend, maybe because my family just lost someone so special and I can't really figure out how it all went so fast.
Reasons set aside, I thought today is a great day to begin share how my husband asked me to be a Mrs. And how our dating story began...this time around.
You see, Drew and I met nearly seven years ago, on my very first day at a brand new high school as the shyest girl you ever did meet. He fell on my desk in Spanish class, awkwardly said hi, I blushed and am still not sure I said a word back, and eventually we became friends. He tried to date me that year, our junior year, even took me out on a date...and I didn't know it was a date. He also asked me to junior prom. I said no. And went with someone else who I now haven't spoken to in six years.
We did date our senior year, and I went to senior prom with him. We were kids, and we didn't know Jesus, and just thought dating was for fun. So we broke up to go to college, probably with a few regrets on how we handled it all.
Fast forward to the end of freshman year of college. I hated every second of it. I was miserable, partying because that's what other people did, and in the meantime wondering every Saturday why on Earth am I friends with these people?! And during spring break I reunited with Drew. We dated for another year, still not knowing Jesus, still making mistakes, but he more ready to settle than me. So we broke up. And didn't speak. For two years.
And those two years were miserable. Again I had friends I constantly questioned. Again I was caught in patterns I didn't enjoy in the slightest. And all I wanted was to call Drew and tell him I was an idiot.
But I didn't. Because as it turns out God had a better idea. In December of 2011 Drew's best friend, who had been pursuing him desperately for Jesus, finally succeeded in bringing him to church. After watching the service online twice more at home, and watching the movie A Case for Christ by Lee Strobel, Drew got on his knees quite literally and gave it all to God.
Meanwhile I was still very vocal about my atheism. I had no interest in church or God and wanted nothing to do with those who served him...hard to accomplish when you attend a Christian college, let me tell you. My mom had a dear friend who quite loved the Lord, and the two of them took me to a Laura Story performance. I was wrecked, in tears on the floor of the concert, realizing maybe I was fighting against something true for so long. So I went to church with V, and on June 16, 2012 I quite literally got on my knees and gave my heart over to Jesus.
I was in the middle of a year off from dating. It's a long story I don't think I'll ever publicly share, but I was not unfamiliar with the art of Dating Entirely Bad For You Guys. So I took a year off, to be totally single, to improve myself, to stay away from men because clearly I was doing it wrong.
A week before the year was up I finally told God I would stop praying for the chance to apologize for being the World's Biggest Idiot. I knew if I were ever to speak to the man I was still in love with again, it would have to be on His terms. As in God's. As in He had to tell Drew it was time to talk. And I decided to do Year 2 Without Men. And as it turns out, again, God had a better idea.
The next Monday I got a message on Facebook...asking me what the heck happened that got me to go to church and why didn't I have the same phone number anymore and could Drew please call me to discuss life.
So we made a plan. He would call me at 9 for an hour chat before bed. And I was so nervous I cried and nearly vomited that afternoon. Sometimes I have a bit of a nervous stomach.
The phone rang at 9:03. And we hung up at 3:08 a.m. I did not sleep a wink that night. Ten minutes into that phone call I knew I was getting married this time. I was 1,000% sure of it. I didn't know how soon (ahem...less than a year...we were never pregnant...but with a love story like this you kinda get to the point of not caring what people think about your timing anymore) but I knew it was happening.
We spent that first month talking, going on a very wonderful "first" date, and not touching. At all. Except a hug when we first saw each other and when we parted at the end of the night. That first month we started reading books about marriage and talking about marriage. Drew made it very clear he was not going to kiss me until he knew we were getting married. As in he wanted to be engaged first.
We weren't going to make it publicly official, boyfriend and girlfriend status, in a relationship on Facebook, until we were ready to pursue marriage fully. Which was within a month. God was so at the center it's not even funny. I had never ever EVER dated like this, nor did I know it was a reality outside of the Duggar's world. And it was blissful. We knew each other so well, knew our hearts, had bible studies together, prayed together, and just had so much fun being together again in an entirely different way.
This whole story was so different. I didn't think I would ever be someone's bride, and here I was, being pursued with a very clear intention of ending up at the altar. The phrase "third time's the charm" was said many times by friends who had known us during the other times we dated, but I was so overwhelmed I couldn't even process that.
But, as you know now, the third time was the charm. We did get married. Except the number three isn't why. We got married because the third time around, we kept Christ at the center.
In part 2 you will read about our first kiss and the proposal.
I love love stories. Have you got one I can read? How did you and your spouse meet/date/marry?