Driving up to the school, I was nervous. I just knew this was going to be totally awkward and horrible. I walk into Starbucks and there he is.
"I dont' remember him being this cute," I thought to myself. "Oh, stop it!"
I set my backpack down and he asked me what coffee I wanted. Um, Peppermint Mocha of course. He brings our coffee back to the table and we just start with small talk. What's your major? Why did you pick that field of interest? Do you like sports? Where did you grow up? How many siblings do you have? Etc, Etc, Etc. Before I knew it, two hours had passed! This was so much more natural than I thought it was going to be.
"Hey, I have an intramural soccer game at 10 tonight. Want to come watch me play?"
"Um, sure. Ok."
Daniel likes to say this is the part of the evening where he realized just how stubborn I really am. We get to the soccer fields. It's like 38 degrees outside and raining. I'm standing on the sidelines shivering despite the sweatshirt I have on. Being the chivalrous gentleman he is, he walks over and offers me his hoodie as well. Of course, I politely decline, telling him he needs it more than me--I don't want him to think I'm a needy girl! After several more attempts at trying to get me to take the hoodie, I finally give in. I don't remember if his team won or not, but I do remember after it was over, he took me back to my car.
"I had a really great time with you tonight."
"Yeah, me too."
"Would it be ok if I called you sometime?"
"Sure! That would be great."
"Awesome. Well, have a good night then."
Over the next two weeks, he took me on an actual date and we talked on the phone every single day--most of the time for 3 to 4 hours at a time. I distinctly remember one such phone conversation where he told me, "I want to ask your parent's permission to date you. But before I do that, I want to talk to you about our beliefs, priorities, and values because if they don't match up, then there is no point in us continuing this relationship."
Um, is this guy for real? So we spent the next 3 hours asking and answering tough questions about whether our beliefs lined up, whether our values lined up, and what our priorities and dreams for the future were. After that conversation, I felt the walls around my heart slowly start to crumble.
The very next day, I decided to tell him about my "Mate List." I was so nervous and felt ridiculous, but the more I learned about him, the more I realized he was slowly completing my list of character traits I wanted in a husband. As I brought it into our conversation and rushed to explain why I made it, he stopped me and said, "This is so crazy because I did the same thing this past summer in Thailand." (He had spent 2 months in Thailand that past summer, teaching English to University students and preaching the gospel with a group from the BCM).
Needless to say, I was speechless for a moment. He continued, "I just felt the Lord tell me to write out a list one morning, so I did. It has 50 things on it." Whoa, over-achiever. FIFTY? But how cool that we did the same thing in the same summer!
Sunday, November 23, 2008. Daniel came out to my parent's house after church that night and asked them for their permission and blessing to date me. My parents were floored and totally respected the fact that he initiated it. That's our official "we're-dating-and-an-exclusive-couple" day.
Thanksgiving came and went and suddenly finals week was upon us. Daniel came to my house that Friday night to celebrate that the semester was over and we ended up watching Shrek. As I was saying good night to him, he looked at me and said, "Haley, I love you."
Time seemed to freeze and I stopped breathing. No guy had ever said that to me. As I looked into his eyes, I knew he wasn't saying those words just to say them, he truly meant them. Remember that promise I had made to myself that I wasn't going to say those words to a guy unless I knew he was the one I was going to marry? Well, in that moment I freaked. I think deep down I wanted to say them, but I just couldn't. So instead, I replied, "That means the world to me to hear you say those words. But, I can't say them back to you just yet." Talk about ruining the moment. I could see the hurt all over his face. I rushed to explain, "It's not that I don't love you back, it's just that you know I've never said those words to any guy before and I just want to make 100% sure before I say them to you." Well, I don't think that helped anything, but he graciously smiled and said everything was ok. I felt like a jerk. He left and I immediately went to talk to my mom about everything that just happened.
to be continued....
click HERE for Part 4