I love this time of year, don’t you? The wonder of God’s creation blooms around me as winter gives way to spring. Uggs are traded for flip-flops, wool sweaters for bright floral prints, and indoor evening activities for walks to the park with my family. Social media feeds fill with prom pictures, graduation announcements and college plans. Possibilities. New opportunities. Hope. There’s a renewed energy pulsing through the patterns of daily life … lingering conversations with a neighbor we haven’t seen in a while or spontaneous bike rides with our child who dreamed all winter of learning to ride without training wheels and finally achieved success. The winter storms are just a bad memory and the stifling humidity of August still feels eons away. While a new season certainly does not equate an absence of hardship, it does provide a chance to reflect on where we’ve been and what lies ahead.
This is also the time of year when my husband and I like to talk about our first date. As an inspirational romance author and long-time reader of said genre, I so enjoy the point in the story where the hero and heroine are into each other but that magical first date hasn’t happened yet. There’s excitement. Anticipation. The stakes in their fictional lives might be increasing yet the spark is evident and you just know they’re speeding toward that first romantic encounter. It’s a wonderful phase of courtship, both the fictional variety and in the real world.
I have fond memories of this season in my own life. It was late April, fifteen years ago, and we’d attended the same church for a few months. The young adult group we hung out with was composed of newlyweds, engaged couples, single people and folks like us … the initial spark had ignited but not yet given way to that first date.
Thank goodness for a proactive group leader who served in an unofficial capacity as part-time cupid. I believe the Lord orders our steps and weaves certain people into our lives for a season, and Pate’s goal that spring was to set a plan in motion and then get out of the way. Pate casually arranged a half-day canoe trip down a nearby river. He invited everyone in the large group to come, but only a few couples attended. Steve (my future husband), myself and one another single woman were the only ‘unattached’ people who agreed to go.
I’m not ashamed to tell you that I threw elbows to make sure I rode shotgun in Steve’s car and also in the canoe he paddled. Pate just flashed me a wide, knowing grin as I staked my claim on
Steve, er, I mean Steve’s canoe. The other young woman didn’t stand a chance.
We paddled happily along for the rest of the afternoon, chatting away, as though the rest of our group didn’t exist. I never once complained when he guided us under a low-hanging tree branch and a spider climbed all over me. Have I mentioned I’m terrified of spiders? It’s funny what doesn’t bother you when you’re smitten, right?
I remember very little about the rest of that day. We must’ve stopped for lunch, because Steve still points out the restaurant when we pass the exit on the interstate, but I don’t recall eating there. I do know that I went home that evening quite confident that he’d call me very soon. And he did. We’ve paddled through life together ever since.
Do you have a memorable first date? Maybe a disastrous event that you can look back on now and laugh? Or something incredibly swoon-worthy that told you he/she was The One? Tell us about it in the comments below. One lucky winner will receive a Kindle copy of my latest novel, Covering Home. Giveaway ends May 6, 2015 at 11:59pm EST.
photo credit: Shutterstock
D K Stevens says
Our first date was a blind date. A friend at work introduced us at a dance and 2 months later we were married. 38 years ago :)
Congratulations on 38 years together, DK! That’s wonderful. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to share a part of your story with us.
Andrea Cox says
What a fun first date, Heidi! I’m still single and never dated anyone. So my meet-cute has yet to happen. But I’m really looking forward to how God will unfold my story.
I had quite a few disappointing first dates that were generally the last too. However, I met Bryan at a halloween costume party. He was dressed as a rock star (complete with long hair, tattoos, and a fake snake around his neck), and had a ‘groupee’ with him as his date. Several of his friends suggested he call the “nice little milkmaid” (me). He had a mutual friend call me first to see if I would even consider going out with him. I agreed, knowing he was dating another girl, so I told myself not to take him too seriously. We had dinner and a movie together. He was such a gentleman (still is), and I felt comfortable talking and laughing with him till midnight. I didn’t hear from him for a few days, so I guessed the feeling wasn’t mutual and tried to let go of my disappointment. He finally called a week later and asked me out again, and again, and again. He told me after a few dates that he knew I was the girl he was going to marry after our first date and he wanted to close his relationships with the other girl was dating, so he could “court” me properly. We celebrated our 15 year anniversary this March, and it has been wonderful!
Becky Dempsey says
My husband and I grew up going to the same church, but never knew each other. He came back after a stint in the Army and his 6th grade teacher (my co-worker–I was teaching Kindergarten) introduced us. We started hanging out with a couple other people and were a couple before our first official date (as in we were the only 2 people and he paid for my meal). We went to Olive Garden and he gave me flowers (one of about 6 times he has in 17 years!)
Trixi O. says
My husband and I had long distance relationship before we even got together. We had met years before but were both married to other people. We became very close friends (his wife and him both) They mentored me through a very rough season in my life. I know the Lord used them both, and I am so thankful! My marriage eventually ended when I divorced my abusive spouse & the Lord called his wife home in a one-car accident. We lived many States away from each other at that time (I moved back in with my mom), but he said he felt a nudge in his heart to let me know of his wife’s passing. If he would have waited even one day to call me, he would have never gotten a hold of me since we were moving to a different apartment complex. Our phone would have been out of order! This tells you how much God was in control! Needless to say, he got the new phone number and he called me that next night. I think you know the rest of the story :-) Now mind you, this was well before cell phones or internet. We wrote a lot of letters back and forth (we still have them) and I spent a lot of money on long distant calls! God built a romance out of a very good friendship. And I already knew what kind of husband he would be since I saw how he treated his wife and marriage. So as far as the first “date” goes, we had to wait almost a year for, until we both were sure this was what God wanted for us. I was the one that moved for him. Even though I knew him, I was still very nervous getting off that Greyhound bus! He had his sister-in-law with him as a chaperone since we had to make an almost 3 hour drive to the city he lived in. So I don’t really remember any first date disasters, but I do know for the first few months I was a nervous wreck (lol)! And just in case you are wondering, he had arranged an apartment for me before I moved…so yes, we lived in separate places :-) Although, we were together a lot!
Whew, I tried to condense that story but still make it make sense…I don’t know how writers do it…lol!! Thanks for sharing your story with us, Heidi, what a sweet romance :-) Blessings on your marraige!
Narelle Atkins says
Lovely post, Heidi. Thanks for sharing your real life first date story with us :)
Ellen Gray says
I don’t know if it actually counts as a first date, but my now husband and I were traveling back to school from visiting friends when we got lost. We drove around Paducah, KY for 4 hours trying to find our way back to the road we needed. We have always thought the Lord was blocking our path so we would have plenty of time to talk. We started dating the next day :-)