Heather, how did you know Eric was the one? Was it his kind eyes? Did he promise you the moon? Was he rolling in piles of cash? Was there an animal attraction? What sealed the deal for you?
Fasten your seatbelts.
The moment I knew Eric was the right one for me was the evening I ripped the front, right fender out of his brand new car.
Our relationship flowed from acquaintances, to pen pals, to friends, to sweethearts, to marriage relatively smoothly. Had anyone asked me the “How did you know?” question up until this point, I probably would have said, “I just have incredible peace about it.” But, the moment I thought, “Wow, he really is the one for me” was a couple of months before our wedding (some would say that was a bit late for this realization ~smile~).
Sharing Cars is So Exciting!
When I was growing up and dreaming about who I would marry, I was excited by the idea of sharing a checkbook, discussing plans with him, and driving each other’s cars. Maybe it was the completely intertwined companionship I was craving. So, here I finally was. Twenty-two, almost married, and driving my fiancé’s brand new Honda Civic.
In retrospect, I have no idea why he let me drive it since I was not yet on his insurance. Something he is incredibly strict about now. But, anyway…
This particular night, Eric was in some dental pain and I excitedly volunteered to drop him off at his house and then pick him up for work the next day. Why either of us thought it was a good idea to leave him there alone without a car is beyond me. We must have been in a love fog or something.
He got out of the car, walked into the house, and I began to back the car ever so carefully down the driveway. Our driveway curves and, sadly, I did not curve with it! Suddenly, the car rattled and I heard the most horrific noise. A few seconds later, I discovered I had backed the car into the very large wooden planter box surrounding the side of the house. Somehow, the bumper missed the “fun,” but the front fender was not so lucky.
“Oh no! What have I done?!?!”
In a panic, I looked up at the house and saw Eric’s shadow frantically trying to get the back door opened.
He ran outside.
I desperately poured out buckets of sorrow and regret, apologizing profusely. The only phrase I remember saying was, “I’ll pay for it!” Eric shot me a look as if to say, “Heather, we are two months from the altar. You paying for it is basically me paying for it.” It provided a smidge of comic relief in an uncomfortable situation.
So, there I was… expecting his wrath – thinking he was within his rights to yell at me or at least treat me like an idiot. After all, what I did was ridiculous; at least, it seemed that way at the time! But, he did not yell. Much to my surprise he calmly replied, “Why don’t I drive you home tonight?” He was sweet. He remained steady. I asked, “Are you mad at me?” and he responded, “I’ve been happier.” Kind honesty at its finest. Thinking about it still makes me smile. I needed such a moment to remember in the more difficult times to come.
He took me home that night with the fender rattling in the breeze and he drove his car that way for over a year (it wasn’t a safety hazard and he just didn’t prioritize getting it fixed). The very day we paid the car off, we got into a wreck (is that not just the way life works!?). Thankfully, this time it was not my fault; and, when the car went into the body shop, it came out with a repaired fender. Good as new.
I Cannot Take My Heart to a Body Shop
Had Eric responded in anger, the fender may have gotten fixed but my heart would have carried a lasting scar. In our new relationship, it would not have taken much to break my spirit. He had the “right” to verbally rip me to shreds; but, instead, he showed himself gentlemanly and as someone who could shelter my heart. I thought I knew he was the one for me before that night, but his reaction to my heinous mistake sealed the deal.
I am emotional enough. I needed a kind, steady man.
How Does Your Sweetheart React?
Have you had a moment of pure stupidity in your relationship? (Of course, you have! We all have! ~smile~ If not yet, it is coming!) How did your boyfriend or girlfriend react to your gaffe? With tenderness? With understanding? With compassion? With anger? With character attacks? With disgust?
Should I leave my boyfriend or girlfriend over one or two unloving responses? No. We all mess up – even my steady man has moments that would disqualify him from the husband of the year award; however, I urge you to look for patterns in your relationship. Does he normally make fun of you when you make mistakes? Does she normally talk down to you when you fail to meet her expectations? Do you normally fear his responses to your shortcomings? Are you normally becoming numb to her disrespectful comments?
If your boyfriend or girlfriend habitually hurts you in this way, do not ignore it. So many people are imprisoned in marriages to cruel partners and would give anything to go back in time and walk away.
It could be that your significant other is unaware of how he or she is coming across. Or, it could be that his or her reactions to you reflect a deeply flawed character.
If you address the problem and lasting changes are made, great. If you humbly address the problem, and are met with high levels of defensiveness, rudeness, and even stonewalling, that sends a clear message. This person is probably not mature enough for a serious relationship or in possession of a worthy character. Forever is a long time to be locked up in marriage with someone who is self-centered and immature. If the conversation is hard to digest, but he or she is repentant and seeks to change, let it play out and see if the changes stick.
It Always Looks Best in the Store
You will love the outfit more in the store than you will ever love it at home (at least according to Sandra Bullock); so, if you only sort of like it in the dressing room, you will probably like it even less at home. There is a relationship lesson in there. If your boyfriend or girlfriend treats you in a half-hearted, unloving way in the store (i.e., the dating stage), he or she will treat you the same way, but worse, once you are married.
“You need to see how he acts in different situations.” More than one precious lady shared this advice with me when I was single, and now I am passing it on! Notice the details. Learn who he or she is in the good times and bad times. And, please do not get married until you have experienced at least one moment of pure lunacy (like I did) so you can see how your potential spouse acts when you fail…
…because you will – and you will need to give and receive buckets of grace over the course of your marriage.
How does your sweetheart react when you make mistakes? How do you react when he or she is less than perfect?