It was the summer after I graduated from college and I was preparing to move back to Lynchburg for graduate school. Months earlier, my heart had begun longing for him; but, alas, he did not have any romantic feelings for me at that time. Still, my decision to do my graduate work at Liberty might have had the tiniest bit to do with him. ~smile~
Mom and Dad graciously paid for my time in undergraduate; but, now that I was grown and moving into my apartment, it was time to stop living off their money and find a job. (Being a grown-up seemed a lot more exciting then than it does now!) So, I applied for a position as an academic advisor… and what do you know? They scheduled my interview for June 11th – my dad’s 49th birthday – a year to the day before Eric and I got married.
Though it was not ideal to leave Dad alone on his birthday (he probably enjoyed the down time), Mom and I packed up and headed to Lynchburg for my interview. Was I nervous? Yes, such events always leave me feeling a bit queasy; but, I was also excited to see my Eric even though he was not officially my Eric yet.
Dinner and a Half-Watched Movie?
Our plan was to meet for dinner with Mom and then go back to his apartment for a while. At this point, I was still unsure how Eric felt about me. He seemed to be getting cozier in our (almost) nightly phone conversations. He randomly sent me an alarm clock when I told him I had misplaced mine. And, in general, he seemed sweeter than usual. Still, I had gotten my hopes up before, so I was cautious (to say the least).
The interview went well enough (though I did not get the job, but I got another job in the same department which I loved!). Afterward, Mom and I met Eric at the Golden Corral and he jumped out of his car and gave me an unexpected, lingering bear hug. This was not typical of him, so I became even more curious. Not only that, but he had washed and vacuumed out his car. (Who was this guy? He is not one to over-concern himself with impressing people.)
After we had left dinner, Mom went back to the hotel while Eric and I went to Walmart, (Lynchburg’s top rated hangout). After our Wally World run, we went back to his apartment to watch a movie. I cannot remember the movie we watched, but I can remember being extremely distracted through it all.
After the movie had ended, Eric told me he had missed me. It became obvious he no longer wanted to be just friends, and I left that night with a spring in my step. We did not officially become a couple that night because Eric wanted to ask my Dad’s permission first to date me; but, I glided into our hotel room and told Mom, “I think I have a boyfriend,” to which she responded, “I figured that when he hugged you outside the restaurant.”
It was hard to leave the next day. I came for an interview, but left with so much more. I can remember singing a solo in church the next day and feeling on top of the world. It was as if nothing or no one could touch me. Was this what being in love felt like – not in drama, but in love? I glowed and floated through the summer, and when I visited him again a month later, we went on our first official date to a hole-in-the-wall, amazing, Greek restaurant. I still remember the grin on Eric’s face. His eyes were filled with the hope of new love.
Where Did the Excitement Go?
While celebrating our tenth anniversary last June, I remember looking at Eric’s face. Not only was his countenance less excited than it was on our first date, but he seemed weary. As we ate, I remembered that first date and all the hope we felt before life came along and wore us down. We had no idea how much we would struggle through those first few years of marriage, work, and graduate school. We were blissfully unaware that we would have trouble conceiving a child. We did not realize how tiring the daily grind would be, or how much blood, sweat, and tears it would take to build a business.
Nope, on that day, all we felt was excitement and anticipation. We knew marriage was in our future. From that night in his apartment until I walked down the aisle, we never had any doubt. Sometimes, I want to return to those days… I miss that couple.
What Eric and I have experienced – the ups and downs – are completely normal in any marriage. Few couples are as mad for each other ten years into their marriage as they are during the first six months of their relationship.
After reminiscing about those first moments together, I thought, “Would it not be exciting to recreate them?” We could not stay true to every detail (the current residents of his old apartment might not appreciate the intrusion!), but we could make it as authentic as possible. Sometimes going back to the starting line can help a couple rekindle a struggling flame and help them refocus their attention on what matters.
What did we want out of life back then?
Why did we choose each other in the first place?
What dreams and goals did we lose sight of?
What would it take for us to get back on that path?
Let’s Try It!
Even if your relationship is fairly new, consider recreating some special moments. Try to remember details of the events and how you felt at the time. Once a year, pick a special moment from early in your relationship and reenact it! How fun does that sound?
Am I more excited now than I was at the beginning of writing this post?! Yes, I am! Just remembering the early days brings it all back to me – the joy, the thrill, the hope.
I think it is about time Eric and I take a trip back in time. Will you do the same?
What memorable date or event do you want to recreate with your special someone?