Friday, January 22, 2010

A marriage examined: Part I

So I feel like I blog a lot about our family, and my kids, and adoption. I even have the occasional rant. I also like sharing about books I'm reading.

I DON'T blog about marriage all that much.

It's not because I don't have anything to say on the subject. I think part of it is, I'm a very private person (with a blog, I know, it makes no sense), and for some reason talking about my relationship with my husband feels more vulnerable than sharing what my kids ate for lunch, or than hounding people about adoption. Also, I am so not a cheesy, mushy sort of gal (nerdy, yes. Sappy, no.)

But I thought I would do some posts about my husband and me, since our relationship is obviously a huge part of who I am. I've been having so much fun reading the story of how my friend Jenny met her husband, and really, who doesn't like talking about relationships? (Okay maybe that's just my inner-aspiring-psychologist talking. So let me rephrase: I like talking about relationships.) So, without further ado:

We met in college, at church.
We got engaged about a year after we met.
We both think that was too long.
We were engaged for nine months.
We both think that was too long.
We've been married for seven and a half years.
Thankfully neither of us think that's too long. :)

In some (most?) ways, our dating relationship was more like a courtship than anything else. (Doesn't that sound old-fashioned? What can I say--we were the young, idealistic products of Joshua Harris' books. Remember him?) Kevin and I met, randomly hung out a few times,
the first being when we ran into each other at a Weird Al concert--don't judge,
Kevin eventually announced to me that he was "quite taken with me" (I'll never forget that use of words, or where we were when he said it: on campus sitting on some stone benches), and that he wanted to know if I felt the same because he wanted to pursue a relationship with me.

I acquiesced, but got cold feet later. He felt insecure at the Bebo Norman concert. Things got real awkward real fast. We exchanged some long emails and determined that we'd just get to know each other as friends first, pressure-free. (I am very, very noncomittal and indecisive. Poor Kevin.)

About a week or two later, we had what can only really be described as a business meeting at my apartment to reevaluate the relationship (as in, he'd done some thinking and praying and had written down some notes ahead of time. Oh yes. We are so awesome.) Through those long emails we'd exchanged, and over the week or so that had passed, I'd felt like God had shown me that this Kevin fellow was someone pretty great. (I didn't want to date for fun. Did I mention I'm noncomittal and indecisive? The thought of casually dating random people and having to maybe break up did NOT appeal to me in the least. Ever. It also felt like a huge waste of time--I'd rather be hanging out with friends. Or reading a book.)

One of the things we discussed at our "meeting" was the purpose of our relationship. I came out and said that I wasn't interested if it was just this random, date-for-who-knows-how-long type of deal. I thought dating should be to find someone to marry. (Check out how serious I was! At age 19 no less. Again, this was probably thanks to Joshua's ideas.) Kevin told me he felt the exact same way and that he wouldn't be pursuing me if he felt like he wasn't in a general place to make a commitment in the not-terribly-distant-future. (He knew Joshua too apparently.) Whew.
Funny thing is, this makes it sound like we are super serious people, but one of the huge things that attracted me to Kevin was his ability to make me laugh. Which he does He cracks me up. I think he's darn funny. Life is nothing without humor--don't let anyone tell you otherwise. :) Like I mentioned earlier, I guess we were just idealists in certain ways, and knew what we wanted, and what we didn't.

Interestingly, even during the time period where I felt unsure about starting up the relationship, I found myself looking for excuses to visit the bookstore where he worked. I'd feel excited when he'd drop by my apartment. I even went grocery shopping with him and his friend at 11 pm one night. (We had many a date at Albertson's.) I always looked forward to seeing him at college group midweek, and I always felt comfortable with him.

In the end though, I think what won me over more than the laughs or the late night Albertson's trips was his strength of conviction, and his kindness. He was kind to everyone. He didn't care about looking cool or what people thought about him. (Still doesn't, actually.) And he was so committed to Jesus and to living that out in his life. And, still is.

Deep down, both of us probably knew by the end of our business meeting that we were together for good. Not because we naively thought relationships always last, but because it seemed God had put us together and that there was substance to what we were doing. Still we committed to not becoming overly emotionally involved outside of engagement or marriage, because that seemed unwise. We never really called each other "boyfriend" or "girlfriend" (I always hated that, it seemed so corny and lame), I made sure not to call him too often, and to let him take the lead. We didn't talk about the future. We didn't say "I love you"--the first time Kevin told me was when he was down on one knee on a beach in Cambria, asking me to be his wife.
We DID have a great time together. We hung out, read the Bible, went to the beach, watched movies, talked (and laughed) for hours, spent time with dear friends, and yes went to Albertson's. It was an amazing relationship and a wonderful, treasured time in my life.

I was 20, and Kevin was 21 the day we got married. So many more thoughts to share, and I'm looking forward to doing that here in the days to come!!!


Mama Mote said...

Weird Al? Alright!!! You two are so cute. Yes, Kevin is a funny guy. Love reading stories about how couples got together. Thanks for sharing. hugs

Kevin Heldt said...

I'll always remember the day that I kissed "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" goodbye...

Kate said...

Oh you guys are wonderful! I love your story, its so...perfect. I think Trav and I were in a similar boat. Looking forward to hearing more thoughts. Love you!

joy said...

i love that you are sharing your story! but didn't you leave out the part where kevin said something about making you a bride at 19?

Brianna Heldt said...

Kevin you were SO PROUD to make that joke about the book to me before we were even you remember that?

Joy that sounds familiar!!! Something about yeah, making me a bride at 20 maybe? In fact I THINK he said that at Brian and Michelle's wedding! Of course it made me very excited to hear it. And thanks for reminding me, I'd totally forgotten!!! :)

Kathryn said...

Brianna, I love this post! Maybe I'll do something like that in the future...

Sorry I haven't gotten back to your email...I will soon!

Mommy Laity said...

Can I just say I'm super excited that I play a tiny role in this post. =)

Almost makes me miss that Human Sexuality class...almost. =)

Love you guys!

darci said...

i loved reading this! can't wait to hear more! (my oldest is only 9 and i already have that book on my bookshelf...just waiting. :) thanks for sharing your sweet love story..i lov eyour business meeting. :)

Charity Hildebrand said...

Oh this post was so great! I loved hearing how you guys met. We got married young too - I was 19 and Joel was 20. And we thought a 4 1/2 month engagement was too long ;) I LOVED getting married young and wouldn't have changed a thing!! I can't wait to read the rest of your story :)

Brianna Heldt said...

Lara HA!!!! Thank goodness I had you there. No one should have to brave Human Sexuality alone!!!

Kristen Borland said...

LOVE it!!


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