"For a moment Anne's heart fluttered queerly and for the first time her eyes faltered under Gilbert's gaze and a rosy flush stained the paleness of her face. It was as if a veil that had hung before her inner consciousness had been lifted, giving to her view a revelation of unsuspected feelings and realities. Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one's life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one's side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and music; perhaps...perhaps...love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath." L.M. Montgomery in Anne of Avonlea (pg 286)
There is a beauty that has been lost in our culture today. The beauty of small town friends who grow into loving each other is much rarer than in days past. We have gained the endless options of mates to be found on match.com, eharmony, bumble, tinder, christian mingle. This makes us think that somehow, people are better. There has to be a better option. Someone will be nearer to perfect on the next site. In reality, giving you a choice of 10 mates or 100 mates doesn't change the quality of the mates. It gives you more options, but more does not equal better.
***Vulnerability alert*** I'm about to get real and personal.
When you meet some people, you feel something immediately. You feel a spark, you get embarrassed to talk in front of them and hyper self-conscious. You automatically know that you are attracted to them.
Other people, when you meet them, don't even cause a blip on your radar. You don't feel nervous in front of them because they don't feel like 'an option.' Until one day something changes.
The sentiment shifts.
Your heart moves.
That's how it was for my husband and I. This is how it works for many people.
My husband and I were friends first. Actually, we were acquaintances. We ran in the same circles and on paper we almost looked like the same person. You could check off all the same groups we were a part of, hobbies and interests, we even selected the same mentors. But I wasn't attracted to him, and he wasn't attracted to me. Until one day, a slight shift occurred. I can't put it as eloquently as Montgomery, but when I read that paragraph it fit perfectly.
Suddenly, (probably due to the prayers of friends who wanted me to be in a healthy relationship) I could see things that I hadn't seen before. He didn't change, but my perspective of him did change.
However, it didn't all flow smoothly and easily from there. This kind of dating also has its risks.
How do you go about changing the relationship?
How can you take it slow when you already know them so well?
What if my perspective changed, but his didn't? Or visa versa?
What if the old perspective came back in a flood, and suddenly I wasn't attracted to him anymore?
What if it didn't go anywhere and we both felt stuck?
What if it DID go somewhere?
All of these questions worried me, but the risk was worth the reward. You may lose a friend if it doesn't work out. You may gain a lifelong loving partner if it does.
If you are in a similar situation and you're trying to navigate the awkwardness- you are not alone. The wondrous part of relationships is that the beauty of it all can continue to grow week after week, month after month, year after year. Keep your eyes open and your heart open. You never know what God is up to or what He can do. My hope in sharing this is that you feel hope. Maybe you don't see anyone as "an option" right now, but your perspective might change. The horizon may open up new possibilities yet.
Until next time,
P.S. If you want to talk with someone about this please fill out the Contact form found here. I would love to walk beside you through this!