Our Courtship - Part 3

If you missed the beginning click here for part 1 and part 2.

my friend Leah took this the day after Caleb & I got engaged

So the texting became more frequent and so did the visits and
sometimes Facebook messages and chats.

On a typical Saturday visit at the end of October 2009 with
 Caleb and some of his brothers, it happened.
Caleb and I were left completely alone.
It wasn't even planned.
Except of course, by the Lord.
Do you have any idea how it wasn't even possible for that to happen?
I say that because Caleb's brothers (and I love each and every one of them dearly even when they make me mad) can talk water UPHILL.
Caleb is very quiet. The others; not so much.

My grandma, me and Caleb on his birthday last November
So we were left alone for about an hour or so in the living room.
The tv had a college football game going since I'm pretty sure Caleb and his
brothers came to my family's house to see us...and to watch college football on ESPN.
I just sat there tired from the day's activities wondering WHY I had to be left alone with "the quiet brother" and wondering what I was suppose to say.
Caleb sat there nervously, because he decided that to fulfill his "plan",
he needed to make sure we were 100% on the same page as far as beliefs go.
So I'm just sitting there staring blankly at the tv (I have NO idea whatsoever how one plays football; still don't) when all of a sudden Caleb coughs (he always coughs before he say something important, but I didn't know that then).
 He coughed, and then without making very much eye contact with me starts asking me
about all kinds of things from my opinions on women's dress, holidays, children, head coverings, doctrinal things, etc. I can't even remember it all.
I thought is was sort of a strange conversation since I knew that HE KNEW what I believed.
I just didn't know that he was double checking. Caleb double checks and triple checks everything in life. I like that about him.
Then when he was done double checking he said he needed to head back home.
I was somewhat relieved that he was going and I could now go help my mom clean up from the day's events.

So...I sort of kind of - but not really - thought over my conversation that'd I'd just had with Caleb while I was cleaning up.  Then a few hours later I got a text message from him.
He sounded giddy and it said something about how he'd had a great day and that he was SO glad we got to talk about things.

Yeah right, I was thinking sarcastically...you were quizzing me.
You had a purpose only I didn't know you had a purpose and a plan.

THAT is the exact moment in history that it dawned on me that this dude LIKED ME!
As MORE than a friend!
I went upstairs and I um...

I prayed that God would make Caleb NOT like me.
As you can see...He did not grant me my request.
He knew. Caleb knew. I didn't yet know.

dancing at my sister's birthday party last July

So I sobbed. And sobbed. And that didn't get me anywhere.
So I wrote all kinds of things that evening in my journal.
Things about how I hoped I was mistaken and that God would make Caleb
not like me. That sounds so very sad and awful of me in retrospect.
It was NEVER because I didn't like Caleb or anything...
I just didn't feel that my heart was ready to be in a romantic relationship yet.
I still had all that hurt and pain going on.
But the Lord knew. And His timing is ALWAYS perfect.
You can count on that.

So the day after our "talk", I felt horribly guilty about my reaction to the Lord.
I prayed constantly and asked Him to make it VERY clear to me if He wanted me to consider Caleb.
I asked Him to change my heart to romantically liking Caleb ONLY if it was His will.
I begged Him to not let me get hurt.
I didn't write in my journal again for 10 days.
10 looong days of prayer and seeking God's will.
10 days later my journal entry says "I think God has changed my heart for Caleb".
Only 10 days! God mercifully answered my prayers!

Caleb had NO clue I was going through all this. He probably just thought I was liking him
all along. I'm not sure.

Leaving the church. I love the look on Bub's face!

Anyways...3 weeks after Caleb quizzed me he starting talking with my dad and told him that he wanted to court me. My dad took him very seriously and told Caleb that when he came over on the day after Thanksgiving (he was already planning on a visit that day) that they could discuss things.
So I didn't know about any of this.
Caleb helped my dad fry some turkeys and while they did that apparently they talked things over and Caleb asked my dad's permission to court me. Not to marry me, but to court me.
Caleb got permission that same day, because my parents already knew Caleb and his character, etc.
Sometimes the dad/suitor part can take a long time if the man is someone who isn't well known by the parents/family.
So ...that's why again I say: no courtship is the same. There are no one set of rules.

Now by this time I WANTED him to court me.
To marry me.

So the same day he asked my dad's permission Caleb asked me if I wanted to be
"more than friends".
I told him before I could answer him I had a LOT of questions.
There were some things that he believed that I wanted clarification on.
He kindly answered all my questions and clarified any misunderstandings I had.
Then I said yes.
Whole heartily said yes!

All courtships have different sets of rules regarding what kinds of interactions the couple can have:
hand holding, kissing, hugging, being alone together, going out on dates, chaperone's, length of courtship, length of engagement etc.

I guess my parents were pretty easy going.
We had lots of alone time to talk.
We went out alone and on dates.

Although...now that I think about it...most of our "courting" took place at home.
Just sitting around watching movies or football or talking or planning future things.
Caleb very quickly became a part of my family and that was a huge blessing!

But again...I'm not holding up our courtship as a guideline.
It just so happened to work beautifully for us.
I do think when the parents/or father set the rules for the courtship that they
should take into account things like the couple's age and maturity level.
I know my parents did with me and Caleb and with my sister and her fiance.

I've read MANY books and articles on the subject of courtship.
Some pretty much declare that their way is the only way.
Even the Bible doesn't give ONE way.
The Bible does give guidelines.
All couples who are courting OR dating are to pursue holiness.

Some books I read said that the couple should only be best friends before they're married and that love should only come after marriage.
I don't agree with that.
I don't doubt that many happily married people have gone about it this way...
but if you are happily marrying someone...how can you NOT love them?!
I couldn't help but to fall in love with Caleb before marriage!

Another issue frequently brought up in books and articles on courtship is that of emotional purity.
That is the belief that one should remain emotionally pure during the courtship process and to NOT give ones heart away to the other person.
Now, I believe that BEFORE courtship this is a good thing to practice.
But...during our courtship, as the Lord made it clearer and clearer to both of us
that it was His will for us to marry and spend the rest of our lives together, I couldn't help, but to give my heart little by little to Caleb.
Yes, I guess I was taking a bit of a risk that he would change his mind and leave me, but
that didn't stop my heart from being emotionally involved.
Is it really possible to keep ones heart from growing in love or emotional attachment towards someone who is pursuing you for marriage? If you are happy in your courtship I mean? Is it really?

Caleb and my dad spent lots of time together during our courtship remodeling my parents kitchen.
Caleb and my dad are both very gifted handymen and so together they got a lot accomplished.
But working together like that gave them time to become better friends.
I like that.

The topic of woodworking reminds me:
Yall, I am SO spoiled by Caleb!!!
That man built me a GORGEOUS cherry jewelry box for my birthday in 2009.
He even filled it full of Dove chocolates!
He actually started to build me that box the week after "the talk" at the end of October.
He told me later that he'd been hoping that I would be his girl by my birthday (12/29) that year so that he could give me the box then.
I love the sort of hope and peace Caleb had about the whole situation.
Especially, considering that at the time I didn't even know there WAS a situation!

Caleb also built the ring box that he used to propose to me with. He built it years before in hopes of getting to use it one day.
So many sweet things for me to treasure!

Our courtship was only 6 weeks long.
Caleb and I just knew.
My parents were thrilled.
They ADORE Caleb.

We were engaged the first week of January 2010 and got married on March 27th 2010.

best friends!

I can't imagine a happier marriage.
I love that man. Love him to pieces!

We've been married for 17 months now, and we've had so many difficult things thrown at us since we've been married. We've dealt with family matters, money matters, my health (colitis flare after 2+ years in remission), and 2 miscarriages.
I'm so grateful that I have Caleb by my side through all of life's difficulities.
We both strive to bring glory to God in all of life's circumstances and to thank Him for each day we get to spend together.

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