This post started out completely different than it is in its current form. I was going to write about waiting on the Lord and enduring trials. I had most of it written, actually. But a recent change if events necessitates a change of topic.
I met Ashley last April. It was a little more than a year ago. While I can say that I was attracted to her I can’t say that it was love at first sight. But we did become friends fast. She had a lot of great qualities. The fact that she was only 19 (I was 29 at the time) is one of the biggest deciding factors for never wanting to date her or pursue any romantic feelings. In fact I had no romantic feelings.
As the year progressed I dated around. I never had anything too serious. There were relationships that lasted longer than others. And they were good. I enjoyed the time with the girls. I sometimes bemoaned my fate to be “forever alone” with Ashley and her friends. Talking about relationships is one thing we did often and somewhat frequently. I liked it as it gave me an outlet to vent my frustrations and a woman’s perspective on how to handle myself around women. She offered advice and encouragement. I was even told by two different girls on separate occasions that they liked me. I, however, did not harbor the same feelings. It was nothing against the girls, mind you, it was always me.
As I’m sure you know, I am a deeply religious and spiritual person. I take my faith very seriously. While I love to joke around and be silly, there are some things that I will not joke about or make any compromises on. My faith is one of those things. I always approached my relationships and dating life with this sort of mindset. I needed to pick someone whom the Lord agreed was right for me. My patriarchal blessing says “I want you to know that there is one, even now, who is being prepared to be your helpmeet. You will know when you find her that she is the one who should spend eternity with you.” No pressure or anything in dating there at all.
Let’s get back to Ashley now. I first noticed a change in my feelings for her several weeks ago. We were sitting in the chapel after sacrament meeting putting away the music from choir. She, Sophia Ochoa, and I were sitting there talking about life and dating. And I started to realize that “wow, this girl is even more special than I thought”. But I didn’t act on it. The next week Ashley, Sophia, my brother, and I were all supposed to go watch a movie as friends. Things happened and it ended up being just me and Ashley. It was a little strange for me. Here I am alone with a girl that I may or may not have a crush on. It was too soon to tell. We had a good time and enjoyed the movie. We laughed a lot. There was one point where she even used the phrase “friend zone”. Now for any guy out there familiar with that phrase, you can understand the slight frustration I felt at hearing that. But I wasn’t completely interested in her yet, so it was no big deal.
We continued to hang out and talk. I went to different activities with her and her friends. I got to know her better and better. So I texted Sophia “Would it be weird if I asked Ashley out?” (Yes, those are the exact words I used. I am a dork.) Her reply was that she would say yes, but that she wasn’t really looking for a relationship. Ashley had just gone through a rough breakup. I told her neither was I, really. I actually wanted to date around. I was looking for someone close to my age and maybe a little hung up on another girl I know. Then about two weeks ago we were at Nickle City (a cheap arcade center) with my brother, her brother, and her brother’s friend. She was looking for a ride to Salt Lake City to return a guitar and exchange it for a new one. I offered to take her. And then I felt a strong urge to invite her to dinner. Like a date dinner. She said yes. I was happy.
The first date I didn’t even consider a real date. But Sophia said that it was when we talked on Sunday. We really connected. I was getting to know her on a much more personal level (keep in mind that we’ve known each other and been hanging out for more than a year at this point). I knew I wanted to go out with her again. For nearly every day since that first date we have been seeing each other. Our second date was the next Thursday where we went to go watch a movie. As we went back to the car I asked if we were dating then (seeing how we’d spent nearly every moment of free-time with each other for nearly a full week. She said we were “dating but not boyfriend/girlfriend”. I was more than happy with that. Things were going well.
It was during this time that I spoke with my friend from work. We’ve know each other for years and always talk about life and spiritual matters. He seemed to sense something with this that I hadn’t. he told me that I needed to take this matter to the Lord. To pray and fast about it to see what the Lord thought about our dating. Reluctantly I obliged. I was afraid of the answer. He told me “I’m fairly certain I know what your answer is going to be.” So I fasted. And I prayed. I took the question to the Lord. An answer came. One I wasn’t expecting. Especially not so soon after starting to date her. And I knew I couldn’t tell her. I had to keep this to myself and allow the relationship to grow more. Plus, I was REALLY freaked out.
We continued seeing each other everyday. By unspoken means we really did become boyfriend/girlfriend. We knew that we didn’t want to date anyone else. By Tuesday I had decided I needed to slow things down a lot. We were moving too fast and I was freaking out even more. So I told her I needed a “me” day. A day to not do anything but relax. She was “okay” with that (and by “okay” I mean mad at me for ditching her, but understood that I might need some space). Midway through the day I felt a very very strong prompting that I needed to go to Institute with her. By strong prompting I mean it was a voice that said “go to Institute to see Ashley”. Not being one to ignore a strong prompting like that, I obliged.
The lesson was nice. I don’t really remember what is was about anymore, really. After it was done, I saw that Sophie was having a really rough day. She asked me and her home teacher to give her a blessing of comfort. As we were giving her the blessing, Ashley was crying. Really crying. I was concerned, so I knew I needed to talk to her. We sat and chatted with Sophie and her home teacher for a while, until everyone decided to go out for dinner. We told them that we’d catch up. I really needed to talk to Ashley.
As soon as we were alone (and I know this sounds really lame. probably because it is) I told her “I think I love you.” She told me “I know I love you.” And then we kissed. It was amazing. I really felt such a strong love for her. A sense that no matter what I’d never let anything happen to her. Then I asked her why she was crying so much. She told me that she had received a confirmation. I think the people in the next state over could hear my heart beating at this point. “A confirmation of what?”
“That this is right. And we are supposed to be together. Haven’t you received a confirmation yet?”
“Yes. A while ago. But I wanted to wait to say anything until I knew you were ready.”
“So we both got a confirmation. I mean, it felt like the spirit kicked me and told me you were the man for me.”
At this point I thought I was going to pass out. I think we were both crying. I asked her what that meant. What did we do from there. “I guess it means we’re supposed to get married.” And so, on Tuesday night, Ashley Lefler and I got engaged. It was completely unexpected. But I know that it is right. She knows it is right. The Lord knows it is right.
I am still in shock. Ashley and her parents are still in shock. But we know, deep down, that this is right. I really lover her with all of my heart. There will be trials. There will be tough times. We certainly have our work cut out for us. But there must be an opposition in all things. Without trials we won’t be able to grow. I am scared and apprehensive and excited all at the same time. Through it all I know that this is what the Lord wants. Some of you may not agree that this is a good idea. That it is too fast. Believe me, every single argument that you have has already come through my mind and Ashley’s over and over again these last few days. But it all comes down to the fact that we have received confirmation through the Holy Spirit of Truth that this is right. In the end, that, and our deep love for each other, is what matters. I personally wanted to wait a little longer. But the Lord doesn’t always let us do things on our own time. His timing is different like that. It’s one of those things that makes life worthwhile. I’m just glad we were both ready and open enough to hear when He told us what we needed.