How My Boring Date Became My Husband

David and I had been dating for six months or so, and I was trying to figure out if I really loved him. I had liked him from the beginning—what was there not to like? He was kind and considerate, smart and articulate, hard-working and careful with his money. He was really into me and would write poems and leave long romantic voicemails when we were apart. We could talk for hours about deep things, like the meaning of life and our hopes and dreams for the future.

Amber and David
One of our first dates.

Problem was I wasn’t very attracted to him physically. It’s not that I thought he was ugly—but I did think he looked kind of funny with his outdated glasses, and he was scrawny, and sometimes when we kissed I noticed his bad breath.

But he was such a good guy, and we had so much in common, and I really liked him as a person—so we kept on dating. Most days I was convinced I loved him.

Sometimes, though, doubts would flare like fireworks (not the romantic kind). On one such occasion we were at Myrtle Beach with his family for vacation and we had ended the night by watching Walk the Line, a movie about Johnny Cash. Something in the movie troubled me. Johnny Cash was everything David was not: ruggedly handsome, a rebel, the kind of man who needed a woman’s love to tame him. And I found myself, like so many women, attracted to the bad boy.

In comparison, David just seemed boring. One dimensional. Unattractive. Way too predictable.

After the movie was over, David and I sat arm in arm on the porch overlooking the ocean. It was too dark to see the waves, but we could hear them lapping as the tide rolled in. I told David about my doubts, about how the movie had made me feel, that I knew it was kind of silly and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but this was what I was struggling with. We had that kind of honest relationship, we trusted each other enough to be honest about our doubts. David listened patiently. I don’t remember if he said much, or if he just listened. I’m sure he reassured me that he loved me, as hard as that must have been when there I was questioning our love.

The story could have ended there. I could have decided that David and I just didn’t have enough chemistry and called it quits.

anything but boring
Five years into marriage, David is anything but boring.

But I’m really glad that it didn’t. Something in me recognized that in relationships—and ultimately in marriage—there are some things that matter more than others. When we are in our seventies and celebrating our fiftieth wedding anniversary, I’m probably not going to be too disappointed that I didn’t marry that rebel on his motorcycle. Instead I’ll be grateful for all of the character traits that David has that helped us to have a long-lasting and joyful marriage: his consistency, his patience, his willingness to admit he is wrong, his trustworthiness.

Five years into marriage, I do not find David to be the least bit boring. That’s the beauty of giving yourself to another person: the more you give, the more you discover how deep and complex and vastly interesting that other person is. Over time the buttoned-up, straight-laced guy (he used to be Amish, after all!) that I thought I knew became more dimensional and more attractive to me. But it wasn’t that he was changing, it was that love was giving me new eyes to see him as he actually is.

Amber

Amber lives in Ohio with her husband, David, and their three sons. She and David are currently writing a book about young adults’ stories of forming relationships and families.Amber is part of iBiL because she was moved by the stories of her peers, and believes that we as a generation can come together to create stronger marriages and families for the next generation.
Amber

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5 Comments

  • wow…I met a guy last September and he’s everything I ever wanted in a man, solid, responsible, present, reliable, good job, career focused, a god son, concerned citizen, loves animals, he compliments me, we have lots in common and he’s really really good looking. But the spark’s not there at least all the time. Sometimes I feel smothered with his affection and compliments and shame on me I once told him I would warm faster on him if he was bad. I come from a long line of really bad relationships with bad flaky guys who treated me poorly, won’t commit, disrespect me and so on. What can I do? I wish I was in lovd already but I’m starting to think my concept of ‘love’ is all wrong

  • Thank you for sharing this. I have heard many times, and certainly Pope Saint John Paul II was clear in Love & Responsibility, that the physical attraction *must* be there, but whats not said enough is that it can build if the heart is open to it. I was a ‘bad boy’ who cleaned up my act, and now I don’t fit-in with either camp. I won’t go back to how I used to behave, but now I feel goofy because I’m awkward around ‘nice’ girls. A few women of faith & virtue have dated me, but … so far nothing. Its very troubling because I’m Catholic and on the Catholic dating sites I see like 50 women I know personally (in real life) from our larger church community and none of them are interested in me; I know its because I’m socially awkward in Christian circles. its embarrassing but I know humility is one of the 7 lively virtues that I’m striving for. The hardest part for me to make peace with though is that I only became unattractive when I straightened out; when I was a ‘bad boy’ I didn’t have this problem, I dated a lot. LOL-when I wasn’t in jail that is.

    • Thank you, Mark, for sharing some of your story, too. I think you put it well when you said that what is not emphasized enough is that attraction can build if you are open to it. ( I wouldn’t have married David if that attraction never grew–but it did with some time and the eyes to see it!) I appreciate your humility and pray that the right woman will take the time to discover who you truly are!

  • Wow thank you so much for writing this piece. This is unbelievably accurate at this point in my life right now!

    • Glad you can relate, Rebecca. The more I talk with people, the more I’m realizing what a common experience this is.

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