By Jason Baisden
If you, dear reader, have journeyed this far with me then you will have some sense of the underlying dynamics to our relationship. Early on I was barreling down the road at Mach 2 and Debbie (rightfully so) was more comfortable with something akin to a stroll. And as I mentioned in the previous article, I was getting more comfortable with balancing the two different speeds. It has been, and continues to be, important for me to provide the space Debbie needed (needs) to grieve in whatever way she feels is needed at any given moment, to share or not, to cry with or without commentary, but most importantly, to be there for her in ways that uplift, that comfort and point to the One whose peace and comfort surpasses our knowledge. I am not trying to convey that I was perfect (I failed plenty), but I did try to keep these things at the forefront of my mind.
You could even say that I had found my own level of peace and comfort in this balancing act. Things made sense to me (it’s 100% natural for her to want to go slow), I felt secure in the final destination (our marriage) and my love for this amazing woman was deepening as our friendship was continually being strengthened. The more time we would spend together only led to the desire for more time and as we got to know more about each other, it only increased the desire to know yet more still.
I can vividly remember a day trip to Asheville – to the Biltmore Estate; the drive up so full of conversation and sharing; the excitement of some one-on-one time; creating a new experience that was solely ours. And how we wished we could extend the hours, not wanting to let go of this moment yet excited about building upon it. Or the time I was invited to her late husband (Aaron) parents’ house in Sneads Ferry to spend the 4th of July and how I began to feel (in some early sense) a part of the family. In those moments the realization of just how blessed and fortunate I was (and am still) would flood over me and nearly overwhelm me. The glances from across the boat or across the dock; the laughter of the boys while fishing; and her constant beautiful smile – all these things and many more served to anchor me to the balanced pace. And I settled in to this balanced pace…
Until…Debbie stepped on the gas, broke the speed limit and raced on ahead of me.
We were driving the kids to a movie while at the beach in Sneads Ferry. Now it is not like we had not had any conversations about marriage or the future; we did. It is just that most all of those conversations would end with Debbie being, in her words, “completely freaked out!!!” It was not uncommon for any discussion about our future to turn quickly to any other subject under the sun – as long as it was not about marriage. There were no major, in-depth discussions of marriage prior to our beach trip. So it was a complete shock to me what happened during what I thought was just a mundane (but fun) trip to the movies.
As we were driving, chatting about random, day-to-day things – out of the blue Debbie says: “I think we should.” That’s it, just those words. No context, just: “I think we should.” Now I am actually thinking there are more words coming, something like: “I think we should…stop and get candy on the way” or “I think we should…stop for pizza on the way back.” So when I realize that there are no more words coming, I ask: “You think we should what?”
Her response: “I think we should get married.” BOOM! FIREWORKS! TAKE MY FOOT OFF THE BRAKE! All of a sudden my head is spinning. Part of me is absolutely thrilled, elated, overcome with joy while the other part has no clue what just happened. Surprised does not even begin to describe what I was feeling. After I reeled back from my surprise and clarified that I did hear her correctly, I realized I was learning something new about Debbie. She is this way in lots of things – slow, hesitant to make a big change quickly, in some ways cautious – then bang, all in, full speed ahead!
And the full speed ahead thing caught me by surprise again and again in the weeks and months that followed. It would go something like this:
Debbie: “I think we should do pre-marital counseling. What do you think?”
Jason: “I think that is a wonderful idea.”
24 hours later…
Debbie: “I scheduled us for next Tuesday at 1:00. I hope that works with your schedule.”
Jason: “Ok, sounds great.” In my mind, however, I am thinking – wow, that was quick. I had been operating under this “slow your pace” mindset for so long that I figured that would be the modus operandi for everything. Ooohhh no, not now, not with Debbie setting the pace. Agreement on pre-marital counseling now = next Tuesday (and you better be there). I was not disappointed about the pace, just really, really surprised.
Next were discussions about the type of wedding we should have. Should it be a small, intimate thing with just family and a few friends? That would certainly be less expensive and could entail less event planning. Or should we have a bigger wedding? One in which we could celebrate our love with lots of our family and friends. Debbie and I would kind of go back and forth, back and forth on this…Until…
Debbie: “I want to check out this venue called Bella Collina. Are you free to go up there with my on Wednesday?”
24 hours later…
We have a wedding venue and a wedding date….BEFORE (I stress before) I have officially proposed to her AND before we have sent out the first wedding invitation. Now for any guys who may happen to be reading this (or forced to by your wife), this may seem like not a huge deal. But any/all of the women reading this will most certainly realize that this is almost unheard of and a pretty big deal. We now have a venue, a wedding date, no invitations, no dress, no ring, no proposal and the wedding is less than 4 months away. Don’t let that last part sneak by you – 4 MONTHS AWAY! Oh, I have not even begun to get my house ready to sell so we won’t have to pay 2 mortgages. Oh, and I have no idea that about a month before our wedding I will be in the process of being recruited to a new company and a new job.
Full speed ahead, indeed! And I would not change one bit of it. There were certainly stressful times during that 4 month period, but the excitement and the anticipation of making this gorgeous, funny, intelligent, caring, amazing woman my wife over shadowed all of that.
I thought my 100 mph was fast. I had no clue that when Debbie steps on the gas 100 mph is just first gear – top speed is yet to come. And I absolutely love that about her! Slow, methodical, thoughtful, cautious, then when ready – bang! Full force, no looking back, confident and full of excitement.
Blessings flow over me in abundance because of her and no words are adequate to describe them.
Next up: Overcome by Beauty…
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