After graduating college, I (Melaina) worked as a ministry intern at our campus' Baptist student ministry. In spring of 2006 my internship was ending and I found myself in serious like with Jason. There were a lot of hints that maybe he felt the same way too...like how he wrote me an encouraging note for doing some ministry event, how he left my favorite candies on my desk for Valentine's Day, how he bought me Walk the Line after reading on my personal blog how much I had loved that movie. Now the rules at my ministry job discouraged an intern dating a student so a dating relationship wasn't possible yet. So as we headed into May I began counting down the few remaining days of my internship fully expecting him to ask me out as soon as it was over.
But he didn't. He still hung out with my roommate and me a lot and did sweet things for me. But once it was officially okay for us to begin dating, we simply proceeded to act as we had been all year.
Now it is very important at this moment in our story to clarify the reason Jason didn't ask me out right when my internship ended. He was a week out from leaving for his annual military training where he would be in Morocco for about 2 1/2 weeks. And he didn't think it was fair to ask me on a date and then say, "Well, see you in 3 weeks." Looking back, I believe it was a very rational and considerate thing to do. Yet, 2006 Melaina had no idea what was going on in Jason's head, and I spent those 3 weeks wondering if I had misread everything from him the whole year.
When Jason returned he did ask me to lunch, but I wasn't sure if that counted as a date. Then a couple of weeks went by where we settled into our regular routine of hanging out with friends. Still unsure of what exactly was going on between us, I decided to pray about it. I asked God to make it obviously clear if Jason & I should be together, and that if Jason didn't make an obvious move soon I'd assume that was God telling me no.
The very next day, Jason asked me out on a date to a movie. And that was our first official date.
As we moved into the dating chapters of our love story, two specific dates stand out as defining moments for us.
July 13, 2006
Jason asked me to go for a walk with him in a local park, and we finally had an open conversation about what we were both thinking and feeling towards each other. We clarified we were in a dating relationship, though I was sort of hesitant to start calling each other boyfriend/girlfriend since we had been on maybe 3 dates at that point. I didn't want to make the relationship seem more serious than it was for him by telling everyone he was my boyfriend. (Does that even make sense? I'm obviously an over-thinker when it comes to this sort of stuff!) So I told him I'd leave it up to him when he wanted to move from "just dating" to "boyfriend and girlfriend."
December 30, 2006
Christmas is my favorite time of year, and so before the season was over Jason took me on a date to see the the giant Christmas tree made of lights in Zilker Park. We had another one of those "defining the relationship" talks where we talked about commitment and what it meant to call each other "boyfriend" and "girlfriend." And then he told me he wanted to be with me only and asked me to be his official girlfriend.
When we look back on those months of dating, it's filled with such sweet memories for us. I was working in Austin at the time, and he was still living in San Marcos. Between living in different cities and having crazy schedules, we didn't see each other as often as we would have liked. Yet we grew really good at communicating (FINALLY!) through phone calls, texts and handwritten notes (my favorite). And when we were together for dates, we explored Austin and tried almost every single coffee shop in the city!
After a full year of getting to know the best coffeeshops in ATX, and getting to know one another on a very deep level over countless cups of coffee and phone calls that lasted for hours, it was December again. Zilker Park once again put up it's huge Christmas Tree. And Jason was preparing for another defining date in our relationship, one where he would ask me a very important question.
Read the next chapter of Our Love Story, Engaged!, here.