We drove to the Wal-Mart parking lot and parked toward the back, continuing the conversations we had at Minto Brown. Having clarified his intentions, our conversations changed from general conversations about ourselves to conversations about us, and the potential of a future together.
Noting that we were both incredibly poor college students Rob told me that while he looked forward to getting to spend more time with me, he felt the need to clarify that our dates would continue to be mostly cheap and/or free. He frankly stated that if I wanted to be romanced and wooed with fancy dinners, flowers and gifts, I was spending time with the wrong guy.
He was a simple guy who was very budget conscious, on a fixed GI income, who was going to school to be a pastor. I knew enough about pastors to know that you don’t choose to marry one if you’re hoping for a luxurious lifestyle—they’re not exactly known for their income. He felt compelled to make sure I knew what I was getting into.
Many girls might have been taken aback by a conversation like this, but for me it was a breath of fresh air. Never in my life had I been impressed by money. In fact, I was typically repelled by guys who flashed it around or were careless with it.
I grew up living a simple life and I was more than comfortable continuing to live a simple life. In fact, it was my preference. Don’t get me wrong, I hoped to know that our bills would be paid and our needs would be met, but I never fancied new cars, big houses or expensive jewelry. Lavishing gifts on me was not the way to win me over either—so it was a good thing he had no intentions of doing so. I was grateful that he was open and honest with me about what I could expect from him. It gave me the opportunity to express my expectations in return.
I was already in deep over my head by going to a Christian College. My tuition for the semester was barely paid by working my tail off, and all of my summer income was not slated to stretch far enough for me to be able to return to Corban in the Fall. The last thing I needed was the pressure to impress him, and clearly he and I were on the same page about that. Unlike relationships I’d had in the past, Rob clearly stated that would be the one paying for any dates that did happen to cost money. And since he didn’t have a whole lot of money to pay for said dates, there probably wouldn’t be many.
I loved his honesty and his forthrightness. I loved that he had convictions about his role in our relationship. I loved that he had expectations for himself and intentions to rise to those expectations. I loved that he was sharing these things because he wanted to make sure that if I were going to fall for him, he wanted me to fall for him for who he was, not for who he thought I wanted him to try to be.
That conversation also gave me the encouragement to be myself. To be real, open and honest. After all, now that he mentioned it, I also wanted him to take an interest in me for everything I was and everything I wasn’t.
We both also shared some of our fears about getting into a relationship. I told him that I thought he was crazy for considering a future with me given all of the reasons I didn’t feel like I was a logical choice for him. He told me that he had sought council about pursuing a relationship with me from several people he respected and he didn’t see those things as a reason not to get to know me better.
That night Rob also told me that his only intention in dating was to determine if I was who God intended for him to marry. He clarified that if at any point God makes it clear to either of us that we don’t have a future together that we should sever our relationship immediately. He had previously learned his lesson the hard way about holding onto a relationship for too long. It was a lesson I had learned over and over again as well.
By the end of the night I realized that I was in for an adventure far different from anything I’d ever experienced or even imagined. Where did this guy come from? I wondered. And how on earth did I of all people end up in his passenger seat?
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