CNN recently interview our First Lady-to-be, and asked her about her first date with Barack Obama.
What a first date! A visit to the Art Institute of Chicago, a stroll down Michigan Ave, an artsy/cultural film, and drinks atop the John Hancock building.
I am very fortunate to have experienced all four, and let me tell you that if given the choice, this would’ve been my ideal first date. (Well, aside from a visit to a Broadway musical. But that’s being nit-picky.)
I thought back to my first date with J, and I have to admit that it was nowhere near as spectacular. In fact, neither of us can recall a first date, because we had been best friends for months beforehand. I guess if you count the night that J made the first move as our first date, it would be dinner at a local sushi joint and retiring to my apartment to watch Finding Nemo, which I had just purchased on DVD.
At the retreat I attended last week, our guest speaker picked me out of the audience to illustrate a point. He asked how my husband had made his affections known to me…more specifically, how did he let me know that I am the one? What special gesture did, and does he do, to show his love for me?
“Um…not much,” I replied.
The audience laughed. The speaker asked, “Wow, and you married him?” before continuing on with the sermon.
After the sermon, I asked myself if I should be bothered by this. I thought of my friends who’ve had utterly romantic, whirlwind romances. Whose significant others work on projects for weeks, sometimes even months, to showcase their romantic gestures. Whose significant others spend thousands of dollars on special occasions and lavish gifts display their affection.
And I realized, J and I aren’t like this.
Now this isn’t to turn my nose at the others described above. Rather, we show our love through different ways.
J was different from all the relationships I’ve had. He has never bought my lavish gifts (aside from my engagement ring), but the special smile he reserves only for me outweighs all the LV handbags and Tiffany jewelry I received from past boyfriends…put together. He has never planned grandiose events/surprises on my behalf. However, the way he cupped my face in his hands to tell me “Happy birthday. I love you.” last month still makes my heart melt. He is willing to submit and let things go, even when I am being unreasonable and just plain stubborn.
There was a point last year when I was seriously doubting my our relationship. I asked myself if I could go through with the engagement, and questioned my decision in saying “yes.”
However, there were two small but significant events that helped me in my decision. Both were relationship advice, and I feel that both need to be repeated.
The first is from the popular blog Dooce:
“When I was single, I decided I wouldn’t marry a man unless I could be proud if we had a son who turned out exactly like him.”
After reading this, I realized that if I had a son who turned out exactly like J, I would be over the world.
The second advice is from the late Randy Pausch:
“When it comes to men who are romantically interested in you, it’s really simple. Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do.”
How simple and strikingly true! I was reminded how J was the first guy who really did call when he promised to, who always tried his best to come through on his promises. There had been so many guys in my past (and even now, through work and friendships) who just do not follow through. But I know that I can count on J 100%.
Sure, J may not be the most romantic, most verbally expressive guy I’ve dated. But keeping these two advices in mind, remembering the little things he does to show his love for me…I know I made the right choice, and boy am I glad I did.
So to answer the question I posed as the title of this post, no, first dates are not important. Are good first dates (and all that follow thereafter) nice? Sure. But they are not a requirement. Just look at us.