I have a favorite New Year’s habit: making not just resolutions, but also a little bucket list for the upcoming year. I include places I hope to travel, card games I want to learn, hobbies I want to improve, and so on. In December of 2016, right alongside, “Make two new friends” and, “Get a pair of awesome heels that make you feel incredible,” I wrote, “Go on a date.” This was hard for me to write, because it was a reminder of the painful reality that at age 22—in the second semester of my senior year of college—I had never been on a single date. Not one.
Because of this fact, I commonly got the question “How have you never been asked out!?” Or the attempt at comforting words: “Boys are just intimidated.” While I would chuckle lightheartedly when people addressed this, the truth was that I longed so deeply for a good man to pursue me. You’d better believe I kept my eyes peeled and my ears perked at all times. But my search was to no avail.
So, I wrote it down: Go on a date. At the time I wrote this goal, it felt like an ultimatum I was giving myself, but I’ve come to think it was more a divine prompting than anything else. A few months after I jotted that note down, a handsome, intelligent Canadian man named Evan walked into my life. What struck me first—besides that it seemed slightly exotic that he was from Canada!—was his quiet wit and humor. Our friendship developed quickly and naturally. But it wasn’t romantic sparks immediately.
A few months into our growing friendship, my little note-to-self came true—I was asked on a date! We were sitting together, and he looked me in the eye and said with perfect clarity (and sweetness), “Bridget, I would like to take you on a date. Would you come on a date with me?” I responded with an emphatic, “Yes!” Later, unbeknownst to him, I let out a jubilant yell when I drove away in my car. A real live date!
One date led to two, and it didn’t take much time to see this man was good. From day one, it was Evan’s intentionality that gave me the freedom to truly enjoy and discern this relationship. I wasn’t caught up wondering what he meant, what he wanted, or what he thought. Evan’s very first question, “Would you come on a date with me?” set the tone for the clarity with which he would lead our relationship. It was this very quality of intentionality (along with his humility, patience, and humor) that would bring us to our wedding day. It was by his intentionality that I “knew.”
We live in a culture of “maybe!” or, “I’m not sure.” We don’t like to commit, do we? With so many options set before us for literally everything, it’s hard to make a clear decision, and then to stick with it. This has always bothered me. Evan presented a stark contrast. I was so inclined to lean into him and to give my heart to him with the same steady confidence with which he was offering himself to me. He was so secure and so sure.
As he revealed his heart to me, I saw that his ability to be so intentional came from the deep knowledge he had of himself. A man cannot know so certainly what is good and true unless he knows his own depths.
After a year of dating, our relationship morphed into long-distance, international dating, and that was no easy task. With Evan full-time at police academy, and me working a full-time desk job, it was easy to feel out of sync. But in all of this, Evan taught me to practice and value clarity of heart and integrity of action. This motivated us through the long stretches of time between in-person meetings. When it felt lonely and challenging, Evan was always quick to remind me of our end goal—to be together! It was so comforting and encouraging that he was so confident in us. (For the record, I was pretty confident, too!) He set his eye on the target, he aimed, and he proceeded without hesitation.
This practice of intentionality not only carried us to our wedding day, but beyond. It continues to be a great gift to our marriage. In relationships, it’s easy to get ideas confused, or to say one thing but mean another. Evan’s striving to be intentional in both word and deed has inspired me, and the same thing that helped me know he was “the one” has helped us avoid many arguments and misunderstandings. Being married to Evan is my greatest joy, and now I have a new item on my bucket list: to grow more in love and service to this man!
Editor's Note: When She Knew is a Readers Write column. Share your own story here.