Chocolate and champagne and Valentines aside, can we talk about your love life, or lack thereof for a second? I realize you go from perfectly content being single to crying through chick flicks wishing you could be that girl. Been there, cried that. And if it hadn’t been for a little advice from my mom, I might still be happily/angrily/adventurously single.
Make no mistake – I lived it up being single. I did a lot of things, built a lot of relationships and enjoyed being able to do whatever the heck I wanted. All along I wanted to get married, but it just wasn’t happening. All that changed when I met Nate. Of course, I didn’t know it was going to change, and if I’d had my way, I would have gone right back to being single. See, I had subscribed to a common assumption known as The Law of Chemistry.
The Law of Chemistry says: When you go on “the right” first date, you will experience all kinds of physical and emotional phenomena including but not limited to sweaty palms, heart palpitations, and overwhelming feelings of bliss.
I’m not sure how much you know about chemistry, but probably you know enough to acknowledge it’s complicated. Chemistry takes time to master. (We have way more now than we did on our first date.) Sure, there are a few people who can walk into a Chem class and pick it up easily. Likewise, there are a few people who could have date chemistry with anyone. But that’s not normal.
After our first date, I was ready to call it quits (sorry, babe!). There was nothing wrong with him, but I wasn’t having heart palpitations either. It was a blind date at a coffee shop not far from my house. We talked for a couple hours (but not 4 or 8 or something outrageous), and it was just ok. I told my mom afterwards that it was fine, but that I thought I would Just Know, which brings me to my next assumption, The Law of You’ll Just Know.
The Law of You’ll Just Know says: Humans can predict the future. In the case of love and relationships, if they’re The One, You’ll Just Know. Of course, this is preposterous, and I don’t think I have to explain why.
Thankfully, my mom told me off and said I was being dumb. (She actually said that.) Of course I couldn’t know if he was the one or not after just one date! She said I had to give him at least three or four dates before I could decide. We already had our second date planned because the friends who set us up wanted to go on a country dancing double date. Dancing with Nate was definitely a good experience. There were no deep conversations, no intimate revelations, we just had a great time. Dates 3 and 4 were also fine. Maybe a little more chemistry, still fun, nothing too serious.
Then, there was Date 5, the turning point. Nate got us tickets to a baseball game, and insisted on picking me up, since he’s awesome and old-school like that. We weren’t on the KissCam; we didn’t catch a fly ball (though they were great seats), and he didn’t say a bunch of mushy things. We were wandering around downtown before the game, and he started singing. Singing. Not a song from the radio, not an ode to baseball, a song he just made up about what we were doing – walking down the sidewalk. And I thought it was the funniest, cutest thing. He was just being himself, and it was intoxicatingly endearing. I knew then that it was Nate I liked, not just these cool dates he was planning.
Here’s where my Five Date Rule comes in.
The Five Date Rule says: Unless the person exhibits absolute deal breakers, you should give them five dates to figure out if there is a possibility of developing chemistry.
I never would have seen the things I love most about Nate if I hadn’t given him the time to open up and be himself. I mean, the obvious things about him are fine, but the really endearing things didn’t come out until much later. Seeing him around his family, meeting some of the people he worked with, and getting to know his friends, I never met anyone who didn’t absolutely love him. That doesn’t happen on a first date, but probably it should happen before you decide whether you could be together forever with someone.
So if you’ve just been out on that first date, reset the expectations and set down the checklist. You miiiiiight not be able to tell how much he loves Jesus in the first date. He might not make a good first impression at all – some people just don’t. The conversation might be awkward. That’s OK! First dates are weird and awkward. If there aren’t any immediate deal breakers (and I mean breakers not preferences) and he asks you out again, say yes! Obviously, if there are big red flags signaling in semaphore from your date ship, you shouldn’t ignore them. Use good judgment, but if you don’t feel the Chemistry or you don’t think you Just Know, that doesn’t count.
Happy first dating, and second and third and fourth and fifth dating,