My fiancée, Molly, and I met through some shared friends who set us up at their wedding. Despite some initial mutual avoidance, when we ended up connecting during the wedding, sparks flew and chemistry was clear. But when I tried to get her number and ended up with her work email, you can imagine I was a little confused.
So after parting ways after the wedding (she to western Pennsylvania and I to the greater Boston area), I decided to email this beautiful woman in hopes that the romance was real and it would lead to… something. After eight long excruciating days of waiting, Molly finally emailed me back.
The only problem is that she made it clear she was unavailable because she was taking a break from dating.
After some emailing we agreed to an initial phone call, which I thought went swimmingly after four hours of talking. Soon after, though, Molly asked for another phone conversation. In this second phone call, she told me she felt called to confirm the chemistry we both experienced at the wedding while at the same time reiterating her commitment to avoid dating.
Molly used a phrase in that conversation — bringing things into the light — that has since become a motto for our relationship. She used the phrase as a way to acknowledge the truth of what was happening in the midst of an apparent conflict. She acknowledged our clear attraction for one another, and also the commitment she made to not date for a period of time. Rather than wrestle with this contradiction alone, she “brought it into the light” by naming it so that we could hold it together.
This initial moment of vulnerability and trust set a precedent for our relationship. We were able to have honest conversations about how to continue getting to know each other while honoring Molly’s dating fast.
As we continued to “bring things into the light,” our friendship deepend and we had many conversations that helped us get to know each other in an intentional way. Some of these conversations were difficult and vulnerable as they included challenges and insecurities that touched places of fear and shame. Because of our motto of “bringing things into the light,” though, we trusted each other to receive things gently and without judgment.
Our appreciation for intentional sharing deepened to the point that we began to create conversational space for each other to reveal the truth of what was on our hearts and minds. We developed a habit of gently inviting each other to share, and we recognized that when the other does the same, together, we are able to hold differences with charity, trusting that the other has our best interest at heart. That dynamic grew trust between us. Eventually, despite being a thousand miles apart, our intentional conversations led to dating (and later into discernment for marriage).
Now Molly and I are engaged and we continue to marvel and be thankful for the grace of “bringing things into the light.” We look back and see how the fruit born from our motto has helped us navigate tricky and difficult situations in a way that has drawn us closer together. For us, “bringing things into the light” has been and will be an important part of developing trust and sustaining our relationship.