Returning from the lovely wedding of Joyce and Rey, I reflected on Joyce’s advice. There were planning tips, of course, but one of the bits of wisdom she offered was that I shouldn’t be too surprised if conflicts sprung up between Curt and I now that we were actually engaged to be married. She and Rey had not fought at all until they began planning the wedding. Hmmmm, the same was true of Curt and I, really. We so rarely disagreed that it did worry me a bit. I had no idea how we would handle conflict when it did come. But, I was certain that I loved him and that he loved me so it would be okay. Loving one another was the important thing, right? We would work it out with a solid base on which the relationship would build. Both of us had surrendered our lives to Jesus in the past few months so our marriage would be centered on what God wanted in our life together. We loved one another; it’d all work out if conflict came.
I can still picture sitting close to Curt, my hand resting on his leg as he drove us up and over that curving overpass. We were on our way to some form of entertainment for the evening, though I can’t recall what exactly we had planned for that date. Of course, the radio was playing the music we both delighted in hearing hours every day. Curt’s passion was to be a disk jockey so I think he listened as much to the DJ as to the music they played. Leaning harder against his shoulder so I could speak into Curt’s ear, I posed a question I had been wanting to ask him for awhile.
“Why do you love me?” I had all kinds of reasons to give him as to why I loved him. In fact, as only girls would do, I was already reviewing the list in my mind in preparation for his anticipated return question along those same lines.
“What? What did you ask me?” I was still smiling and gave a squeeze to his arm, which was now encased in both of my arms as I leaned closer and tilted my head up at him.
“I asked you why you love me.”
“I do love you; I’ve told you that how many times now?”
“I know you’ve told me, but I just want to know why.” Of course, as a newly-engaged young woman, planning her wedding while going to school and working at the hospital, I had all kinds of hints I could have given him, had he asked for some kind of prompting.
You know, things like I am so sweet or kind. I am a good cook. I am intelligent and a good problem-solver. I am a hard-worker. I am fun to be with. I am not high-maintenance, expecting expensive dates; I like just hanging out, too. I didn’t need him to tell me I am beautiful or anything not all that true; but, on the other hand, shouldn’t there be one redeeming quality that he saw in me that would cause him to want to spend the rest of his life with me? I waited in anticipation but, the longer I waited, the more tense the atmosphere in the car grew.
“Well, I love you because you love me.”
“What kind of an answer is that? Isn’t there anything about me that you can point to and say I like this about you?” I was so shocked with his answer that, well, let’s just say I wasn’t smiling anymore. My arms were at my own sides, no longer touching him. Curt was a romantic guy, crooning out love songs on his guitar as easily as anything rock and roll. It wasn’t the sensitivity thing; he was a very sensitive guy, normally.
“Well, what comes to my mind is that I love you because you love me. I haven’t known any other girls who liked me in that way so maybe there isn’t any girl who would love me but you do, so… I love you, too.”
“You love me because I’m your only option! Is that what you’re saying?” Curt never gave me an answer, which really is an answer, isn’t it? Maybe not, guys; but that’s what we girls think.
I was so devastated, words can’t express it. I was stunned, confused and so hoping I was wrong. How could I marry someone who only loved me because he had no one else to love? I began to cry.
“Oh, c’mon now, Sojourner. I love you. C’mon let’s just forget about this needing to say why. Just believe me, I do love you. Let’s not spoil the evening, okay? We’ll have a good time.”
I was deeply hurt, embarrassed, and totally confused. But we were on track to be married in a couple of months so I would just see how things went from here. He was probably right. I should just forget it and have a good time. Well, I didn’t have as good a time as I could have, for sure. I did shuck the worry off and enjoyed the evening with Curt. I never brought the question up again and he never offered an answer at any other time, either. However, just because I never mentioned it again didn’t mean I forgot it. I never did. It created deep within me an insecurity and a fear that he would one day leave me.
Just ten days before the wedding, conflict erupted between us. I wonder, today, if things would have been any different had my mother responded differently? Maybe not, but I do wonder.
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