Third Dates & Three Words

“Can we rest a bit before we head back to the car?”

“Sure” I sighed, wiping sweat from my forehead. The climb down from the waterfall back to the trail we had taken earlier wasn’t challenging, but it was long. And it had been a humid day in Tennessee so we needed water.

A few yards off the trail, two large boulders sat facing each other. The perfect spot to stretch our legs, talk, and get out of the sun for a few minutes. We took our water bottles out.

An hour before sunset meant a perfect view of the valley. It was nice to sit together quietly after a strenuous hike. No filling up the silence with words. No pressure. No stress. A relaxed day outside. The perfect third date.

I leaned back and shut my eyes to take in the smell of the trees,  scratching noises of squirrels rustling branches, and after a minute or two, Daniel saying my name.

I sat up to see him leaning against a tree with a hint of a smile. Something was on his mind.

Meeting his eyes attentively, I offered an encouraging smile so he would know I was listening.

“I love you”

What? Now I felt the silence. Wasn’t expecting that. I actually froze for a few seconds. It wasn’t fear or shyness, but I had no idea how to respond. I wanted to continue spending time with Daniel, but I wasn’t ready to say those words.

I cared for him so I shared my feelings honestly.

“To me ‘I love you’ means you are dating me with the hope of becoming engaged and married one day. That you want to have children with me and serve God together”

“That’s exactly what I mean”

Stunned silence on my part.

Amazingly there were no expectant glances from him or any pressure to say it back. He just wanted me to know. He was introducing the idea. I should have known from the way he pursued me with friendship and dating that he’d already picked up on the way I processed things. Still, I wanted to choose my next words carefully. I decided to go with complete honesty again.

“Thank you. I appreciate you telling me. I care for you and I want to keep spending time with you, but I’m not ready to say that yet. When I say that to someone I want to be just as certain as you are. When the time comes for me to say those words I already want that man to know exactly how I feel because of my actions toward him and our experiences together. I want him know it already by the time I say it”

“I know. You show things before you say them”

Daniel paused, then with eyes determined, gentle, smiling, “I can wait”

I couldn’t help smiling back at him. I shook my head slowly and laughed. He was obviously enjoying all of this. I was too, even though I had no idea how it would turn out.

“Do you always know exactly what you want?”


I wrote this note a few days later and put it in Daniel’s mail box while I was working in the post office:

“For whatever reason God brought you to me, I am happy to receive you”

We were both planning trips to countries we wanted to serve in during the summer. I was determined to serve far away from Daniel because we were dating. I wasn’t sure if it would be a good idea to work on the same team. Maybe that was a good plan, but it was not what happened.

©2017 Chrissy Winslow – All Rights Reserved

Thanks for reading the next part of our story. I’ll share more in a few weeks.

What does saying I Love You mean?

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