I didn't go on a single date for three years after my first marriage ended. I had been with Adam since I was seventeen, and after 13 years together we fit like a glove, and I could barely imagine life on my own, let alone life with another man. How in the world do you start over? How do go over all the crazy family stories again? Much of my heart remained in denial that adultery, divorce, or single motherhood could possibly happen to me. I believed it to be some weird blip in my life that would eventually right itself. I focused all of my faith on that goal.
They were very spiritual years for me, years of tremendous stretching and growth. God became even more real, and I hung on his every manifestation in my aching heart. I believed that God wanted my family to continue, and that he loved both Adam and me enough to offer us open doors for redemption in our love, but ultimately allow us to choose our own paths, with commensurate rewards. I certainly hoped that Adam would choose my path. But he didn't. Well, he would turn for a time, but then spin right back around. It was confusing and tumultuous. I began to date to bide my time, but I still held out hope that my miracle would come.
It did. I signed on to some internet dating sites. They were LDS, so I felt they were somewhat safer, and the attention was intoxicating! One day in May (May 13th, actually, a Friday, coincidentally) I sat at my computer when a message came to my inbox at ldslinkup.com. "Wow. You're really pretty," it read. I felt I needed at least to be gracious and say 'thank you', and see who had passed my way, so I clicked on his profile. Hmmmm. Kind of intriguing. Mysterious. Depth in his eyes. Divorced. Father of 2. Green eyes. 5'4. Yikes. I'm 5'4, and I've never had to worry about dating a short guy. My first husband was 6'4, and all the males in my family are over 6'. I've shot down guys before simply because of their height, shallow thing that I am. But something said to write him back.
me: "Thanks! You just made my day!"
him: "Well, now that I've got you talking to me, what's your name?"
him: "Nice name, Jenna. I'm Adam."
Adam? Seriously? The little hairs on the back of my neck stood up.
me: "That's my ex's name."
him: "Oh, crap."
It was okay, not a turn-off. I loved his voice, and how interested he seemed in me, and so we kept on talking. And talking. And talking. And then I could hear my children's alarm clocks going off in their bedrooms to wake them up for school. Birds were chirping. We had talked all night long. We didn't much get off the phone at all for weeks. Every battery in our cordless phones died. Our elbows became arthritic from holding the phone up to our ears. It didn't matter because we couldn't get enough. The more we talked, the more I liked. He had almost identical crazy family stories to mine (but if there was a winner, the prize would have to go to him). We had very similar upbringings: tons of dirty kids in a large, poor, Mormon family, except I'm the oldest, and he's right smack in the middle. We both knew what "Deseret beef stew" is, and our families share many of the same dysfunctions. I can remember one night we were on the phone (he in CA, me in UT), both tuned into the same television channel. There was a commercial for a National Geographic special or something and suddenly a graphic scene of a wildebeast being torn apart by hungry lions came on the screen. Adam said, "That's what it was like when Mom brought home a box of sugar cereal." I busted up in laughter. That's exactly what it was like. 'Sugar' cereal, he said. This guy knows.
We met after two weeks of phone conversation. I picked him up at the Salt Lake Airport, with nerves that rattled. He was sweating it too, but for different reasons. He had lied about being 5'4, and was only 5'3. He was scared to death that I'd find him out. Which I did. It was the very first thing I said to him. "You're not 5'4," I said as I hugged him. "Yeah, I am," he said, "it's just that your eyes are placed higher on your head so it looks like I'm shorter." He really thought he could get me with that. The height thing was weird in the beginning, though I loved how confident he was with himself. He told me early in our conversations that he felt like he "towered above the masses". But it felt odd to walk next to a man the same size as me. Every time I turned my head to say something, his eyes were right there. Whoa! Scared me! I was used to feeling little next to a man, maybe even cowering a bit. I talked with my dad about my feelings.
"Dad, I think I'm falling in love with him," I said. "I know it's quick, but there's something different about this one. I knew it almost immediately." My dad was glowing with happiness on the other end of the phone, I could feel it. "But I can't get over this height thing. It's so hard to get used to." The first thing my dad said to me was, "Well, how tall is his spirit?" And then what he said took my breath away. He said, "Jenna, look what's happened to you over the last several years. You've been emancipated! You no longer have to stand low, looking up to a man, you can look him straight in the eye." I started to cry. It was true. I deserved equal love and partnership, and the Lord sent me a man I could look eye to eye.
We were married less than two months later. It was a quaint, lovely, outdoor ceremony in the mountains of Utah. Our children, family, and close friends were there. We exchanged vows we had written ourselves and I thanked him for being worthy of my heart and the pain that had consecrated it. He was my Adam, the Adam I had waited for. It hasn't been an easy road by any stretch of the imagination, but when I consider the alternative...it's been worth it.