My wife and I got married after our third date. (Here I gloss over the four years required to go on those three dates.) Obviously they were spectacular and memorable dates, the sort that make people realize that they want to spend their lives together.
Or in our case, the sort that made us realize that we needed to spend our lives together, because no one else would take us. Let me explain
The First Date – First Impressions
On our first date, my wife followed the classic advice and shared a unique skill. Specifically, since she’s been trained to kill, she taught me about quickly inflicting massive lethal injury. (It wasn’t quite as terrifying as it may sound. Not quite.) It happened like this:
We had rented a movie. As background, my wife is adorable and not at all subtle, which are two great qualities. They make her at least as fun to watch as most movies, with her laughing, startling and wide-eyed anticipation.
In the particular movie from that day, I felt certain I would enjoy watching her reaction to one scene, in which a secret assassin suddenly and shockingly breaks a man’s neck. I thought she might jump or yelp or be otherwise cute.
She was cute, but not how I anticipated. Instead, in the near frenzied excitement of having something important to share, she turned to me and announced, “That wouldn’t work. That’s not how you break a neck!”
My wife has had the sort of martial arts training that special forces envy. In her hands even common household items can be deadly weapons, and usually it’s on purpose. I had known this about her before the date, but being almost entirely devoid of common sense, the implications never occurred to me.
In the middle of the movie however, her sensibilities were offended so she had to talk me through the flaws in the assassin’s method. It was actually really interesting, and much more charming than it might sound, especially because she clearly didn’t realize that the topic might be unusual first-date fare. She just wanted to share.
Then naturally, having deconstructed the movie’s mistakes, she had to illustrate the proper technique. On me.
Perhaps because I didn’t keep all of the alarm off of my face, she got a bit embarrassed afterward. For the record, that’s also something she does in an adorable way. Furthermore, only my wife can flow so fluidly from matter-of-fact lethal to sheepish.
She asked me if the whole business had been “weird,” revealing her endearing lack of self-awareness. I said no and tried to be encouraging, revealing my desire to stay alive. Thus, from the very beginning, our characters complimented each other.
The Second Date – Passing the Time
Three years later for our second date, we went out to a fancy restaurant and then to see a romantic comedy. It all went smoothly and we both had a great time, blah blah blah, which is entirely boring. Moving on.
Ok, so I should explain the three year delay. How shall I put this? Ah yes: I’m not a very good boyfriend.
The Third Date – Recognizing Perfection
Eventually we got engaged, but we both wanted to have one last date as single people before the big day. A major blockbuster happened to open the week before our wedding, so we decided to go to it.
That was our first mistake; not only was it clearly the sort of movie which would never be good for a date, it was a terrible movie all around. We would have been about as effectively served by having our friends throw bricks at us without warning. We could have done that by candlelight too, which might have been more romantic.
You see, the only thing that the movie did well was startle us. As I mentioned before, my wife is not subtle about her reactions. When it comes to surprises, neither am I.
We were on our third date so we wanted to be cuddly. As the movie started, we raised the arm between our two theatre seats and snuggled together in a manner entirely at odds with the genre of film we were seeing. Everyone else seemed to intuit that they might need personal space. We did not.
Then came the startling.
My wife and I startle in different ways. I’m a big fellow, but collapsible like a tent. When I’m startled I try to become as small as possible, usually by pulling my legs up to my chest. You might imagine that this looks ridiculous. Actually, it does, so you should imagine that this looks ridiculous.
My wife is less like a gargantuan armadillo, and more like a normal human being. When she gets startled, she just tries to hide behind whatever’s around. In movie theatres, she hides behind the seats in front of her.
Unfortunately, when we both startle at the same time, the combination can prove to be disastrous. My wife, who had been leaning on my chest, tried to hide behind the seats in front of us. My knee, which had been behind those very seats, hurried toward my chest with adrenaline fueled speed. The two met in the middle.
Specifically, I kneed her in the face really hard. Even more, I kneed her in the face a week before our wedding. It’s a testimony to her character that she actually laughed really hard about the whole business rather than being upset.
And of course it’s a testimony to God’s graciousness that she didn’t get a black eye, because then she might have killed me.
As odd as it may seem, I look back on those dates with fondness. They might sound ridiculous or horrifying, but they’re a pretty good indicator of our relationship. We enjoy being together, even if it’s sometimes scary or injurious.
And I absolutely adore my wife. She’s entirely unique, frequently surprising, and always delightful.
Plus, she can analyze movie fights better than anyone else I know. How cool is that?