Preparing To Be A Help Meet: Ellie’s Love Story Part Three

Preparing To Be A Help Meet: Ellie’s Love Story Part Three November 25, 2014

rosesoceanby Mel cross posted from her blog When Cows and Kids Collide

We get to hear from Anthony today. I feel some compassion for him – he’s as confused as Ellie…..

From the Italian Prince
My first impression of Ellie was that she was joyful, pure, confident, and full of productive activity. The more I got to know her, the more I realized my first impression of her was exactly right.

I will never forget the first time I met her. I was locked outside at the back of the church building, and she cane to open the door for me. I recognized her as the sister of my friend Adam, and for some reason my heart started racing when I saw her. In that moment when she opened the door I became so nervous that I just started walking past her without even telling her thank you. Then she put her hand out in front of me and introduced herself. I quickly shook her hand like a wooden soldier. As I walked away from her, I wondered why I had been so flustered. For months, I was on edge whenever I was around her.

That flustered, nervous feeling? That’s a good sign that you were attracted to her.

I feel sad that Anthony had made it until his early to mid-twenties without being able to identify what sexual attraction feels like.

Does Anthony know that Ellie spent months planning activities hoping he would show up?

For those of you who don’t know me, you would probably think that I was just a shy guy, but that is not the case at all. I was able to become casual friends with other girls, but Ellie was different. She was much more attractive to me than other girls, and she made me nervous.

[Steady Guy Interruption: Girls I like make me “nervous”, too. I often stumble all over myself when I try to talk to them.]

Yes, people get nervous around people they are attracted to. I’ve found the best way to get that nervousness is to spend more time around them. (I suspect my advice won’t be seconded by Debi…)

Two years after I first met her I finally decided that, if she would have me, I would marry her, but still I did not speak.

Just curious – how did you know she was interested in you? If everyone is busy stuffing their attraction to each other deep down inside so it can’t get out, what made you think she’d say yes?

I carefully hid my feelings from her. It was another year of quietly watching her and getting to know her, plus preparing my life to include caring for her as my wife, before I knelt down to ask her to marry me.

This sounds painful. Ellie and Anthony are attracted to each other. Rather than dating, the two of them are busy hiding their feelings and tiptoeing around their relationship rather than risk getting hurt.

Even though Ellie must have sensed my high regard for her, she didn’t push me or try to take the reins of our relationship. She waited. Again she proved her worth.

Oh, Anthony. You have no idea what a dangerous game you were playing. Ellie knew you liked her….kind of….sort of….not really.

Random thought: Were Ellie and Anthony free to date other people or were they both so wrapped up in their non-relationship that they were in an exclusive relationship that no one (even Ellie and Anthony) could admit to?

For two and a half years we were friends, and then she left on a four-month mission trip. When she returned, it was as though I saw the sun for the first time after hibernating in a cave for the winter.

[Steady Guy Interruption: Absence of a loved one can make the heart grow fonder.]

Again, let me state the obvious. Ellie was well within her rights to have come back from somewhere in Asia dating/courting/betrothed/whatever to another guy.

Following the example set by this story is likely to lead one of the two people into one heck of a heartache.

Three weeks after she returned I finished Bible School. Within the hour of graduating, I was sitting with her dad asking for his blessing to marry his daughter. He was shocked! He knew I had never said anything romantic to Ellie.

My parents have been asked for their blessing by guys before. They were not shocked. They weren’t surprised. Most people have a clear and visible public romantic relationship before getting engaged.

This whole hole-and-corner bit is creepy.

Not once had I told her how gorgeous she was, how much I enjoyed being around her or how I longed to just hold her hand.

Whew! I’m so glad he held off holding her hand. My husband never held hands with ANYONE except me. Not even classmates or family members. (/massive sarcasm)

I had waited until I knew it was the right girl and the right time. Her dad asked me when I wanted to get married and I said, “Soon.” I had waited so long for this wonderful girl…I asked her dad not to tell Ellie a word. I wanted the privilege and the honor of asking her myself. He totally agreed.

I wonder what probability Ellie’s dad put on her accepting him….

Two long weeks later, I took Ellie to a secluded beach and asked her to be my bride, my princess, my help meet. She said yes!

Yes, it did work out well for you. Hopefully, you understand how this all could have gone horribly awry…..

We now have a daughter, and my dream for my daughter is that she was grow up to be just like her mother – joyful, pure, confident, diligent and content.

I hope your daughter never feels the need to run a massive social calendar in hopes a guy she likes notices her. I hope she has the confidence to ask a guy out.

Debi jumps back in:

  • Here are some things we need to consider after reading Ellie’s story:

  • She was busy with school, ministry, service and even setting up socials.

  • Ellie was patient. For years, she had her eye on her “Italian Prince” but never pushed herself or demanded that he make up his mind and declare his interest! Her busy life helped her stay focused on serving God. If she wasn’t busy and fulfilled, she might have been trying to get the hesitating Prince to rescue her from a life of boredom.

  • Ellie had purpose. Her life was doing something that gave her fulfillment.

  • Patience is not sitting around waiting. Ellie regularly organized and hosted social activities in hopes of gaining his attention. It worked.

One practical point: How long was Ellie supposed to wait? She had no proof of Anthony’s attraction to her or his intention to have any kind of a romantic relationship with her. At what point should Ellie have started looking for another guy?

Hint: Debi never answers that question although she has plenty to say about girls who don’t get married.

AntiPearl: “Pitiful is the person who is afraid of taking risks. Perhaps this person will never be disappointed or disillusioned; perhaps she won’t suffer the way people do when they have a dream to follow. But when that person looks back – and at some point everyone looks back – she will hear her heart saying, “What have you done with the miracles that God planted in your days? What have you done with the talents God bestowed on you? You buried yourself in a cave because you were fearful of losing those talents. So this is your heritage; the certainty that you wasted your life.”
― Paulo Coelho, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

Editor’s Note: This reminds me too much of the song ‘Jackson Park Express’ from Weird Al Yankovic’s new release ‘Mandatory Fun’ See below and listen to the lyrics:

 

Read everything by Mel!

Mel is a science teacher who works with at-risk teens and lives on a dairy farm with her husband. She blogs at When Cows and Kids Collide

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Allison the Great

    Gasp! Hand holding! OMG if my future husband held hands with someone else before even knowing I exist, I’d be devastated! How dare betray me like that! By living his life without knowing I exist! .

    Most people go on about their lives when they like someone. What Ellie did was nothing new, and it’s what you’re supposed to do.

    If someone asked me to be their “help meet” my answer would be no. I would never spend my life with someone who considers women to be “the help”.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Re: “…One practical point: How long was Ellie supposed to wait? She had no
    proof of Anthony’s attraction to her or his intention to have any kind
    of a romantic relationship with her. At what point should Ellie have
    started looking for another guy?…”

    My impression is that in the Pearlverse women aren’t supposed to do anything BUT passively wait for some guy– ANY guy– to approach her father and ask for her. Well, she IS allowed to take special care with her hair and makeup around a guy she finds attractive, and strive to impress him with her helpmeet-worthiness. But that’s about it. She can’t go to social venues where compatible men are likely to be unless they’re church-related, and she certainly can’t ask an acquaintance she’s interested in to go out for coffee.

  • Eyeroll

    I can’t stay silent about this. Normally I wouldn’t post about this story, because it’s not really mine to share, but I can’t stop myself this time.

    I know someone who followed this whole “don’t-express-feelings-just-wait-until-some-undecided-time” and you know what happened? HEARTBREAK.

    A friend of mine liked a girl who believed in all this. They were teens. Her parents wouldn’t allow her to court until she was older, so she and my friend ended up in a situation where they couldn’t commit to each other and weren’t supposed to be expressing feelings until they were older.

    The girl was under the impression that the guy would wait for her…but because of what her family had taught her, she had to outwardly pretend that she wasn’t under that impression. So the guy (my friend) eventually found another girl. The first girl was absolutely crushed. It impacted her life in a huge way. She felt abandoned, unlikeable, and as if he’d chosen someone else “over” her. It quite literally affected her life long-term, to the point where it seemed that she was still dealing with the emotional fallout even when she met the man she ended up marrying.

  • Mel

    I’m so sorry about your friend. That sounds horribly painful. I worry that her situation is so much closer to the average outcome of following the “Don’t show emotions until you are able to marry each other” than Ellie and Anthony.

  • Aimee Shulman

    This is the most baffling “love story” I’ve ever read. Seems more like a “two grown adults pretend not to like each other for three years, then suddenly decide to get married out of the blue without even talking about it first” story. I mean, I knew Debbie had no clue what an actual healthy romance looked like, but this is just absurd.

  • Emily

    Maybe I can give this story a little more context. I grew up in a fundamentalist community that was very conservative and insular. Though we weren’t quiver full there where high standing members of the church who were.

    At the time, especially for young people in the church, there was a strong understanding that it was inappropriate to “date” in the traditional sense of trying people out to marry. The book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and other, similar works were extremely popular. So, if you were officially “together” with someone else and considered to be one of the good and godly kids in the community, it was generally understood that your relationship had been sanctioned by the girl’s parents and was intended to progress to marriage.

    Beside this ran a church wide culture of superficial goodness. Everyone was expected to forgive and be on terms with everyone else, at least publically. This dishonesty, in my experience, led to a strong culture of gossip and circumspect communication. It was known who was interested in who, who wasn’t interested back, who had a problem with someone else, etc.

    Because of all this it was extremely possible to carry on a relationship without ever “dating.” Testing and communicating through others and interactions in group settings was used by many of my friends to figure out who they might have an interest in marrying, and, therefore dating. There was a lot of pressure not to screw it up.

    Some of us went on to leave the community, or date while remaining in the church and simply bear the disapproval, but a not insignificant number went on to find their partners this way, usually only “dating” for a few months before becoming engaged and getting married. They hadn’t been dating only a few months, though. Often they’d been studying and choosing each other for years beforehand.

    For instance, one pastor’s daughter from that community married a family friend. Before they ever dated they knew of each other and met many times, even though he lived in another country. Just before he requested permission to date her he travelled to see her several times, but also to get to know the family better and to become involved in the church. They were never seen alone with each other, but everyone knew they were considering each other for marriage. Sure enough, they ended up getting engaged shortly thereafter.

    Tl;dr: Though i wouldn’t vouch for it as a way to find a partner, I have seen this method of courting work in practice and result in happy couples precisely because the process is messier than advocates like Debi make it look.