Monday, April 04, 2011

Waiting While You're Dating

Chick-lit author Erynn Mangum wrote the book on romance. And the other book. And the other book. And the other book. 

So you can imagine her standards were high when it came to dating.

At 6’2”, Jon O’Brien was one of the few guys to turn Erynn’s head. “When you are 5’7” and living in a state populated by guys whose average height is around 5’5”, anyone over six foot is considered quite the find,” Erynn says. “And the fact that he was really cute didn’t hurt.”

But it wasn’t just Jon’s looks that turned Erynn’s head. It was also his heart. “Every week, everyone would come [to my house for Bible study] and then around ten-ish when everyone else would be leaving, Jon would be just sitting down on the couch and I'd go take my place in the recliner and we would end up talking until way past midnight.”

It was a dark April night when Jon made his move.

“We were standing on the porch and it was a little bit chilly,” Erynn says. “It was completely dark outside except for the porch lights and the stars, and Jon bent down and I realized what he was about to do…”

Erynn turned her face away from Jon.  

“He ended up kissing my cheek,” she says.

But Erynn had a reason for what she describes as a moment that was “SO awkward!”

“When I was a sophomore or junior in high school, I decided that I wanted my first kiss to be when I got engaged. I thought it would be so romantic and I also thought it would protect me from kissing a bunch of guys that I would inevitably end up not marrying. Both good reasons. Both things my boyfriend did not know.”


“Poor Jon. I was so completely flustered that all I could say was, ‘Okay, well, good night, drive carefully!’ and then I hurried back inside and closed the door.”

Erynn wondered as the hinges squeaked – had she just closed the door on a perfectly good relationship?


Not everyone’s cut out to be a no-kisser like Erynn – but we’ve all been there – wondering just how far a guy’s expecting to go with us. And the truth is, whatever your physical boundaries are – they won’t help if you don’t communicate them.

\So next time you’re worried that a cute boy might want to go a little farther than you do, here’s how to handle it:

    • Set your boundaries beforehand. The heat of the moment is no time to decide how far you’re willing to go.
    • Ask your parents or a Christian mentor to give you accountability for your decisions.
    • Set aside a time to talk with your significant other about these boundaries. While you might dread the awkwardness of this talk, it will be much less awkward than letting the moment get out-of-hand and then bringing it up.
    • Realize you are worth waiting for, even if it means closing the door on your current relationship.

Erynn was waiting by the door when the bell rang. It was Jon, almost 24 hours later, and no less confused.

“The entire time he was [at my house], I kept trying to tell him about my no kissing stance. Each time I opened my mouth, someone would walk into the room, or dinner was ready, or the movie was starting. So, once again, I went the whole night without saying anything and it was again time for the awkward porch goodnight thing.”

This time Jon hugged Erynn and stepped back. “Well, goodnight,” he said.

Erynn almost let him leave. Then she felt guilty and started confessing. “Jon, I just want you to know that I'm saving my first kiss for when I get engaged, so I'm sorry I didn't tell you, but it was kind of weird last night… and I'm sorry, and anyways, goodnight.” Erynn ran for the door.

The bell rang.

It was Jon. They needed to talk, he said. “I sat down on the bench out front,” Erynn says, “fully expecting him to say that [not kissing] wasn't going to fly with him, so I was either going to need to pucker up or plan on him leaving. So, I planned on him leaving. Because being with someone who didn't respect my boundaries - regardless of how pointless, silly or stupid he thought they were - just wasn't an option.”

To Erynn’s surprise, Jon had something else to say. He was okay with her boundaries. He saw himself staying with her. Possibly long-term.

One year after their miss-kiss, Jon slid a ring on Erynn’s finger. She was worth the wait, he said. Several months later they tied the knot and… you guessed it… sealed it with another kiss.

That was three years ago, and Erynn’s still writing romantic chick-lit. And why not? There’s nothing like a little real-life inspiration.

B.J. Hamrick has lived out four years of her own happily-ever-after with her husband, Ethan. Know a great dating story? Want to share it? Contact B.J. through her site, Real Teen Faith.


Emii said...

Wow, thanks for the story, B.J.! I've been meaning to check out Erynn's books. And that is so true -- communication, as my teachers love to say, is key!

Bookworm said...

Thanks for sharing this:) It's so sweet!

BJ and Ethan said...

Thanks Ladies! So glad to have you here :)