We dated for six whole months. Excitement and happiness would flood my heart when thoughts like “Oh, this could definitely work,” or “I could see myself marrying this man” entered my mind. But somehow, I knew it would not be permanent. I had a gut feeling, several nudges, and a few signs to tell me it wouldn’t be forever, but it was difficult to argue with intuition.

A pretty quiet, but ironically loud, nudge came one October night. I was beginning to settle into sleep, thinking how great things had been going with him and how I could definitely see myself marrying him, I had a vivid thought: “You will not marry this man.”

It was clear enough to cause my eyes to pop open. It was a thought in MY head but I swore I was not the one it came from.  I lay very still and began to silently argue. What? What do you mean? But I love him and I can see myself with him. Eventually I gave up arguing with myself and drifted into sleep.

The Romance Rollercoaster 

Those six months were packed (PACKED) with adventure, drama and stress. That’s what happens when your precious boyfriend voluntarily admits himself into alcoholism treatment three months into dating. That’s what happens when he has back pain for an entire month, adding to the stress of the holiday season. And that’s what happens when he is in the hospital with chest pains for two weeks after Christmas. See what I mean? Stress. Drama. Adventure.

Our struggles ebbed and flowed through the fall season. He was balancing staying sober, finding a stable job, attending AA meetings and giving me the attention I desired (read: demanded). I was focusing on maintaining friendships and this new relationship, learning how to date an alcoholic, and learning how to support him well. Conflict came and went, but for every bump we endured, we trudged forward stronger than ever.

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Then there were times when doubt and confusion would ooze in and I wasn’t sure what exactly I was doing here. I loved him so much, but was being in this relationship what he needed right now? Was it what I needed right now? I found myself crying for no reason other than simply being confused. And each time, I’d make a pact with myself to wait and see how things were after Christmas. Christmas would be our checkpoint.

Life is Short

Fast forward to Christmas Day. I won’t give you all the gory details, but just know that Christmas was horrible—horrible enough that I was sure it was the end of our relationship. But we reconciled momentarily and planned to talk the next day.

That talk never came. He was acting strange, but I thought it was a relapse in drinking, but now I realize it was the leukemia taking over his body. He refused to drive to my house, and, being the stubborn pony (read: mule) that I can be, I refused to give in and drive to him. (Real mature, I know.) I cried all day and night, pleading for him to come so we could talk but it never happened. I did not realize what a blessing in disguise until just two weeks later.

He was admitted to the hospital early the next morning for severe chest pains, and suddenly, nothing else mattered. I stayed by his side for two straight weeks as the doctors ran test after test, trying to find the cause of his constant fever and aching. He was finally diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, and roughly twenty-two hours after the diagnosis he passed away. God intended for me to be with him until the very end. Every day I am grateful for that blessing.

For Everything there is a Season

I can boldly declare that he was one of the loves of my life. He was not meant to be THE love of my life, but just for a season. Seasons of love come and go in a constant pattern throughout our lives. Relationships and friendships pop in and out. The Lord tells us there is a time and a season for everything under heaven in Ecclesiastes 3. Don’t you think this applies to every aspect of our lives—even relationships? Oh how difficult that can be to grasp, though, especially when you are not prepared for that season to end.

In the almost two years since that season, I have learned more about the character of God than I ever dreamt I would. After his death it was clear to me that he was placed in my life for a multitude of reasons. Through my time with him, I began to decipher what I wanted in a husband. I learned to communicate with a man without fearing he would walk away at the first sign of disagreement. And I was shown sincere, unconditional love…even when I didn’t deserve it. His love for me was a living, breathing example of Christ’s love for us all.

As I move forward from that eventful season of love, I am continually reminded that the Lord places people in our lives with distinct purposes. Some are with us for life, others for just a season. No matter how long, God wants us to live purposefully in one another’s lives. Absorb as much from it as you possibly can, and watch as the Lord reveals to you the purpose of it. You never know when it will end.