November 5, 1969
As Nate and I sat next to each other, my crying gradually tapered off and finally stopped. But we sat there a long time. He softly spoke words of loving commitment to me but promised we wouldn’t marry unless I was completely sure. I couldn’t imagine how difficult it must have been for him to speak those words. He was all-in, and I had one foot out the door.
Listening carefully, I did hear his pledge of unwavering love, but the massive wave of doubt that had washed over me had nothing to do with that. I’d never questioned the sincerity and depth of his love. As he continued to talk, though, I focused on something else he said, something that was far more important at the moment.
What I had heard was that he’d given me complete freedom to leave the relationship, if that’s what I wanted. Rather than trying to convince me to stay, he had opened the door. He was telling me I could exit without any misgivings.
I thought of how Christ-like that was. Jesus loves us but never forces us to love back. We can walk away if we want.
It was Nate’s willingness to let me walk away that began my turn back toward him. In my heart I knew that I sincerely loved him and that if I walked away, I would regret it for the rest of my life.
By the time we got up from our chairs, worn out from the ordeal, I had recommitted to him…. and to marrying on November 29.
“You have comforted me by speaking so kindly to me.” (Ruth 2:13)