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Hartselle Enquirer

Why I waited

Unless my monthly mood swings and Alpha-female attitude runs off my fiancé, Lord willing, I will be married on April 22 of this year.

Let me be the first to say, my love language is Acts of Services. I’m not one to seek words of affirmation or physical touch. I’d prefer you to pump my gas for me or do the dishes, than to write me a sappy love note or send me flowers any day. However, this post is just that and it’s something far out of my comfort zone.

I met Edwin in a kind-of awkward way and time.

I ventured to soon-to-be-open Impact Nutrition in Cullman in November of 2015 where a friend of mine invited me to come and meet a “famous guy” that had lost a ton of weight, been featured on Good Morning America, in magazines, etc. He was to be the manager of the store and an athlete of the brand.

Edwin Velez was different (super cliché, I know). He is Puerto Rican. He stands three inches taller than me (I’m 5’3). He’s passionate about fitness. He wore clothes that were better coordinated than mine, and knew more about celebrities and Vogue than I ever cared to know.

He was more sympathetic and emotional than me, could handle the spotlight and attention and realistically had more personality than me times ten.

I was instantly not interested in him, or so I told myself.

I had just got out of a not-so-great relationship and was stern on being independent and not dating anyone. I had just moved to Cullman and was actually in the process of packing things that very day with my roommate when she and I were invited to come and see the store.

After meeting Edwin, he later sent me a message via social media (he didn’t have my phone number). He told me he enjoyed meeting me and would like to take me on a date. To put it nicely, I declined/put him off, or however you would like to say it; I continued to do so for the next two months. I quickly informed him I was “old school” in many ways, specifically that I was saving myself for marriage.

He pursued anyway.

I had no idea why. I made it clear that I wasn’t interested in dating. I mean, to be frank, his ‘happy go lucky’ attitude got on my nerves. I mean, who in their right mind is in a good mood all the time? Who is a morning person everyday? Why in the world does he always match? I had so many questions, remained annoyed and continue to turn him down date request after date request.

After talking with a few friends, and my mom of course, I was encouraged to at least give him a shot and see if he was as awesome a guy as he was displayed to be on Instagram.

He asked me out again and I agreed. It wasn’t a typical date, because my fear and anxiety got to me and I requested to bring a friend along. Yes, he took my friend Ashley and I on a date. (Insert embarrassed emoji.)

I had the best time. We laughed. He opened doors, paid for everything and treated me like every blog post and song lyric told me I deserved to be treated.

I agreed to go with him again. Still bringing a friend along because apparently, I am the strangest and most awkward 26-year-old you will meet. This process went on for about a month or so before we actually went on a date with just the two of us. 

Let me just say, I fought so hard to not have feelings for him. I didn’t want to date and I certainly didn’t want to date someone who was so far out of my comfort zone.

But, I did. I started dating him. It didn’t begin the way I expected, but nothing we ever truly appreciate comes at an expected time. Edwin has stayed by my side through one of the toughest years of my life. Through fitness shows, migraines, kidney stones, anxiety and job changes, he has been there. I’ve pushed him away and he fought to stay in my life.

He is nothing I ever thought I wanted, but everything I could ever need. He’s been patient with me, loved me unconditionally, provided for me and supported me. He has encouraged my physical, emotional and spiritual growth. He has supported my moral choices and decided that even though I am meaner to him than a drill sergeant sometimes, my presence is in his life is more desired than my absence.

Edwin has challenged me everyday to be a better person. He has pushed me out of my comfort zone, taught me that showing my emotions is okay. He has also showed me that I don’t have to survive in life on my own two feet, but that he can help carry my load.  

  I encourage you to save yourself for the person God has created you to be with. Don’t rush your relationships or your time in getting to know someone. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and truly fall in love.

I’ve saved myself for 27 years for the man God has called me to marry and I’m so thankful that it was Edwin. I’m thankful for God’s promises, for patience and for waiting.

Lauren Estes is a staff writer for the Hartselle Enquirer.