Dating Nathan

While I will not blog every detail of my life, and do not blog the lives of others, it is true that I am a writer and that some experiences are worth documenting in some way.

The sacred-est things are documented in non-blogging ways.

This is why I have not been blogging much, because my writing has been in other places.

But this week, Facebook went public with more than just the stock market.

My boyfriend changed his “relationship status” to “in a relationship with Emily Thomas”.

That’s me.

I hinted at it a few times in my writing, even on the blog, only alluding to it as it shifted to becoming a part of my life.  But once it went up publicly for all my friends and family to see, I had some explaining to do.

People immediately wanted all the LDS statistics, and I was bombarded with the cultural questions:

Is he worthy?  (NYC temple worker)
Does he have a ward calling? (EQ teacher)
Did he serve a mission?  (South Korea)
Does he have a job? (playwright in NYC, with day-job copywriter work for Uncommon Goods)
Are his parents “good stock”? (parents are active in a Bartlesville ward)
How did you meet?  (I work with his cousin)
What do you like about him? (sincerity, kind, smart, compassionate, funny, and he loves words the way I love words)

But that’s all they get, because this is new, and it is mine, and his, and it is still unfolding.

So like the vegetables in my garden, what we need now is warm sunshine and enough water and air to breathe.  We do not need to be burned or drowned or trampled.

But I will share the process, for we know it has been quite the journey.

After I was baptized in 2009, I did not date anyone for almost three years.  This was good as a cleansing or a purifying kind of experience, but I believe also necessary for learning from past mistakes and preparing for a different kind of future.  Before I was baptized, I was out-of-Order, and I needed these years to be brought in-Order before I combined me with another via relationship-ness.   It was good and right and as it should be, even to the restoring of my biological family and learning to be family with them before starting on my own.

But then, when that was settled (though always continued in process), and after the sealing of my brother and his family that he already had, then it seemed the next natural step was for me to begin to focus on my own progression in that way.

After studying doctrine and lessons and talks and the counsel of my friends and loved ones, and pondering the things I knew from my professional work, and discussing the issue at length with my brother, and receiving several blessings that were astonishing-ly specific, I knew it was time for me to begin dating.

I knew this was the year.

And as if the Lord knew I would weasel out of it if I could or stall out if I got the chance, He sent my first date on New Year’s Eve.

I (and my entire family) got the flu.  That’s how initially impressed I was with dating.

But still, determined to be obedient and at least do my part, I wrote The Art of Dating (Again) a week later, officially announcing my candidacy.

This was immediately followed by several bad set-up dates that were dating disasters.  Nothing inappropriate or “wrong” happened exactly, as they just were not fun and were terrible experiences.  Nothing was more than one date, nothing felt promising, and nothing was even enjoyable.

That’s when I received another blessing telling me that I could use my agency, that being obedient did not mean that I had to go on a date with every guy that asked me or just because well-meaning parents set me up.

I never felt so grateful!  That’s when I wrote Dating: Skunks, Snakes, and Weasels Need Not Apply.

There was other counsel, too, pretty specific, and I was careful to write down notes afterward, and diligent to fast and pray about what I had received and how to apply the lessons I learned and make the corrections necessary that I was given.  That’s when I wrote THIS.

I began to make specific changes according to all I was learning, as well as becoming more comfortable in just me being, the baptized me.  A friend said that even Alma only retold his pre-conversion story once, and then never mentioned it again (in recorded teachings, anyway).  Another friend, a blog fan who has been sweet and encouraging even though her son lives far away and is not one I got to date, told me specifically not to give up on princes.

“A prince isn’t a prince,” she said, “until a girl tells him that he is.”

This was powerful to me, and I wrote this blog about Finding Princes, Making Fairytales.

From that, I began to follow what it taught, like how President Packer said to pray for “the wisdom to recognize those qualities upon which a successful union may be based” and the quote from President Tanner in that same blog post, about love being “a long conversation”.  Between these and other lessons (and being stuck in the marriage class second hour for a whole six months now), and the counsel of priesthood leaders, and the blessings given me with such specific messages, I knew what to look for and how to recognize it.

That also meant I was able to begin to recognize what was NOT a good potential date for me, like when one guy said I was “only a 5“.  Ironically, when I wrote that blog, I started it by saying that I would be flying to New York for Valentine’s Day.  That was true, because that is where my flight changed over to go to Israel, but it’s funny now – looking back – since that’s where Nathan is.

Nathan never said I was only a five, and he defended me against the schmuck who did.

Nathan is respectful and kind, and those are two of the things I love about him.

Because Nathan is back in New York again, we have done a lot of emailing.  Not in an intense kind of way that fogs up the illusions of relationship, but in a well-paced and healthy manner of the appropriate sort. That’s where I got the message-in-a-bottle, because he’s the one who wasn’t a shark.  It was a good and slow and gentle beginning that was safe and good, giving me time and space to learn some LDS dating decorum in process before my best efforts botched it all up too much.  He is gracious and forgiving, for which I am grateful, and does his own work at learning (for which I am also grateful).  Those are more things I love about him.

Besides all the serious stuff, he is smart and clever and witty and makes me laugh.  A lot.  Those are more-er things I love about him.

And now, through completely unrelated circumstances, I work four days a week in the town where he is from and where his parents still live.  That’s just amusing.

That’s all the juicy story there is to tell.

Or that is all I am telling, at least.

This is enough, for now, of this story of how I began dating and how I chose Nathan.

My favorite question that keeps coming from all the people wanting the scoop:

Are you happy?

Because then I get to smile like a girl, in a way I don’t even really understand, and say yes.

Posted in Dating permalink

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Dating Nathan — 1 Comment

  1. Thank you for filling me in, don’t want to be nosey or rude, but want to be happy with you. Best wishes!