Steve and I spent a long time being just friends. Since our first meeting, we intentionally scheduled our classes at the same time. I even signed up for a field placement at Zeeland Christian because I knew I'd have an "in" with the principal :). (I'm not sure Steve even knows I did that on purpose ... but I knew full well what I was doing). For almost an entire year, we worked on class projects, went running (well, I tried to keep up with him), even went to a formal together ... all as a way of just hanging out and getting to know each other. Steve asked repeatedly (as did many of my roommates/friends) if this was going anywhere. He had broken up with his girlfriend mid-way through my junior year, his senior year. I wasn't ready to label us though, even though I was well aware that what we were doing was, in fact, dating. I was holding staunchly to my commitment NOT to be in a relationship when I left to counsel middle schoolers at Spring Hill that summer. I had spent the last 2 summers on Hope's campus doing research/educational grants and I wanted a "typical" college job. I felt a relationship would keep me from that "typical" experience. About 3 weeks before I left, Tulip Time to be exact, I gave in. I didn't want to leave for the summer with no commitment from Steve. :) I was afraid he wouldn't be there when I came home. Plus, he'd been so extremely patient and kind and sweet, I couldn't see ANY camp guy I met being even close to comparable. So, we went on our first OFFICIAL date to Via Maria after watching his sister's Dutch Dance. The next morning we resumed, as usual, working in our 4th floor office at the library ... this time as boyfriend and girlfriend instead of just "colleagues."
I mark that date as significant because, to me, it marked the moment I knew I was ready to marry Steve. I know that sounds a little backwards ... not dating until you're sure you're going to marry him. But I'd gotten to know him enough (and dated enough of the other kind) to know that he had what I wanted/needed in a spouse. So, I made the decision that he was the one for me ... :) I knew he felt the same (otherwise why in the world would he have spent at least a year, some might argue a year and half, pursuing this relationship).
I wish I could say that the next half of the relationship was marked with patience on my part (since he had been so incredibly patient with me). BUT, it wasn't ... once I knew what I wanted, I was going to push to make it "official."