The First Date: A Walk In The Park


After a day or two of emailing, it was clear I needed to speak to Allison on the phone. I needed to hear her voice. Email is tricky. With no inflection and no spontaneity, it can be difficult to get a sense of someone. I’ve also experienced a false sense of intimacy before I have actually talked, much less met the person face-to-face. So we set up a time to speak. It was only a week from our initial matching.
We talked for three hours. I can still remember how much fun I had listening to her voice, hearing her speech patterns, her choice of words and her laugh. Once again I was stunned by how similar our views were. We seemed to echo each other in almost everything.

I was enjoying myself. When I hung up the phone, I knew I needed to see her. I suggested we meet one week later.

But something in the back of my mind kept reminding me that this couldn’t be real. There had to be something I wasn’t seeing clearly. I started to second-guess everything. After five years of building up too many hopes based on a profile and a few emails, I was not going to get ahead of myself again.

That entire week my email presence was diminished. I was terse. Why was she so interested in me?   

I didn’t realize how jaded I had become.

Maybe that’s what happens when you’ve had a string of failed relationships. I fell for the person too early, got close too quickly, then woke up a couple of weeks later with the horrible feeling that I had gotten myself into the wrong situation. I would feel as if there was a weight on my chest and a knot in my stomach. How had I fooled myself? Why didn’t I wait? How am I going to get out of this?

The best way I can describe the online dating situation is to say that it’s upside-down. In the real world, someone catches your eye. You bump into someone you didn’t expect and feel the stirring of an attraction. You feel different when you’re in their space. You talk to them. Light conversation at first, then more serious things. You meet for coffee, maybe dinner. You begin to have longer conversations. You’re excited when you think about seeing them again, so you meet more often. That’s the way it’s usually happened for thousands of years (except maybe the coffee part).

When you read an online profile, all at once you know deep things. Life things. Things you wouldn’t even bring up until the third or fourth date, after you’ve decided whether things are headed in the right direction. You begin to email, and before you know it, you’ve developed a relationship of sorts with someone you haven’t even met. That is something that I think really throws most of us. We get to know someone, then we meet them. And when the sparks aren’t there, we don’t know why.

I tried to explain all of this to Allison as an excuse for the diminishing length of my emails in the week between our phone call and our face-to-face meeting. I was protecting her from disappointment as much as myself.

She wrote back that she understood: “Maybe you’re not jaded.  Maybe you’re just wise.”She’s a very patient lady.

After a long week of short emails, the day of our meeting arrived.

Our first date turned out to be a walk in the park. Literally.

We planned to meet at a restaurant in her town and take a walk outside afterwards in a park across the street. No less than three minutes after we sat down in the booth I realized it was going to be a great day.

We ate, we laughed, and we clicked. We were able to shift from deep thoughts on religion to pop culture references with remarkable ease. There was a lot of comfortable eye contact, and when I told her I had a prayer room in my house her face lit up and she bounced her fingertips on the table.

Where had this woman been all my life?

That walk after our lunch is something I will never forget. She made me laugh. I was touched by the way she noticed the beauty in the winter landscape that many seem to overlook. She’d point out the inky lines of a bare tree against the sky. Toward the end of our walk, as the sun was closer to the horizon, I turned and saw her painted in a warm orange glow and asked her to stop. I just needed to see her in that light for a few moments.

I can’t really pinpoint it, but sometime between meeting Allison in the parking lot of the restaurant and seeing her in that light I was struck with the thought that this was my future wife. She was an answered prayer.

Sometimes when I believe a prayer of mine is answered, I either forget to offer thanksgiving or I begin to question it. Who am I to receive this? Do I deserve it? Is what I think is happening really happening?

When I arrived home and dipped my finger in the holy water font just inside my door, I skipped the doxology, looked heavenward and said “thank you” as I crossed myself.  




Editor’s note

Read the first installment of Erik’s engagement diary here and check back next Sunday, Feb. 5, for the third installment.



  1. Anne-911324 October 18, 2014 Reply

    Love it!

  2. Anna-671172 February 7, 2012 Reply

    I just love your story Erik and Allison. Am about to read the third part.

    God Bless you both.

  3. Doris-796801 February 6, 2012 Reply

    Hope and joy is what I feel after having read your beautifully written story. I was about to not renew my subscription here, but now I am having second thoughts…God bless you both!

  4. Rosa-344135 February 4, 2012 Reply

    Beautifully written…Thank you for sharing it with us and may God coat the rest of your path with wonderful soft colors as the “warm orange glow” you mentioned surrounded Allison on that first date at the park…..Our father is a magnificent God and his love for us has no limits…. Bendiciones

  5. Karen-684939 February 3, 2012 Reply


    Your story made me cry. I feel blessed to have read your thoughts because we often feel the same way and yet feel that there isn’t anyone who can relate. Please don’t make me wait for the rest of the story! 😉

    In Christ,


  6. Lyl-799520 February 2, 2012 Reply

    Great story this is…all the best!

  7. Chris-802238 February 2, 2012 Reply

    A lovely storey with some good insights that puts online dating in perspective. Thanks & God bless you both.

  8. JoAnn-810811 January 31, 2012 Reply

    Wonderful story. Thanks for the walk through and validating some of my feelings early in this online dating process. You have been given a gift!

  9. Elle-812598 January 30, 2012 Reply

    This is a beautiful story of a man’s search for the right woman for him, relying on God to lead the way. Learning how it is best not to settle and never to compromise. This is why many of us are here, still searching and hoping and praying. It’s wonderful to read part two… thanks for sharing your story, Erik. It brings a smile to my face!

  10. Alexandra-549295 January 30, 2012 Reply

    Erik, I identified myself with you, when you mentioned on your paragraph how you felt “you needed to have a phone conversation with Allison” ( when we are in this process of checking profiles and sending emails, I felt that way at some point) and I also allied myself with you, when you wrote “it can be difficult to get a sense of someone. I’ve also experienced a false sense of intimacy before I have actually talked, much less met the person face-to-face”. but thanks God for both of you, it turned out to be the right thing to meet and you both clicked, like Josephine said, we all wish to find our “other half”, in CM : )

  11. ej-669140 January 30, 2012 Reply

    super sweet story.

  12. Stacey-101742 January 30, 2012 Reply

    I liked this article . Thank you for sharing your thoughts .

  13. Josephine-777682 January 29, 2012 Reply

    i like this i pray we all meet our Allison here too

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