“Mr. Holdridge, can I ask you an intimate question?”

I was in my daughter’s room with a couple of her friends when this question came out of nowhere. 

“Mr. Holdridge, can I ask you an intimate question?”

I was kissing my girls goodnight before I hit the sack…it feels like I’m always going to bed before them these days.  One of many signs of old age.

But as I was turning for her bedroom door to leave, one of her friends, Olivia, fired off this question.  I love it when her friends feel comfortable with Heidi and I and want to sit around and talk about life, silly or serious.  I think it was prompted by her seeing me hug my girls and kiss them on the neck with little pecks of affection.  But I may be wrong.

“I would love to. Fire away.” I said as I turned back around.

I didn’t know what was coming next.  The world ‘intimate’ isn’t a world you hear in a teen’s vocabulary very often, so I girded up my loins for a doozy. 

“When did you know that you wanted to marry Heidi and how did you know?”

I think I was expecting something more intimate, but to her, asking a man a question like this was very personal.  It’s taken over a year and half of friendship with Kami and countless visits to our house to get to the point of feeling comfortable enough to go there with me.  I can tell she’s watched our family function for a while and slowly become a part of our family as we have welcomed her into our home and hearts.  She’s been a great friend to Kami these last two years. Really, she and Megan have been an answer to our prayers for God to bring her a couple good friends that love her well.  They certainly have been that in spades.

“I don’t know if this will be good advice if that’s what you’re looking for, because I don’t think this happens very often, but I got back from our first date to my dorm, stomped up into the lounge where a bunch of guys were sprawled out in their boxers, shirtless and clueless, and declared, ‘I’m going to marry that girl.’  I could feel it in my bones and I had only dated one girl for a couple months the summer before, so I didn’t just throw myself at girls in desperation.  But yeah, that’s when I knew and crazily, it actually happened.”

Kami’s friends chucked in glee thinking it was so romantic talking about how cute it is that I was so love-struck that I would shout out from the rooftops that sort of declaration on day one.

“Do guys sit around and talk about girls a lot?  When they are dating, do they get with their friends and talk about their girlfriends?”

I thought this was an odd question, but it’s what was on their minds and what they’d been talking about before I barged into the room.

“Not in my experience.  I think guys are a little different in that regard.  It seemed like in college they just horsed around--pulling pranks, playing video games, and loafing off.  I don’t remember any guys sitting around talking about girlfriends and what happened that night on their date and what they talked about and what they felt about it.”

I could tell they were a little bummed at my response wanting to believe their boyfriends got home and called their friends to talk about their feelings, but in my experience, I just haven’t seen much of that.  It’s not like it never happens, just not that often.

“Mr. Holdridge, how did you know you wanted to marry Mrs. Holdridge?”  They were wanting to know what attracted me to her and made me feel like she was the one.

“That’s easy.  Her family. Of course she was hot, but that’s not what made me feel that I wanted to marry her. I loved how she talked about her parents and siblings.  I loved how loved she felt by them.  It was one of two core things I was looking for in a person I would consider marrying…do they love God and do they love their family?  These were the two things I was looking for.  I’m not saying people can’t be different than how they were raised, but most never break free from the foundation that was laid along the way in their upbringing.  How they see their parents deal with conflict, what the spirit of their household was, how much affection they felt from their dad, how much conversation they naturally shared with their parents, whether God was talked about naturally as a way of life, how free they felt to be themselves at home.  These are the things that I was looking for.”

They just nodded their heads and I could tell they were taking their current relationships through that grid wondering about the extended family of the guys they like or liked before. 

Just then Heidi came in and they began asking her a barrage of questions and so our conversation got into storytelling.  Lots of laughter, but also large stretches of concentrated listening.  It was amazing. 

I was getting tired and I could tell they were just getting started with interrogating Heidi about relationships, so I dismissed myself and retired for the evening.

As I laid my head on the pillow that night, I felt such a fulfillment.  It was always a dream of mine that our children’s friends would feel so comfortable with our family in our home that they would go to the places we went in conversation that night.  It was a late night, but one well spent.

I pray for Kami and her friends that they will follow God into the choppy waters of finding a good man to love and be loved by.  I hope to always be invited into the conversation…whatever the conversation may be. 

There’s no greater honor than being a part of the conversation.


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