I was pretty sheltered as a kid.
My dad died when I was three.
My mom kept me home most of the time. I was happy there, so I didn’t mind.
In the LDS church young men are expected to serve a full-time mission for two years. At that time they would go at age nineteen.
I was afraid of being on my own for that long.
I’d been on my own at scout camps and events, but that was it.
I was afraid of being far from home.
I had always wanted to get married. That seemed a lot safer, and I’d always been romantically inclined.
I had a plan.
Right after high school I would go to college for a year. While I was there I would find someone to marry.
Never mind that I had never gone out on a date before.
Never mind that I was afraid to even talk to girls.
My plan was foolproof.
What could possibly go wrong?
I’ve noticed a pattern in my romantic relationships.
Several women I’ve loved have been the victims of abuse.
I wanted to save them.
I wanted to show them they were worthy of love. That they had value.
I thought if I told them how wonderful they were they would see that I was right. They would see how beautiful they were, inside and out. They would see themselves the way I saw them.
I was wrong.
It wasn’t enough.
I failed them.
I wanted to be the knight in shining armor. To ride in on my white horse. To slay the dragon and save the damsel in distress.
I’m really just a scared little boy.
My armor is made of cardboard and paper. My horse is a broomstick. My sword is made of wood.
I can’t save you.
I’m not even sure I can save me.
I tend to rush into romance.
I think I’m just scared of being “forever alone.”
I talk about getting married with a girl before we’ve even gotten to know each other.
I’ve wanted to be married my whole life.
I didn’t date at all in high school.
I took things slow with the first couple of girls I dated. Maybe too slow.
After that I started rushing things. Each relationship faster than the one before.
I was engaged twice before meeting my wife. I never did get the know the second girl very well. We only dated for a few weeks before getting engaged. We were only together for a few weeks after that.
I only date my wife for a few weeks before we started talking about marriage. A little while after that I realized I was doing it again.
By the time we’d known each other for a year our first son was born.
It must not have been that bad. I don’t remember hearing any complaints. Except for the teacher’s.
She asked my mom to meet with her after school. And to bring me.
She sat in the middle of her kidney-shaped table. My mom and I were on the other side.
I don’t remember much about that meeting. Just that she told my mom what I’d been doing and that it needed to stop.
Before school each class would make two lines. A line of boys and a line of girls.
I’d walk down the girls’ line and give them each a kiss.
I don’t remember exactly why I did it. I wasn’t in love with every girl in the class. At least I don’t think so…
I didn’t see a problem with it. I kissed my family members all the time. Even my grandpas.
I didn’t get in a lot of trouble. That’s probably because I stopped.
I didn’t kiss another girl for twelve years.
But that’s another story.