That night, we went on our first date. It was a lot of fun (and accompanied by his sister, Julie, who was visiting from out of town) I wouldn't have changed anything about it.
A couple of weeks later, I didn't know exactly what we were so I finally said, "So, are you my boyfriend or what?". To which he replied, "Yes, of course I'm your boyfriend." and that kind of freaked me out a little. I was just so used to being single. Honestly, the transition to calling him "boyfriend" was a lot more difficult than "fiance" or "husband". I know that seems strange, but it is the truth. I was perpetually single and kind of at a point where I was actually liking it, but there was this man who was sweeping me off my feet and, well, I let him.
Two or three weeks into our relationship and actually, the day of our first kiss! Aw...
We approached dating differently than a lot of people do, I think. We both were waiting for the person God had for us, so we went into our relationship very open and very honest and with the understanding that if either of us felt like this wasn't what was supposed to be happening in our lives, that we would quickly tell the other.
Another aspect of our dating relationship was our commitment to physical purity. We both were saving sex until marriage and weren't intending on compromising that for anyone. It defined a lot of boundaries in our relationship and at times was... hopelessly difficult. (I've written about this before, so I won't go way into it right now. If I ever had a soap box, this would be it though. Even today, Josh looked at me and said, "Leslie, thank you so much for waiting for me.")
Dancing. We were the youngest couple there by approximately 40 years.
Probably a month or so into our relationship.
The first time he told me he loved me was at midnight on New Years Eve in New York City...
We both started to feel rather quickly that we were perfect for each other and meant to get married. Except for the fact that a huge desire on his heart was to be a missionary. (Josh spent the year before we met in Azerbaijan as a missionary) I had never really considered that one before. We talked (and talked and talked) and prayed (and prayed and prayed) about whether or not we were supposed to be together. Whether or not I could actually be a missionary, and whether or not Josh could not be a missionary. Eventually, our plans and dreams came into line (that's an entire separate blog) but I must tell you that missions is definitely in our (3 year plan) future.
An evening with friends
Riding in the back of a truck after a canoe trip!
Eventually, we started talking seriously about marriage. We went and looked at rings once (or twice) but only on his suggestion. One day in early May, we went shopping and I found a fabulous pink dress. Oh how I loved this pink dress! I ended up buying it that day and as I checked out he said, "Who knows... maybe this is what you'll be wearing when you get proposed to...."