Kris and I continued to see each other around campus, mostly in the cafeteria while eating with a large group of friends. However, we didn't really have another chance to talk until several weeks after our first conversation. I was headed out to the barn where I kept my horse, Fancy, on a sunny Friday afternoon, when I saw Kris coming toward me. We stopped to "chat" for what turned into another 2 hour conversation. Not to alarm any of you (if you know Kris, you won't be alarmed) but he was skipping (yes, you're reading that correctly) across campus toward me. One of things I admired most about this guy was that he really was genuinely unconcerned and unaffected by what others thought of him. All I knew at that moment was that his skipping reflected my own end-of-the-week feelings ("Thank goodness it's Friday!").
During this conversation, Kris asked how my fiance was doing and I told him that I had called off my engagement, officially. We talked about my reasoning for doing so and he gave his condolences. I assured him that condolences were not necessary as I felt overwhelming comfort in my decision and was certain that the Lord had a much different and far preferable plan for my life (I was hoping it was indefinite singleness). Though, I will spare you the details, the catalyst for my decision to end my former relationship was the realization that in marrying this person I would never fulfill the purpose God had for my life - I didn't know specifically what that was, but I knew what strengths He had given me and that they would be squelched inside such a marriage.
We talked about many things during that conversation and though I don't remember too many of the details, I remember it being a meaningful and memorable conversation (I like to refer to it as one of the "big 3" that led to our future relationship). I do remember how the conversation ended, incidentally. Kris said, "I want to be completely candid with you, because I value your friendship. I was a lot more comfortable relating to you when you were engaged, for obvious reasons. Now that you are no longer engaged, I think we probably need to intentionally avoid spending any one-on-one time together because I am definitely interested in you and would have difficulty being your friend without simultaneously pursuing you for a more serious relationship." I told him I appreciated his candor and agreed with his suggestion that we be cautious of the time spent together. I was definitely NOT looking for another "romantic" relationship and greatly appreciated his honesty. It would be hard to convey, in words, how much I respected his openness... I knew that if he ever really decided to pursue me, it wouldn't be stealth and that I would know exactly what his intentions were. What a rarity!
So a little background to our second conversation. . . By the time I met Eryn, I had seen a lot of people damaged by misusing romance/dating/whatever. Usually, it seems to be because people do not know what they want, or think they can find someone/thing better. They lack their own internal definition and structure, so they seek it out in others. The search is so vague that they stumble through all sorts of bad relationships. I mostly blame males for this - not that modern women are much better. Proverbs says to plant your field before building your house; yet, most men do not have a clear life purpose before they start seeking out romantic relationships.
As for myself, I had a pretty clear idea of who I was and what I was doing; consequently, I knew exactly what I was looking for. This didn't prevent me from falling into a "love at first sight" pot-hole along the way, because the girl didn't yet know who she was (even though she did know her professional aspirations). I am fairly academically minded, to put it mildly, but I believe that theory (whether scientific, theological, or life) has to be lived out in the real world in order to show that it works and creates an example for others to consider. I was looking for a wife that would help me translate ideas into reality and share them with others, primarily through our home.
At Bryan, I habitually considered girls for marriage -- it is only fair to them to decide quickly, so that you don't lead them on. Once decided, it is much easier to be a real friend. In observing Eryn, I had already concluded she had a natural bent toward hospitality. Her and Krista's dorm room was the nexus of campus life for many people and their group excursions to the barn were, wait for it . . . legendary. She was a natural peer counselor to a lot of gals. Eryn was a perfect candidate to help change the world from the comfort of our own home. But, she was engaged, which made her an excellent candidate for friendship.
The only question: what were her theological tendencies? You may laugh, but theology (and the culture flowing from it) plays a significant role in life tendencies, even in details. I was not interested in anyone from a high church background (too formal), a charismatic background (too mystical), or Presbyterian (too inclined to turn spiritual responsibilities over to others, but close otherwise :).
During our second conversation I attempted to piece together her theological history. I slowly worked through the time line of her church involvement. She had been in Bible churches (good), Baptist churches (better), and a home church (even better) which she had rejected as being too legalistic (perfect)! Nothing better than marrying a strait-laced rebel. Seriously. Who better to marry than someone who would obey God over man?
And she was not engaged any more! Oh, well, that left friendship (only) out of the equation . . . So, I decided that I would have to spend more time talking with Krista, so that I could find out the real scoop on this girl. After all, I could not afford to spend any more time around Eryn's blue eyes and dimples, which could potentially dissuade me from a purely objective pursuit of the truth.