He was so cute, fun, energetic and just plain crazy – all the requirements of someone who I am attracted to. We met at a Christian dance on New Year's Eve. We became inseparable. We spent the next month glued at the hip. I had not been looking for anyone in my life; he just appeared. I had always heard that this is how it could happen. And wow, he is here. He was in seminary, loved to witness to others, had a great personality and boy could he kiss. I was in love or was I?

Within 24 hours of meeting Jack, I was in the middle. I mean, I am an adult. I know what I want. I don't need all that friendship stuff. I had been around the block and knew quickly if people were real. I saw his fruit. Well, some of his fruit. Whatever you could see in a few days. That was enough for me. But boy would I be wrong. I would learn later of how much being in the middle would cost us both.

Don't you love being in a relationship where you are so comfortable that you can totally be yourself? You can take your shoes off, wear the same shirt for two days, lay on the couch, eat Cheetos and ice cream for dinner. You're so comfortable that you have cute pet names for each other. You don't have to plan every detail of your dates, in fact you have passed the "dating" phase and are just with each other all the time. No one is trying to impress. No one is trying to be someone they are not. You aren't planning the future but you are also not discussing the past. You are in the middle somewhere. The real middle, not the one you jump into after a week of dating.

I believe almost everyone wants to be here – the middle. But no one wants to do what it takes to get there. Everyone is in a hurry to get there because "there" is a safe place. A place where I don't have to be alone. A place that might lead to marriage. A place that makes me feel valuable. And while this may be true, it's also a place that can lead to rejection, pain, isolation and loneliness. When we skip building the foundation of a relationship, we build it on shaky ground. When the first storm appears, it not only shakes the relationship but can destroy, leaving damage that follows you forever.

Recently I watch a show on TV on Internet dating to get information for a conference that I am teaching. The show followed the lives of 12 women, and as I watched, I noticed a consistent need to jump into the "middle" of a relationship. There was such desperation on both sides to find someone and find them now. Some of the single adults not only were having sex within a few dates, they were talking to each other as if they had been dating each other for months. No one seemed interested in building a friendship, a foundation of trust, love and care. And God certainly didn't appear to be in any part of the formula.

When I Was Younger

When I was younger, every time I met a man my main purpose was to find out if he was single and if he could be the "one". It never crossed my mind if this man could be anything else in my life. Sure, I had business contacts, family friends, church friends, etc., but every other guy was the possible "one". I let friends set me up, tried a dating club, attending a zillion single adult events, and almost put an ad in the paper. I wanted to be married and I was in a hurry.

As time went on and I became stronger in my relationship with God, dating seemed to slow down. I was less interested in having friends set me up and totally against Internet dating. Then I met Jack, who seemed to be the answer to my prayers. I was at a place in my life where I had stopped trying to find "the one" with my power and had given that aspect of my life over to God. At least I thought I had. Jack would prove to be a test. I would end up skipping the foundation of a friendship and jump right in the middle. Why was this? Had I not learned anything from my past. Ultimately, Jack and I would not make it. When the storm came, we quickly crumbled.