Ever seen those love movies where the hottie-teacher is every student in his class’ little secret dream? It sure was mine. And even though I thought it would never happen, yes…I dated a teacher. Spoiler alert: We married and lived happily ever after!
Welcome to my Love Story.
It Started With Maths Homework…
I was a naive, but determined 17 year old. We recently moved to South Africa from Namibia, and I was being homeschooled with my two younger brothers. We moved to a farm. Outside Wellington. Socialising was not happening, and I feared I might have to go to my own matric farewell with my brother. In our living room.
My parents decided, in order to make the new move a little easier on us, and have us meet kids our own age, to have us to to this small private school. My parents reconnected with the owners, as they all went to same youth group as teens. It was like a little reunion. I immediately got along great with their youngest daughter, and we became great friends. I would often visit her house.
At school, I was struggling with my Maths, and Juan – an assistant teacher at that stage – offered to help me. As he wasn’t my teacher, he would pop in once a day, and sit with me to help me with my work. I’ll admit; I’d fake not understanding if it meant he could stay 5 minutes longer.
And Then Coffee Happened…
Juan asked me for coffee one day. But I declined, because even though I secretly had feelings for him, I was seeing another boy at that stage. I was not the cheating type. Juan insisted that it would just be as friends.
But after our one coffee (friend)date turned into a weekly set date that we both saw as the highlight to our week, I realized I was in dangerous territory. We always had so much to talk about. Our relationship with God, music, books, and honestly, I think he was already a little smitten because I understood (and liked!) computers. #GeekLove (My dad was into IT and taught us from a young age)
One coffee date, he confessed that he felt I was the woman he would marry one day. I was flattered, but again, was still seeing someone. He asked me to take the week and pray about it, and then we could chat about it. I took the week, but didn’t take it too seriously, and gently declined because of the relationship I was already in.
And Then He Backed Off…
Yup. Just like that. He was still friendly. Still helped me with homework when needed. Still had coffee once a week. But he withdraw. And like the girl I was, I was offended.
Ummm helloo? Why aren’t you chasing me anymore?!
I wrote him little letters (yeah yeah, this was letter writing days still…) and would even flirt a little. But nooooo. His sister took me aside one day, and told me I can’t have my bread buttered both sides. Basically; choose to stick with your current boyfriend and leave my brother alone. Or leave your boyfriend and choose my brother. It can only be one.
My amazing husband told me years later, that God had a real heart-to-heart with him and he knew that if he “stole” me, I could be stolen. So he backed off. If this was meant to be, it would be.
But My Feelings Grew…
And in the following few months, I could feel my heart pulling closer to this godly man. He was so intense. So strong. So gentle. He was charming. And so GOOD. Too good for me. And because of his emotional distance, I knew he didn’t like me that way any more.
A few days after my 18th birthday, my current bf and I decided mutually to end it. It wasn’t negative, but we both felt it’s not working. And you know what I did almost straight after? I phoned Juan. And this is bascially how the conversation went:
Me: “So I wanted you to know **** and I just broke up….”
Juan: “Oh no. I’m so sorry. Are you OK?”
Me: “Yes I’m fine. It was mutual. We both knew we weren’t each other’s soul mates. But I had to call you and let you know that it’s over.”
Juan: ……silence…. “Simone, this doesn’t change anything between us… We’re still friends.”
LITERAL AIR PUNCHED OUT OF MY BODY! De-va-sta-ted.
The Words That Changed It All
We continued with our weekly coffee dates, and about 6 weeks laters, we had both let our guard down enough to fall for each other in a serious way. I had always been very wary to say I love you (and actually only said those words to Juan almost a year into our relationship) because I knew the weight of it and wanted it to mean everything it should when I say it. Studying the Bible, I knew exactly what it means in 1 Corinthians;
4 Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, 5 it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, 6 it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth.7 Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends.
So one afternoon, I told him I have something on my heart that i’ve been meaning to tell him. And I told I don’t know exactly where this is going, but what I am feeling is undeniable. And wanted to make the following promise to him;
I promise to be patient wit you. I promise to be kind. And I promise I won’t brag or be arrogant. I won’t be rude, or look for my own advantage. I’ll try not be irritated, or keep a record of wrongs. I want to put up with all of you, trust in you, hope, and endure everything with you…
He understood. And he replied, “I love you too.”
I am lucky enough to be married to a very wise and mature man, because even though I thought we could keep it a secret for the last few months of my final year of school, he knew we couldn’t and that it would also just cause unnecessary trouble.
We invited both our parents over for lunch in Wellington, and opened discussed our relationship. All the challenges and future possibilities. Juan explained to my parents how he felt about me and respects me enough to know that he needs both my parents’ blessing. He asked my dad’s permission to court me, guys!! Like, for real, out-of-a-movie!
I was able to finish my school year at home, completing the homeschooling that I started, so no more student-teacher romance would be seen/experienced at school. I went on to completed my degree from Stellenbosch University, and our courtship survived me getting drunk at parties, him having to drive through and come get me at 4am in the morning, piercings, sooooo many nights of me crying on his couch because the work load was to much, 1000s of coffee dates, and finally doing a long-distance relationship for about 7 months when he took a job in the USA.
He proposed to me one Friday at sunset, on the farm my parents were living on, without me even suspecting a thing! With the perfect ring that looked like no one else’s. We got married 3 and a half months later, on a freezing cold June morning, and in our vows, repeated those loving words from 1 Corinthians 13… The same way our relationship started 4 years earlier.
The Student-Teacher Love Story
I love our love story. It has just the right amount of drama, suspense, touch of naughtiness, and overflowing with genuine love on every single page. I am so incredibly fortunate to have married my literal high school sweetheart. To have my husband be my date on my matric farewell, and to have our marriage not only last, but be successful and happy for 12 full years.
So there you go; a beautiful introduction to my love story. The start to my life as a wife, and a mother, and thus, the complete beginning to this blog, For without it, I would never have known what love really is.
All my love,