Shannon here: Melanie Campbell shares insight into her real-life romance, plus a chance to win an audiobook copy of her latest Women’s Fiction title, One Way Home. Deadline: July 24th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Melanie:
I shouldn’t have been looking for anyone to date when I met my husband.
Divorced from my abusive ex-husband, raising two young daughters, going to school full time, and working half time, all while being in and out of court for custody battles and violated protective orders. My life was a hot mess. More than one sage person advised me to forget about dating. And, for a time, I did put aside pursuing any love interest.
But I believe we aren’t meant to walk through life alone, no matter what our circumstances or our past. Sure, there are some who may be called to pursue a ministry or mission that requires them to remain solo. Not me. My heart longed for another half. For a partner. For love.
My friend Vanessa had been telling me about a friend of hers she wanted me to meet. He was a successful business owner and loved the outdoors. According to her he was handsome and had a great personality. He sounded perfect, but she kept putting off the introduction. Meanwhile, during the lonesome and worry-filled weekends when I had to let my girls visit their father, I found myself talking to an ex-boyfriend. When I told Vanessa about him, our history, and his current situation, she decided it was time for me to meet the man she’d been talking about.
Sometimes it takes a friend to help us see the red flags in a relationship – or even just that someone isn’t that into you.
Shortly after telling me it was time to meet this wonderful guy she’d been raving about for months, Vanessa called me and let me know the bad news. He was no longer available. I was a little disappointed, but maybe it was a sign that the ex-boyfriend who I’d been talking to was the one, despite what Vanessa thought. I shared my insight with my friend. “You know,” she said thoughtfully. “There’s Rod. He’s not bad.” She proceeded to tell me about the man who worked for her husband. He was a great guy. A Christian. Funny. Loved kids.
Okay, I thought, why not?
Vanessa arranged a double date. It would be her, her husband, Rod and I having dinner at a local restaurant. It was basically a blind date for Rod and me. We hadn’t even talked on the phone. It sounded hopelessly awkward, but I was curious to meet the guy, even if he was my friend’s second choice for me out of the men she knew.
A week before our date, Vanessa called. I could tell something was wrong by the tone in her voice. “Rod’s brother just died. He has to cancel the date.”
“That’s horrible!” My heart broke for this man I’d yet to meet.
In the days that followed, I wondered how Rod was doing. We’d never spoken, so calling him was out of the question. Also, having been through the dating game for a few years, part of me wondered if the sudden-death-of-a-brother story was the worst way I’d heard of yet for someone to bow out of a date. My concern for what Rod was going through won over my skepticism. I decided to send him a sympathy card.
A week or so later, I got a call from Vanessa. “Rod would like to reschedule the dinner.”
“Really? So soon?” I was surprised.
“Yes. He said he really needs to get his mind off his grief for awhile.”
I could emphasize. While divorce isn’t a death, it’s like one. It’s a journey of grief with no clear road to navigate, especially when children are involved and the marriage itself was traumatic. It’s a weary, lonely path.
I said yes to the date.
One year and one month later, we were married. Everything Vanessa had told me about Rod was true. He was a dedicated Christian, hardworking, goofy, and he loved kids. He loved mine so much he wanted them to be a part of our wedding and honeymoon. We decided on Disneyland for the honeymoon, so it only made sense to go with a Disney-themed wedding. But what princess would I be?
The choice was obvious. Cinderella. I didn’t go from rags to riches, but I did go from being discarded, mistreated and alone to being chosen just as I was, scars and all.
I think I appreciate second chance love stories because it’s my story. If you also like stories of second chances, I think you’ll love the audiobook I’m giving away. It’s the second book in my Whispers of Grace series, and it’s about a woman who needs another shot at life—and love.
About Melanie: Melanie Campbell is an award-winning author, wife, mom, Jesus follower, waterfall chaser and animal lover. Her debut novel, One Woman Falling, won the 2020 Oregon Christian Writer’s award, and is also being used in programs that help families affected by domestic violence.
Melanie wrote her first story when she was eight-years-old and has been in love with the power of storytelling ever since. She is also passionate about social issues and holds a degree in Sociology from the University of Oregon, which she obtained during her stint as a single-mom. She’s now married and lives in Oregon’s beautiful Willamette Valley with her family and several spoiled pets.
When not writing, Melanie enjoys exploring Oregon’s beautiful outdoors by hiking, kayaking, and going for drives in the country. In less-than-favorable weather conditions, you will find her enjoying an intriguing book and a strong cup of coffee. Learn more & connect:
Question for Readers: Sharon, the heroine of One Way Home, rediscovers her talent for music and singing. What is your hidden talent? Are you pursuing it or is it something you’ve set aside?
Come back July 16th for Deanna Klingel!