I was 15 when I laid eyes on my ‘Mr Perfect,’ he was everything I could have ever wanted in a man. He was handsome, funny, musical and head over heels in love with God. For months I couldn’t get him out of my mind. We became best friends. The kind of best friends who were (not so secretly) madly in love. We took our time as we were young and wanted to be wise. We started dating when I was 18. We were each others first kiss, we shared so many special moments, life couldn’t have been better, or so I thought.

One Easter a friend invited us to a Christian music festival and in the spur of the moment decision we found ourselves bags packed and on our way to a big weekend. I was so excited, loud music and lots of people was totally my thing, D-Jei on the other hand was not so into it and yet decided to put his feelings aside and support my extroverted personality. 

As soon as we arrived I was off with some friends ready to hit the mosh pit. D-jei wasn't with us but I assumed he would catch up soon. I was high on life, squealing with excitement (like young girls do) when suddenly there was a tap to my shoulder. I turned around to a familiar voice , “Hey! I didn’t know you were here?" It was an old flame (and by old flame I mean we were best friends in grade 6 and had a mutually hidden crush for each other). What had started out as an exciting weekend quickly became all about me.

After the festival we decided to meet up again, just to hear what had been gong on in each others worlds since it had been years since we last saw each other.  Little did I know this random catch up would quickly spiral into an emotional relationship.

While I (unintentionally at the start) invested more and more time and feelings into this friendship I noticed my feelings for my ‘Mr Perfect’ were beginning to starve and shrink. Confusion, lack of sleep and infatuation left me looking to others for confirmation and assurance. It was a dangerous place to be. I started to let the opinions of people replace the convictions I was held. I was living in secret. I was so ashamed and felt God had abandoned me. Not being able to tell anyone ate away at my insides. I felt hollow and empty. I became the source of my own pain.

Until one day, I was caught out. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.  My mum always told me that what is hidden in the dark will always be brought to the light so there’s no point hiding it, and it was true. 

After receiving grace and guidance from my incredible pastors at the time (James and Laryssa Schleusener) I learnt that the decision was mine. I could either choose to rebuild what damage I had caused with my boyfriend or I could choose to leave it behind and let him, as well as myself, heal and move on. 

That day I discovered love was a choice and I was willing to try again and even after all that I had put him through D-Jei was too.

I remember D-Jei saying to me, "I love you," and hesitantly I waited for the "but".....but instead he wrapped his arms around me and uttered, "no matter what".

D-Jei reminded me that true love is real, but it was our decision to rebuild our relationship and to put God as the cornerstone. 

Last year I married my ‘Mr Perfect’ and my life, although far from perfect, is drenched in favour and is literally better than what I could have ever imagined it to be. Marriage is the best!

Free will is one of God’s gifts to us. In your situation there may not always be a definite yes or no path, so how can you know what to do? Just like I did, seek the right kind of counsel, don’t settle for the unsettled feelings, there’s always a choice and remember no matter what, you are loved. If I could tell my 16 year-old self anything, it would be that love is not just a feeling, it’s a choice and one that has to be made often.. 

By Bronwyn Chapman