I remember going to Mexico when Hubs and I had only been dating a few months and talking about “someday” when we would get married. (If you don’t remember check out day four.)
Our first Christmas together, Hubs bought me a Claddaugh ring and my mom told him that he better be clear with me about his intentions with that ring so that there were no hurt feelings.
For our 1 year anniversary, we were in Italy with a study abroad program where we took a class then took a trip to kind of see all the things we had learned about. There was speculation that he would propose on the trip. We even spent our only free day together just walking around Rome, sitting in cafes, just taking in the beauty. I even saw a wedding dress that day. But he didn’t propose. When we came back that night, another guy had proposed to his girlfriend in Pompeii. I was SO annoyed at the possibility of them ruining what could have been our engagement. But Hubs didn’t even have a ring.
We still had a lot of growing to do in our relationship.
Hubs has always had a unique approach to our relationship. Because his parents are divorced, he has always had different priorities for communication, quality time, and treatment of each other. He also was good about noting areas he needed to improve from previous relationships. Not me. First, I didn’t have a clue how to communicate well and I don’t fight fair. My parents are still married so I’ve only see marriage work in that way. We had different approaches all along. And while we knew we would get married, we needed to put a LOT more stock and interest into God’s plan and timing.
When Hubs left for South Africa a month after he graduated, we knew we wouldn’t be able to talk at all or at least very little. Like I said before, we had decided very shortly before this that we would move to probably the last place he expected me to pick for my first job. We were going to be WAY out on our own. It was scary.
I’m going to take a second and tell you what Hubs was thinking: He knew he wanted to marry me. But he also knew that it wasn’t fair to make the promise and commitment until the right time. He had thought about proposing in Italy, but he didn’t think it was the right thing to do. He knew that he would spend time on his mission trip praying and thinking and searching for the direction of his (and our) life – career, future, marriage, everything. And that’s what he did.
So we wrote letters to each other every single day in journals. Every single day we shared our struggles and our encouragements and what we were learning.
After 5 weeks, he came home. I drove to our college town and sat in my car and waited FOR-EV-ER for he and his team to finish up their debriefing. When I finally got the “ok” I stormed the house he was in and ran into his arms (this by the way also makes the top 5 best days of my life). He held me close and looked into my eyes.
The night before he got home, I was praying and I told God that I had no idea what our future was and if Hubs came home and said “Pack your bags. We’re going back to Africa.” my only hesitation would have been putting a ring on it before I went off into the great unknown. That’s not what he said or the plan for our life, but that’s a whole other series for later.
What we did do was carve out time to read our journals to each other out loud. We went one day to a picnic and got about half way done. I wanted to finish. He wanted to save it for another day.
After I moved, Hubs was working on looking for a job and was visiting. I would go to work and he would apply for jobs. One day I remember coming home after a whole day and he told me he had applied for 1 job. 1. That’s it? Well there better have been a good reason. And there was.
That weekend, Hubs took me out on a fancy date. The kind where he picked a new restaurant. A new place to go. A new thing to do. Ya know, THE date. Only it wasn’t. After a beautiful night with many missed opportunities, he didn’t ask. In fact, he fell asleep on my couch watching a movie.
I thought, well, Hubs does everything in his own time. I wasn’t even sure he had a ring, even though I had picked one out. I didn’t know if he had asked my dad. So I figured it was a long time coming.
The next day we went out to lunch with the pastor at the church we were attending. He asked when Hubs was going to propose to which the answer was “Sooner than later”. My thought? “Yea, right!”
That night we had planned a picnic to finish reading our journals. And just as the sunset, Hubs read his final journal entry which was his proposal to me. He talked about knowing that God had one vision for us to complete as man and wife and that our adventures had only just begun. He asked me to spend the rest of our lives together. I have never been speechless in my whole life – ask anyone. But I couldn’t even say “yes” through all of the emotion. I finally got out “yea” with some help, but it was just amazing.
6 months later, on our 2 year anniversary, we were married. We spent our honeymoon in South Africa doing mission work and listening to what God has for us to do.
And ironically enough, on the 3 year anniversary of our engagement, our little girl was born.
We have a beautiful love story, full of grace and growth. I am so thankful for my wonderful husband.
(This is my favorite engagement photo. We have it blown up on a canvas at our house.)
And our love story goes on. We always say we’d like to be married for 80 years which means we’ll live to be 103 and 102 (Hubs is a little younger than me). So this story will always have new things to add to it.