Seven years ago today, Justin and I got into a very important argument.
The argument was the classic girl-lament, “When are we getting married?”
(Yes, I went there, even though I knew better.)
The problem was that all of our friends seemed to be getting engaged. It was like a virus outbreak…every day we got news of another couple “biting the dust.” Even couples who hadn’t been together as long as Justin and I had (about ten months at that point) were getting engaged and setting a date–moving forward with their lives, as I saw it.
I was 21 years old and I hadn’t graduated college yet, but I was in a big hurry to grow up and get on with my life. 🙂 So I started the argument.
“Are you trying to save up money to get a ring or something?” I conjectured (a possibility that my mom had planted into my head when I had the conversation with her earlier). “Because I don’t need a ring. I just want to marry you.”
“Really?” he asked, intrigued. “Well, let’s get married then.”
And then I started an argument about how that wasn’t the proper way to do a marriage proposal… *sigh* I don’t know how he puts up with me.
I didn’t like that our proposal story was forever going to be, “Well, we got engaged as the result of an argument. And there was no ring…not even a plastic one.” (Even though I clearly just stated that a ring didn’t matter to me…it felt strange to not have some sort of tangible token.)
I realized later that I was upset because it was so impromptu, and I worried that I had somehow “bullied” Justin into proposing to me. The truth is, he had already asked my parents for permission to marry me right around Christmas time. Every time my parents saw my number on the caller ID, they were sure that I was calling to announce that I’d gotten engaged. But Justin kept waiting and waiting…”Maybe he’s saving up money to buy a ring? He doesn’t really have a job right now,” my mom guessed when I complained to her over the phone, not knowing that she was in on a secret.
I also realized later that my parents got engaged in much the same way. He and my mom were eating dinner at T.G.I Fridays when my mom started hasseling him about when they would finally get married (they had only been dating for about three months!). He got down on one knee, without a ring, right there in the middle of the restaurant and proposed to her. Maybe she felt mixed feelings about his proposal, as I did, but she said “yes” (of course), and the entire restaurant erupted into applause. They’ve been married for over thirty years now. 🙂
Who knows what spectacular proposal Justin (and my dad) would have planned if I (and my mom) hadn’t been so impatient. But in the end, getting proposed to with a sky-writer or a jumbo-tron or a singing quartet really isn’t important…it’s the guy you end up with that’s important.
That proposal/argument happened on a Sunday. On Monday, Justin got a call from an engineering firm, hiring him for his first permanent engineering job. With the assurance of a steady salary in his sights, he went to Helzberg Diamonds and picked out a ring. (My friend Lindsey worked there at the time and she got to help him pick it out…I’m surprised she could keep it a secret!) Tuesday was Valentine’s Day, and Justin took me out to dinner at the Macaroni Grill…
And after dinner, he took me out for a walk around Lake Ella. It seemed like we were the only two people there, even on such a commercially romantic evening. It was there that he proposed to me again–the “proper” way that I had been hoping for. He brushed the hair away from my neck, removing the tiny engagement ring charm from my necklace and replacing it with a real, life-sized one. He also said a bunch of pretty things which I unfortunately don’t remember very well any more since my heart was racing with the realization of what was happening. It was certainly a surprise, getting a second marriage proposal! But he really didn’t need to. I was already his.
And I still am. ❤