Monday, June 13, 2011

My engagement story

More stories of our stay in Belgium to come, and definitely more Efteling pictures. But when Mrs. Beguiles throws out a challenge, you know I can hardly resist. And this time she asks us about our engagement story. Oh, and do I have a sweet one to share. Okay, so I might be just the tiniest bit biassed, but judge for yourself!

The evening after we were engaged. Oh my, I was so slim.

As a few of you may already know, my husband and I actually met online on Because of the distance, we started our relationship with the proposition of just being friends. In the back of my mind, I had the idea that if God wanted us to be together, he would remove obstacles and make it clear.
Several obstacles were removed, including a serendipituous, but independent confirmation that I was not having hopeful conversations with some crazy ax murderer. (That story maybe another time).
Anyhow, the relationship progressed... online.. on the phone. And then finally we met in person. He came to visit me. Then I came to visit him. Each time for a period of only ten days or so. Despite that we had grown so close, had so many values, and goals and other things in common and we felt ourselves falling in love. Sliding into it is perhaps even a better word. We both prayed about it and before we knew it we were talking about the possibility of marriage.

Both of us were members of an online forum for catholics, which was good, because we could also see how the other acted in groups, and reacted to others. Somehow the topic there became engagements and engagement rings and diamonds and how expensive they were. I mentioned offhandedly that I personally didn't see the need for a diamond in an engagement ring. I would much prefer something else, like a saphire.
Bill came back to that in a pm (private message, this was in the days before facebook had exploded to it's current popularity) and asked if I was really serious about that no diamond thing, just in case.. when the day came.... I swallowed. This was getting very, very real. And I assured him I was perfectly serious.

Okay, so I am spoiling the story a bit, but... here is my engagement ring.

A few months later, Bill travelled on the afternoon of Christmas day (you know a man loves you when he is prepared to travel to you on Christmas day), all the way to Belgium to arrive there on the 26th. To avoid jetlag, I decided to try and keep him as busy as possible so he would not fall asleep halfway through the day. We ate something at my mothers house. He stayed there during the visits, while I just went home to my own little apartment a few streets further at night. We talked a bit. And we exchanged christmas presents from him, me, our parents, and so on. In the afternoon, I suggested a walk. Since we needed a destination I decided on the Cathedral: it's not far, it was a pivotal place for my faith, and it's always something interesting to see and do on a day when most museums shops are closed. He thought that was an excellent idea.

So off to the cathedral we went. It was still beautiful decorated with evergreen trees inside for Christmas. We wandered around a little bit and Bill remarked that there were more tourists than he had expected. There were. Mostly probably because almost everything else is closed on that day. We made our way around and ended up in the St. Joseph's chapel. St. Joseph was the Saint I had chosen to ask for his intercession to find me a good husband, shortly after which I had met Bill online. (Note to self: when you can't get something done on your own, remember to PRAY, silly!)
this chapel, I had done a lot of my praying! And it was here that Bill settled on a chair next to mine and told me that there was one more gift he wanted for the new year: he wanted me to become his wife. I remember looking at him. I remember being aware that there were people approaching the chapel. And I remember asking him: "Are you sure that I will make you a good wife?" He was sure. I accepted. And then he opened a little white jewelers box, which had a ring in it, so much bigger than I had ever imagined, with the most magnificent saphire I had ever seen. The box had a silly little light that went on as you opened it, which made us laugh and broke the tension.
We hugged. We kissed (rather chastely, we were very aware of where we were.). And we thanked St. Joseph for his intercession.
After that, we went to spend a few minutes in adoration at the tabernacle. I never asked what Bill prayed for but my prayers were a mixture of gratitude and requests for strength to be a good wife and a good mother. Getting married was such a marvelous and awe insipring step.

I was nervous.. I was giddy. And after adoration, we wanted to keep the news to ourselves for a little bit. I remember going out of the cathedral hand in hand and looking at some of the personel there. Many of them were acquaintances, since I gave confirmation class in this parish, and just was there a lot. I remember smiling at them and greeting them and thinking... I have a secret. I have a secret. I felt like a little girl that wanted to skip and hop.

We went for a little more of a walk to a nearby fry shop. Instead of a fancy dinner, we had fries with mayonaise and mystery type meat. We held hands, we talked about the future, about marriage, about practical arrangements (we needed to plan a wedding that would unite two continents!) and I just gazed at him and felt so.. utterly and completely happy.

We lingered over the fries, then went to my mother's home. When we entered the house everything was quiet and I realized she was taking a nap. At that moment, my phone rang and my very best friend in the whole world was there. Her first question was the very usual; "How are you?" and for once I just couldn't reply with the customary "fine, how are you?" because I was afraid to bounce off the walls with excitement. So I whispered into the phone: "I can't talk right now. Need to talk to my mom first. But Mary -obviously, that's here name- I am wearing a RING!"
We quickly agreed that she would come by that evening to get the scope and hear everything.
After my mom woke up I talked to her, she was excited. We cried a little bit. We laughed. We hugged. The same process repeated itsself later with Maria. Then we told Bill's parents the official news on the phone later.

Close up!

Of course both of our parents had known before me that Bill would propose during this stay. I had sort of expected it to happen either this visit, or in march.. but definitely not at that moment. I loved the fact that he proposed so privately. He didn't go down on one knee because there were so many tourists around, which otherwise he would have done, and I appreciated his discretion. I don't mind being the center of attention, but that moment was for us, and for God. I loved that he had heard me when I mentioned preferring a saphire engagement ring. I loved that we spend time in prayer, and time eating fries.
And I am eternally grateful to St. Joseph for guiding us and bringing us together. We are almost at our fifth anniversary and no matter how much I loved him in that moment, I love him so much more now.

(we used this as our picture for the engagement announcement, though obviously, it is taken in summer, not at the moment that we became engaged, or I would be freezing.)


Matushka Anna said...

Sigh...I love engagement stories!

Mandi said...

I met my husband on Catholic Match too! And I have a sapphire engagement ring too! Too many coincidences!

That is a really great story, very sweet!

Colleen said...

What a sweet story. And, that ring! It is gorgeous!

Melanie B said...

Beautiful! I love the sapphire. Such a lovely ring.