Wedding countdown: Remembering our steps toward engagement

When I was young, I was convinced that I was going to get married. It wasn’t a conviction that fueled envisioning a perfect wedding or anything like that – it was mainly a feeling.

I told my mom about this conviction at age 11. She asked a simple but also complex question: why? I remember this conversation as taking place on our trip to Alaska, specifically in Juneau, on our way to our campground near the Mendenhall glacier.

Why? Because. I realized I didn’t really have an answer.  I don’t know if it was at that moment that my conviction started slipping away, or if other factors crept in. When I came out as bisexual at age 17, I didn’t want to get married because gay marriage wasn’t legal at the time. It didn’t seem fair to me. In any case, it was somewhere between a “don’t want to” and a “I’ll never.”

I met my future fiance at age 24 in 2007. Something about this relationship felt different to me, and I found I wanted a more long-term commitment. We had been together for roughly six months when I found myself saying, “I want to marry you,” almost unconsciously during an intimate moment.”I want to marry you, too,” he responded, “But not yet.”

Our “not yets” held us – through moving, his attending graduate school, a multitude of stressful transitions.
When I moved out to live in community, my healing process, questions from other people, and general stress on our relationship threw the constantness of us into more doubt.
We separated in the fall of 2013.

I remember a conversation about relationships and marriage at one Sunday night dinner that fall, where several other women shared their thoughts. “I don’t know,” I said. “I thought I had found the person I wanted to marry.” I was confused about my relationship with him – as I still deeply loved him – and I didn’t know what the future held.

Through my health issues, depression, and crisis, he stood by me. We came back together slowly, tentatively. By the time I left San Diego in June 2014, I knew two things in my life for sure: that I needed to leave for my own healing, and that I wanted to be in a relationship with him. Even if it had to be long-distance for awhile. Even as we were rebuilding trust and learning to communicate in a different way.
And we grew closer, steadier.

There were nights that fall where I would text, “I want to marry you.” He would respond, “I want to marry you, too.”
One day, I asked him, “Wait, are we serious?” He paused and said, “I think I am.” Are you?” “I think so,” I said. “Let’s talk about it next time I visit,” he replied.

So we talked about it on a cool December day as we took a hike in the foothills. We shared what we wanted, what marriage meant for us, whether we were ready for a stronger commitment. Both of our answers were “yes.”  We don’t really have a proposal story, but nonetheless, we have a story of strong mutual agreement and knowing we were ready.

We carried our unofficial engagement with us, not quite a secret, shared with a few loved ones, calling each other “fiance(e), husband, or wife” on occasion at the end of our Skype calls. We chose my engagement ring – first the jewelry store, where we walked in together and found out our the ring sizes. A few months later, around May of 2015, I went into the store and took pictures of a few rings I liked. I shared them with him, and he said, “I like this one a lot.” I looked at it – an aquamarine stone in a square setting in  yellow gold. I had imagined a smaller stone in white gold, but there was something about this one, the way the cool aquamarine stood out against the warm gold, how it looked natural on my finger. It felt right. I went in again and tried it on and got tears in my eyes. Soon, we started making payments on it.

engagement-ring

The ring was ready and resized by Thanksgiving weekend, 2015, when my love came to visit. We went into the store and he slid it on my finger. We took pictures that day and officially announced our engagement. The day before, I had also given him an engagement ring: a simple stainless steel ring, black with a gold design. He wasn’t expecting it, and he smiled as he put it on. It fit perfectly.

We took pictures – selfies, or “usies” – outside under the deep blue late fall New Mexico sky. We glowed. “I marry you,” he said. I grinned. “I marry you,” I replied.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. so glad both of you are in my life…

    Reply

  2. Ah!
    This is so wonderful. This is so wonderful. It feels so right. In June seven years ago, less than a week after I had met my current partner in flesh after three months of only emails, my aunt died. On the phone to my love overseas I said “One day I will ask you to marry me”. To that he said “When the day I comes, I will not say no”. And although we have not exchanged rings nor vows of the usual kind, we are strong in our commitment; loving and supportive in our ways. Every day. All stories are love stories. In some way. ❤

    Reply

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