“Getting engaged is a bit like tandem skydiving. You take a leap, and if your partner isn’t with you at the end then you know things have gone very badly.”
I just searched the internet for quotes about getting engaged because I thought that’d be a good way to start a blog post about getting engaged. I couldn’t find any that weren’t just really mushy, so I made one up ’cause I don’t like mushy. Of course if you can’t be mushy about getting engaged, when can you be? I’ll keep considering that one. For now, let me tell how it all came about.
You may remember that last year I got a girlfriend. This was pretty darn exciting. Emily is her name and she’s lovely and beautiful. How’s that for mushy?
Within about 10 hours of officially beginning our relationship I said to her, “You know this relationship is either going to end in us breaking up, or getting married, so let’s date in a way that we can do both well.” Or something like that. I stole that idea from a Christian book I read as a teenager about how evil dating is. It was probably one of it’s few pieces of advice I thought worth remembering. So we decided to date in a way that one way or another we leave the other person better than we found them. It also meant that right from the get-go marriage was on the cards just as much as breaking-up was. Talk about high stakes dating. We did however make a decision not to actually talk seriously about marriage for at least six months.
We lasted five and a half.
Life planning forced us to have the conversation a little early, but happily, we both were keen to work towards marriage. We started doing things that might help us know if we actually should get married: prayer, talking to wise people, marriage preparation surveys and mentoring, budgets, and stuff like that. We even went and bought a ring. This led to our most tense day ever, but we got through it with careful conversations and McDonald’s. This is probably going to be the key to our future success as a couple.
After all our pre-engagement preparation we still liked each other, so all that was needed now was to actually get engaged.
On New Years Eve I made an appointment to see Emily’s dad. It was so important an occasion I put on a collared shirt. I was a little nervous, as evidenced by the video I recorded just before I went it:
I was planning on making more videos during the process but I never got around to it.
Happily the collared shirt worked and he said “Yes”. Actually it was more like “I can’t stop you” which is a vote of confidence if ever I’ve heard one.
It was time to find a day to get engaged. I started making plans which meant a little bit of Googling and then giving up and thinking “I’ll just take the first opportunity I see.”
I saw the first opportunity the next day. We had decided to go and take photos of some sandstone bridges in the Blue Mountains. I thought I’d find some excuse to set up my camera in a nice spot, make it start taking photos automatically, and then I’d propose. It was going to be grand.
We headed up the mountains, found our first stone bridge. It was small, and there was another couple there, who may have just got engaged, or may have just smoked a bong. It was hard to tell. We decided to not to hang around, I decided not to propose there.
We went in search of lunch. It was New Years Day, so nothing was open. We had to go hungry, and sometimes hungry equals grumpy.
We went off looking for another bridge I’d heard about, a big, tall, sandstone bridge. We found it. It was quite lovely. It was part of an old, closed road. It looked kinda post-apocalyptic, which is my favourite look, for pretty much anything. I suggested we might want to get a few photos on top of the bridge later, I thought I should plant the idea just in case I decided to propose up there.
We found our way under the bridge, it was tall and magnificent, but I didn’t get many good photos.
Under the bridge there were no good places for proposing. At least not with the camera clicking away. I decided on top of the bridge was probably best.
I suggested we set up the camera to take some photos and then run down the bridge looking terrified. Later on Em, seeing as she’s a photoshop boss, could photoshop in some zombies. It’d be totally cool. I set up the camera, slipped the ring in my pocket and then we tried the zombie run.
We did the run a few times and each time I thought “I have to ask her now” and then I’d get scared and not do it. After about five runs down the bridge Em was getting pretty sick of it. She said “Alright, this is the last time.”
I thought “Bugger. I have to do it now!”
So when we got to the end of the bridge, I got down on my knees, grabbed her hand and said “Emily, my darling, I have loved you since the day we met. Your heart is like a precious jewel, you words are like a symphony, your face is like sunshine. I cannot live without you. I want to spend eternity with you. Will you marry me?”
Actually I didn’t. I got down on one knee, and then two, because I was nervous and couldn’t remember what I was meant to do with my knees. I then grabbed the wrong hand, and said something like “Um, I was wondering, if you might be willing to marry me?” It wasn’t a great speech.
She said something like “What? No. This isn’t happening now. Oh my goodness.”
I responded with “I have a ring I think you might like.”
She said “You have the wrong hand.”
Then I offered her the ring.
She said a lot of other stuff, which neither of us can remember. But somewhere in there she said “Yes.”
I put the ring on her finger.
Then we hugged and kissed and were happy. It was beautiful.
After that I would like to say we basked in the joy of choosing to spend the rest of our lives together. We did, for maybe five minutes. We then started discussing how to put our pre-planned social media campaign into action.
We took a photo to SMS to our friends and family:
We then took a few more photos, then decided to go back to my place to call and SMS our loved ones, and film our announcement video. We may also have hugged and kissed and giggled a few more times.
Back at my house we made some phone calls, shot the video, the headed out as we had a dinner to get to. We were meeting a bunch of friends to have dinner before going to see The Hobbit. The dinner got turned into an impromptu engagement party. It was lovely to have a bunch of people I love around to celebrate with.
We headed off to the film, then went back to Em’s to edit the video and get it ready for uploading it in the morning. This is what we came up with:
We finished the night praying together, which, for me, was one of the most special parts of the day. As much as I love that Em loves me, and as much as I love so many things about her, what I love most is that she loves Jesus more than she loves me. So for us to pray together, for our engagement, for our wedding, and for our marriage that was excellent. She is amazing, Jesus is better. I’m so very thankful for it all.
I drove home tired, happy, and determined never to get engaged again.