See, I had an ulterior motive in asking you to share your proposal stories-today is my 15th Wedding Anniversary! That’s right, on June 19, 1993, after almost exactly eight years of dating, Chris and I finally stood up in front of our families and my parents’ minister and promised to, um, do something until death do us part. We were both so scared and nervous that neither of us remember actually saying anything. In fact, I could barely raise my voice loud enough to be heard, which for me is pretty rare
Some day, I’m going to post the entire timeline from 1984 to 1993, tell you the whole story of how Chris and I met, how we went from friends to being in love, and how my parents spent 8 years trying to keep us apart. It’s quite a story. The actual proposal though? Well, I kind of ruined it.
First of all, getting engaged was something the two of us discussed. I was a Sophomore in college in a town about 40 miles away, Chris was going to community college and working full time. Neither of us had any money at all. Chris’ Dad worked across the street from Dicker & Deal, a consignment store that bought mostly electronics, movies, and jewelry. Their jeweler bought pieces, took them apart, and reset the stones. Chris and I went in to look, and found a beautiful 1/3 carat diamond cushion cut ring, I believe the price was around $250.00. We pooled our money and bought it. Which brings us to our FIRST engagement.
At the time, Chris was working at Arby’s. I went there to see him, so it must have been a Saturday. I could drive from my college to his house in less than an hour, so I stayed with him almost every weekend. Anyway, I went to Arby’s to pay him a visit, asked him when he was going to put that ring on his finger, and I swear, we walked outside, sat down on a nearby park bench, and he “proposed”. I feel like I ruined his chance to surprise me with a real proposal, but I couldn’t wait to wear that ring!
I’ve had to keep editing this post because there is so much story to tell, so let me just be brief. Around the end of Junior Year of college (I had left the tiny college and was going to M.S.U.), pressure from my parents and I don’t even know what else finally got the best of me. I told Chris I needed to stop wearing the engagement ring because we obviously weren’t getting married any time soon. I was SO dependent on my parents for everything, it never even occurred to me to just MARRY him. We could have had a wedding at City Hall and told them after, but I so craved their approval, and had spent my whole lifetime doing exactly what they told me to do, that I let them talk me into “postponing” the engagement. I was such an idiot.
So at the end of Senior Year at M.S.U., my English Lit. professor handed me a brochure for the Overseas Study program in London. It was five weeks, two or three credits, and I would live in a dorm at a London college and M.S.U. professors would hold class two or three times a week. My parents agreed to pay for me to go. My Mother actually suggested that I might “meet someone” while I was there!
Chris and I had spent the entire time I was at the first college writing letters to each other. I got a letter from him in my mailbox almost every day. He used those writing tablets that are about half the size of a regular sheet of paper, and would fill up the front and back of three or four pieces of paper. I have the letters still, in a shoebox somewhere, and he has all the letters I sent him. When I went to London, we resumed our letter-writing. I told him everything I did and saw each day, he told me what was going on back home. It only took a few letters and a couple of very expensive trans-Atlantic phone calls for me to realize for certain that I never wanted to “meet someone” else, I wanted to be with Chris. It was what was right for me, in my heart, and nothing my parents could do could change that. I can’t remember if we actually discussed getting re-engaged in the letters or not.
The weekend after I got back from London, Chris asked me to go with him down to Fort Wayne Indiana to pay a visit to his biological father, who we had lived with in Lansing for a short time. I didn’t ask my parents’ permission, I just told them I was going. We went down on a Friday afternoon. The next night, Chris and I went out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant, just the two of us. We ate our dinner, talked about my trip to London. The waiter came and asked, “will there be anything else?”
Chris said something like “if you’ll come back in a few minutes, we aren’t quite finished”. I said “we aren’t?” He said no, “I need to ask you something”. And then he pulled out THE ORIGINAL ENGAGEMENT RING, slipped out of the booth, knelt down beside me, and asked me to marry him! It was perfect and romantic and FINALLY, we were going to get married no matter what.
I’m going to ask Chris to help me scan some of our wedding photos, I’ll try to find older photos but back then most people didn’t just carry cameras around, so we don’t have many photos from when we were dating. But I’ll scan in what I can find so you can see how beautiful our wedding was. It was just short of EIGHT YEARS from our first falling in love to our wedding day, and now here we are, 23 years together and 15 years married, with three terrific kids, still in love and still sure that getting married was what we were meant to do.