Here I sit, less than two months until I get married.
that there is no segue from my Harem posts to today's post about my
engagement to Michelle. Yes, I am getting married. I've found the love
of my life. Quite a departure from the depressing tales of woe regarding
my past love life. I look back at those as lessons I had to learn in
order to be ready for Michelle.
I feel much happier
now, like my life is finally coming together. Yet I also feel truly
terrified. I have no idea what's going to happen. I have underlying
insecurities about my ability to be a good husband, provider,
servant-leader and possible father. I don't have a good track record of
acting like a mature adult.
But I am not going to back
out. I am in love with my fiancee. I know that there will be many
difficulties, but I know that Michelle and I, with the help from God,
family and friends, will be able to work through them and create a
marriage that will last.
But that's not what I wanted to write about. I wanted to tell the story about how I proposed to Michelle.
proposed to her on our one-year anniversary from when we first met. We
had gotten in contact with each other through eHarmony. I had subscribed
to the online dating service but found myself striking out with my
potential matches, so I had decided not to renew my subscription.
However, I had misjudged when my renewal date was, so when I went to
cancel the service, I found that it had already renewed itself. I was
stuck with eHarmony for another two months. Less than a week later I got
a notification from one of my potential matches; it was called an
"icebreaker". Her name was Michelle from Hudson, Massachusetts.
had a really cute smile and I liked what she had written in her
profile. I decided to take a chance on her. It doesn't sound very
romantic, but that's the nature of the thing. eHarmony is not in the
least bit romantic. You're sitting in front of a computer looking at
little profile pics, sifting through a plethora of potential matches,
all the while wondering if you had made a mistake subscribing to an
online dating service. The romance comes later (if you're lucky). But at
this point you're doubting yourself and wondering if anyone will find
you interesting enough to say hi. At least I was.
was saying, I decided to take a chance with this cute girl from Hudson,
MA. We went through the stages of communication. We started talking via
the eHarmony messaging. Eventually we exchanged number and talked on the
phone. We enjoyed communicating. The first thing I noticed about her
was her young voice, which to this day I still find myself enamored by.
on March 19, 2011 we met for the first time face to face. We decided to
meet for our first date at the Outback Steakhouse in Lowell, MA. It was
a good halfway point for both of us. Not very romantic, but that's not
what we were going for. It was a Saturday night and very busy. There was
about a twenty minute wait, so we stood in the front door and chatted
while we waited to be seated.
After dinner we went next door to the movie theatre and saw The Fighter
starring Mark Wahlberg. I will admit that I was disappointed with
myself because I didn't do much planning. I wish our first date had been
more imaginative than just dinner and a movie. But this was mid-March
and it was still rather cold outside, so we couldn't really go anywhere
to chat some more and neither of us knew Lowell that well.
fast-forward a bit, about eight months. Our new relationship is going
great. We talk on the phone almost every night. We see each other about
twice a week. Our love for each other is growing stronger. It's right
about here--I don't know exactly when--that I decide that this is the
woman I'm going to marry.
We had been casually talking
about the idea of marriage. In fact, we had barely been dating three
months when we first started talking about it. Let me tell you, I
freaked out. It was the first time I had ever talked with a girlfriend
about getting married. This was not some shallow discussion about our
hopes and dreams for the future. No, we were talking about marriage like
it was actually a possibility between us. It really threw me for a loop
and I panicked. My head was spinning. I had to stop the conversation
right there because this was not something I had been prepared for.
After that we rarely brought up the subject of marriage because Michelle
knew that I would get scared.
Now it's about eight
months into the relationship and I am sure that I want to marry this
amazing and beautiful woman. I start thinking about matters such as how
I'm going to propose, how much it will cost me, when I'm going to do it,
if I should get down on one knee, etc. But it was slow going at first. I
had to muster up the courage, even to do simple things like look at
prices of rings. Eventually I did look online at prices, sometime in
early December 2011, just to see how much money I would need to save up
for. I didn't do much else for a while.
and went, but there was no ring on Michelle's finger. I think she was
hoping that I would give her one but was doubtful that it would actually
happen. She had kept hinting that her finger looked rather bare. At
that point we had had a few discussions about marriage without me having
heart palpitations. She knew I wasn't ready, but she was hoping I would
surprise her. Not this time. But I was plotting.
trying to come up with the perfect way to propose. That's what we guys
try to do. We like to make big gestures of love, and none is as big as
the proposal because it's on his terms. Marriage is big, but it's about
the bride and groom. Or it's about just the bride. When a guy proposes,
it is up to him to do all the planning and to make it a surprise if
possible. Creativity is a plus. Or sometimes publicity works, too, like
the proposals you see at basketball games.
I wanted to come up with some creative way to pop the question, kinda like the ones you sometimes see on America's Funniest Home Videos.
I thought of a plan to hide the ring in a letterbox, so when Michelle
opened up the box, the ring would be inside with a stamp that said "Will
you marry me?" But she's not into letterboxing as much as I am, so it
would seem rather self-serving to propose that way.
thought of a plan to propose while mini-golfing. I would have an
accomplice, someone Michelle hasn't met before, to help me out. I would
give him the ring and he would play one hole ahead of us. At some point
he would put the ring in the hole and then move on. Then when Michelle
would reach into the hole to get her ball, she would see the ring. Then I
would get down on one knee and propose to her right there. But the
problem is that I would have to wait for the golf courses to open up in
May, and I didn't want to wait that long. (The long-distance
relationship was getting to me at that point.) Besides, to propose to
her in that fashion just wasn't me. In my mind it sounded really cheesy.
I needed to do it in my own way.
I had an idea.
time in early January I decided that it was time to look at prices for
rings again, but this time I would look at them in person. I went down
to the mall to browse the jewelry stores just to find out prices, not to
actually buy anything. On the way I got a call from Michelle, and she
asked me what I was doing. I didn't want to tell her my mission because
it was supposed to be a secret. I said that I was going down to the mall
because I was bored and hadn't been there in a while; I wanted to see
what it looked like now. Well, as I walked in the mall entrance I got a
text from her saying, "I'm a simple girl. I don't want anything fancy.
I couldn't believe it! How did she know?
How could she have possibly known that I was going to look at engagement
rings? I was so tempted to turn around, get in my car, go home and look
at rings when she wasn't suspecting anything. But I ventured forth and
continued on with my mission. After I left the mall I called her and
told her that I was at the mall looking for the newest Optimus Prime
toy. Yes, it was a blatant lie. I had to try to make her as unsuspecting
as possible. She didn't buy it for a second.
back to the jewelry stores in early February to look at engagement rings
again. I had more of an idea what I was looking for this time. Michelle
didn't call, which is a good thing because I would've had to tell her
another lie. I didn't buy a ring this time, but I went back a few days
later and walked out with the ring I was going to give to her.
Michelle and I had been planning a small vacation in March to celebrate
our one-year anniversary. We decided to visit the Berkshires for a
weekend. We would drive out there, do some sight-seeing, visit the
Norman Rockwell Museum, visit Stockbridge and do some shopping at the
premium outlets in Lee. Then we would get home on Sunday the 18th. Since
the 19th is the actual day of our anniversary, we decided that we
should also go out to eat at the Outback Steakhouse in Lowell where we
In Michelle's mind, the weekend in the
Berkshires was the big celebration. She really thought that I was going
to propose to her there. We had been openly and boldly talking about
marriage and even wedding plans. We talked about details such as cake
design and where we would like to go on our honeymoon. She was expecting
to come home with a ring on her finger.
In my mind, however, the big celebration was our actual anniversary, and I had something special planned.
the way home, I could sense that she was a little disappointed that she
was not a bride-to-be. Up until then, I had resigned myself to the fact
that she knew I was going to propose on our anniversary. She knew I had
been looking at rings. I had been talking about marriage without
fainting. Our anniversary was coming up. I had spent time alone with her
dad. Everything added up. She was positive it was going to happen.
it didn't happen, and I could tell she was feeling disappointed. She
thought I was ready. I realized that this was my last opportunity to
make the impending proposal as much of a surprise as possible. So I told
her one last blatant lie. As I was driving, I said to her, "Michelle, I
know that you were hoping I would propose to you this weekend. You have
been very patient. But please bear with me. I'm getting there." Little
did she know that I already had the ring!
The next day
we had to go back to work. I almost had to skip our dinner because I was
originally scheduled to work that evening. Thankfully one of my
co-workers came to my rescue and agreed to switch shifts with me. She
knew about the proposal and what a big deal it was. I don't know what I
would have done if I had to skip our anniversary dinner.
night, we met at the Outback Steakhouse, the same place we had first
met one year earlier. Like I said, Michelle thought that our weekend in
the Berkshires was the big anniversary celebration. This dinner was just
a nice little get-together to end the celebration. No big deal.
Afterwards we'd just go home and call each other the next day.
this point, I was a nervous wreck. I was about to propose to my
girlfriend. Everything was about to change. To me, this was a huge deal.
Even at work everyone could tell I was freaking out. Only a select few
knew the reason. Everyone else was wondering why their happy-go-lucky
supervisor had this terrified look on his face. Because I was terrified.
Even though I knew Michelle's answer would be yes. In fact, months
prior, she had told me that if I proposed to her right then and there,
she would say yes.
Nonetheless, I was nervous. All
throughout the dinner I barely looked at her. I tried desperately to
make eye contact, but I couldn't sustain it. I kept looking everywhere
else. She could tell something was wrong.
After I paid
the check, she asked me what I wanted to do next. I froze. I didn't know
what to say. I knew that if I said anything I would blow it. So I
decided to take the plunge and go ahead with the plan.
I said to her, "So here we are. It's been a heck of a year, hasn't it?"
She thought to herself, Are we really going to have this conversation again?
When we were in the Berkshires, we had a nice conversation about our
relationship and how much we loved each other. She thought that I would
propose to her then, but I didn't. Why were we discussing this again?
She decided to go with it, anyway.
"Yes, it has."
I go into this whole spiel about how great our relationship is and how
much closer we've grown and how much I love her and so on. And all the
while she's just politely smiling and agreeing with everything I say.
Then I take a breath and say, "All that being said, however, I have to tell you something. I don't want to date you anymore."
After a couple seconds she says, "Okay," as if waiting for the point.
"I want to marry you."
Then I reach into my jacket and pull out the ring.
She blurts out, "Are you freakin' kidding me?!"
I ask her, "Will you marry me?"
was about to get down on one knee, but Michelle frantically waved her
arms begging me not to. We were in a crowded restaurant with waitresses
walking by and a table full of hooligans next to us. She didn't want me
to cause a scene. I sat back down.
She put the ring on her finger. Finally she said, "Yes, yes, yes!"
sharing a few kisses and loving words, we went outside where she called
her best friend. After that we went to her parents' house where they
had a cake waiting for us. For the rest of the evening I could barely
talk to her because she was on the phone with all of her family and
friends telling them the good news. I made a few calls, myself.
that's the story of how I popped the question. I did it in a way that
was one hundred percent me. I am a bit of a smart-ass, so I had to do it
in that style. It was nothing elaborate, nothing terribly creative, and
nothing public. But for me, it was perfect. It couldn't have happened
any other way.
#_______ Lives Matter
1 year ago