We left the restaurant and rode home in her Jeep together. Alone for the first time. She was wearing an engagement ring and she asked me how old I was, my middle name, if I had siblings. I was a little shocked at how little she knew about me and yet had said yes. A very trusting person with a heart of gold. I am a very lucky guy.
The next few days were interesting. Nathan moved up to my grandparent’s guest room (they live on the same property with my parents, just 1/4 mile away) but spent all of his time down at our house.
The day after I said yes was our first disagreement, and my first glimpse into marital compromising! We called Nathan’s parents so I could “meet” them. Until now, he and I had only been talking about us. Getting to know eachother, etc. Remember we’ve been engaged (or betrothed, depending on who you asked) for less than a day! As we talked to his parents they asked about a wedding date. Oh. Yeah. Maybe we should pick one. I said “well I’ve always wanted a Christmas wedding. With white lights, poinsettias, and snow!” Nathan and his parents said “Christmas is just a day… and that’s 11 months away!” That was a good point. None of us wanted an 11 month engagement! But I had a hard time letting go of the Christmas wedding idea. Nathan’s only real opinion on the issue was something like “the sooner the better.” Eventually we settled on September 13th. 8 months and 3 days away. Let the countdown begin!
Our parents were planning some sort of dinner for us that coming Friday night. I think they called it a betrothal dinner. They invited all of our family from around the state to join us for a big dinner at my parent’s house. I can’t remember which parent requested it, but they asked that we not hold hands until then.
Nathan and I went ring shopping a couple of times that week. He had just graduated from ALERT, had not begun working yet, and had a very tight budget. He told me how much he had to spend, and we began hunting… each time dragging one of my little siblings along with us! At one point, a beautiful sparkle caught my eye. We looked at the ring, then I saw the price tag and quickly handed it back. NOT in the budget! Moving on! But Nathan saw. As we left that store he said “oh hang on! I want that guy’s business card for later. Be right back!” He ran back into the store, returning in less than a minute. I was discouraged. I had really hoped to have a real ring on by Friday night. Oh well.
Friday night rolled around, and dinner was wonderful! My mom has a knack for making meals perfect. Candles, tablecloths, the whole 9 yards. Over the course of the dinner, we told our story. Much of my family thought this was insane. Engaged to a total stranger. But they listened sweetly anyway! After we finished telling the story, my parents gave us a box that Peter and Jamie (Nathan’s parents) had ordered. In it was a silver cup, engraved with our names. My dad read aloud an e-mail they had sent as well. It was all very sweet.
After the cup, my dad giving Nathan my hand, and a precious prayer over the two of us, it was official. We were betrothed.
Shortly after all of that, I noticed that Nathan was missing. Maybe he’s hyper-ventilating in a corner somewhere? Or maybe he freaked out and is on his way back to Texas? I asked Kimberly if she knew where he went. Either she’s a better liar than I thought, or she was as clueless as me. A few minutes later, there was a knock at the front door. When it opened, there was Nathan. With one of our horses. He held his hand out to me, then lifted me up onto the horse!
We rode off into the darkness. I had no idea what was going on, but I loved that Nathan had planned something. We rode up to the top of a hill, then Nathan hopped down and stood in front of me. He said something about being honored that I agreed to be his wife, and excited to start our lives together. Then he slid the plastic ring off my finger and replaced with something much heavier. I strained to see what it was, but MAN was it ever dark out there! I couldn’t see a thing. I knew Nathan had a flashlight (we weren’t sure how Jed, our sweet horse, would do riding in the dark) but he wouldn’t let me have it! He got a kick out of torturing me all the way home. But as soon as I got inside, I saw it. THE RING! Nathan went back and got the one that caught my eye. That’s when I knew. He’s a sweet one. 🙂