No, not me. My wonderful frequent Guest Blogger … Miss Casey soon-not-to-be Nordman!
On January 16th, on the Guthrie Endless Bridge in Minneapolis, fully exposed to the cold of a Minnesota winter, at approximately 7:53 pm, a handsome, hilarious, brilliant, blue-eyed masterpiece of a man got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes because, on top of all those dazzling qualities, he’s also my favorite human.
I know I’ve lost some of you. Some are in the middle of an eye roll so violent you may require an ophthalmologist’s attention. Some are already checking the freezer for Ben and Jerry’s. Some are plotting ways to send me hate mail for writing a post about being engaged on the Single Christian Girls blog. This is supposed to be a safe place!
First, let the record show I was asked to write this post, so we can all just calm down. Second, let it comfort you that you’re not alone. Third, if you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know I am not far removed from SCG life. I have some things to say, and I promise not one of them is, “SUCK IT, I WIN!” I also intend to keep the gushing to a minimum, but look at this man! Gushing is inevitable.
The day I am writing this post marks one month and one day of being engaged to the hottest software engineer/drummer you’ll ever meet, and I absolutely love wedding planning. I love spreadsheets. I love color coding. I love binders. Understandably, this is not everyone’s experience. Not everyone is a Type A poster child who spent twenty minutes at Target deciding between two planners. Not everyone is excited to plan a wedding because people go out of their way to confirm appointments with brides. I get that. But for me, wedding planning is pretty much the most fun I can have while still having to think about money. It also helps that my fiancé has Olympic status in the following events: calming me down, listening to my rants, and making things fun. (I know, the gushing. I’ll try to stifle ever so slightly.)
Wedding planning is easy for me. It’s fun for me. What isn’t easy? What isn’t fun?
Engagement. Engagement is neither easy nor fun for a grand majority of the time.
I was prepared for physical temptations to increase. That doesn’t make it simple to deny them, but at least I knew what we were in for. A light at the end of the proverbial tunnel makes not thinking about sex one iota easier and about 10,000,000 iotas more difficult. But, again, that’s the one I was ready for.
Engagement is the most emotionally taxing time I have experienced. Incandescent happiness is there, of course. The sheer joy of knowing I’m going to marry the best man I know is definitely present: the recognition of his presence in my life, much less his choosing me, as one of my highest blessings from God. But then it’s time for him to leave on a Saturday night. We’ve spent some time out for drinks and in watching Parks and Rec. We’ve spent some time on wedding stuff. It doesn’t feel like he should leave. It feels ridiculous that he should leave. Why? Because we’re a unit, dagnabbit. We just made 80 decisions for our wedding DJ’s must play and never play lists (should you be at our reception, please note there will be no Black Eyed Peas). We just discussed when we should look for apartments and rehashed my unwillingness to move to St. Paul. Ever. We had another conversation about paying off our student debt. And now he has to go back to where he lives right now, completely separate. It feels stupid, and it makes me sad and confused.
(If there happen to be men who read this, it’s okay that you don’t understand. Just be nice to your fiancée when you have one. If you’re a woman reading this who doesn’t understand, teach me your ways.)
The point I have reached, through several conversations, is this: It’s okay that I love my fiancé and want to spend time with him. We’d have other problems if I didn’t. It’s okay to feel tension between having to act as a married unit at times and not getting to act as one in all respects. This tension draws me to consider the fact that this is the current state of the Church. We’re redeemed, but not restored. We’re waiting for what the Bible describes as a wedding, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb – unity with Christ, everything made new! What’s more, God has appointed this time for a purpose. The Church has work to do. My fiancé and I have work to do. Actual planning, yes, and growth in love for and knowledge of God and each other. We’re going to learn things during engagement we couldn’t learn any other way.
Let me be clear here: this perspective does not automatically make it easier. It needs to affect my heart, though, and, however slowly, that change of heart will affect my emotional reactions.
I could’ve written a lot of things about engagement, like how life doesn’t stop like you thought it should (the day after I got a ring on my finger, my front passenger tire exploded on 35W), or like how expensive weddings are no matter how big of a cheapskate the bride is. But this is the most important word I have for you, SCG: Engagement isn’t the end-all be-all. It’s really hard. Marriage will solve two of these problems and create 53 of its own. I haven’t arrived. I’ve barely begun. But I get to walk through engagement and marriage with Jesus and my favorite human, and the only thing I can expect for certain is immeasurably more than I could imagine.