Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How I Got Engaged...

Soon I'll be wearing heels and walking down an aisle to the man of my dreams. I'll make a lifelong covenant, change into some sparkly toms, and dance the night away with my friends. I want to gush about the cutesie story of how my amazing FIANCE (still getting used to that) proposed to me. But I think the most important thing I need to share is all that God's done to get us to this point. Because, believe me, it's taken a lot.

First of all, you need to know that my prince didn't want to buy me just any ring. He selected the perfect, sparkler to embellish my ring finger. And diamonds aren't cheap. We've been dating for 4 years and we've wanted to get married for, well, awhile. This time last year Philip was completely broke. My badgering, and his diligence led him to apply for job after job, but he got no offers. God was putting His foot down--we weren't ready. This year Philip got a job in the dining hall. We were thrilled! He would work 15 hours a week and get paid minimum wage--or so we thought. When he got his first pay check, we realized he was actually getting paid about $11 an hour. It turns out that if you have work study, a form of financial aide, you get paid more. That was God's first miracle. His second and third came in the form of two random checks that Philip received from the University for lofty sums of money (which he wouldn't disclose to me, he has kept his bank account hidden from me throughout this whole process). Philip later told me that if it weren't for those checks, he flat wouldn't have had enough time to save up the rest of the money he needed in order for us to get married this summer.

The next barrier God pushed through was my parents. When my step dad first met Philip, he wasn't a fan. We kind of set ourselves up for failure--our first date we were out til 3 in the morning, and my dead cell phone battery kept my parents from reaching me to find out where I was. (It was completely innocent, we just were enjoying getting to know each other, more about that later.) Slowly, two of my favorite men bonded over hunting, and their love for me. Now, Tony is almost more excited than I am about the upcoming wedding. You should have heard him when he first found out we were getting married, "You need to call John to find out about weddings at Ross Point, I can roast a pig for dinner, you should get the cakes from Costco..." The other thing is that my parents were semi-anti-young-marriage. I never thought they would approve of me getting married while I'm still in college. Yet now, they say we are mature enough. That where we are in our relationship makes us ready. And that it will even help us financially.

Philip will concur that another barrier to us getting married this summer was--ME! I know, what am I crazy? I remember talking on the phone with Philip while he was in Ocean city on summer project, just after I returned from Costa Rica on summer project. He was talking about us getting married this coming summer, which at this point, was very hypothetical. Here is my laundry list of reasons why I thought we shouldn't: no one will want to be friends with us if we're married and in college (they'll be like "we can't relate to you, you're allowed to have sex"), we won't be able to afford being married and being financially independent, everyone is against it, it just makes sense to wait until we graduate, everyone else waits until after they graduate. Philip responded, "I think you just like to divide your life into sections. And you put marriage in your after-graduation section. You should pray about it." My reaction was "I don't want to pray about it." He was so right. It's easier for me to wait on things if I section them off. I can say, I'm not technically waiting because I'm not even in that season of life yet, so it's not even on my radar. I don't know how that man reads my mind sometimes. But I prayed about it, and felt God say "You need to have this on your radar, it will be good for you to wait. Trust me." When Phil returned from the O.C. everything was different. We realized why getting married was the next step for us. He was an authentic man, I was an authentic woman. We both spent time with God consistently, because we wanted to not out of obligation. We were others-centered (for the most part). We knew each other well enough to know we are compatible. Then when I got back to school, I talked to a spiritual leader that I respect more than anyone (except Philip)--Jocelyn Larsen. I explained to her why we felt ready for this next step. To my surprise, her advice was "Get married as soon as possible." I wasn't sure if that was from God, but I knew that if God could use one person to convince me this was a good idea, it was Jocelyn. Sorry Phil, but I knew you were a little biased.

This doesn't even scratch the surface of all the work God's done in us as individuals and as a couple. The past four years have included hardship and growth. We spent unhealthy amounts of time together, and no time with other people as freshman. We broke up for a month. We have struggled with purity for a lot of our relationship. Since then, we learned how to rely on God rather than looking to each other for fulfillment.  We understand the importance of other friendships in our lives.  Our hearts of changed towards purity, and we are on our way to having a completely pure engagement (pray for us about that!).  Philip learned how to be a leader, and I learned how to be a follower. Since we both come from divorced families, it's amazing that people from our backgrounds could have a healthy relationship. And God's not finished with us yet. When we got engaged Philip said, "We are going to do some damage for the Kingdom of God!" Considering all that God's done in us already, I believe it.

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