It was late afternoon and I had fallen asleep on the couch while he did chores. The plan was to go out to dinner. Our first official date since he had asked me to marry him. It hadn’t come as a surprise, the asking. We all knew it was going to happen after the bonfire, with all the friends and laughter…and the phone call the next day.
“Hi, where are you?” He said, without telling me who was calling.
I thought for a moment it was my brother and almost made a flippant remark about buying underclothes. I was, after all, standing in the lingerie section of Target. Just in time, I realized that there was no reason for my brother to be calling my phone when his wife was standing next to me with her own cell.
“Watertown,” I said instead. Something must have changed in my voice because two of my friends spun around and crowded in near me, trying to hear the voice on the other end. Both were mouthing, “Is it him?” with wide eyes. I nodded and waved them away. They didn’t move.
“I was calling to see if you wanted to go out for ice cream,” he said, disappointment lacing his voice.
“I’m sorry,” I said, and truly was, “I’ll take a rain check though.”
And that ice cream trip turned into a visit with friends that turned into dinner out and then another and another… eventually, after meeting his Pennsylvania cousins (an important development!) we stayed late at another bonfire and before driving me home, he asked me. I said yes. Well, I said, “For real?” then when he nodded, I said yes.
There wasn’t a ring and that was okay. I told him so. I knew he was trying to finish his house. Cash was short. I wasn’t worried. Who needs a ring? We were going to get married in three months and I’d rather have running water and electricity.
A month later I was sleeping on his couch, waiting for him. Something startled me and I blinked open my eyes. He was kneeling there, beside me. In his hand was a ring box, open to show a glittering diamond set in white gold.
“Will you marry me?” He asked again.
I cried. “You didn’t have to,” I whispered. I really didn’t mind not having one.
He lifted my chin, wiped my tears and said quietly, “You’re more precious than any diamond. This is but the tiniest expression of the honor I feel that you said yes to me.”
When he slid it on my finger, I knew that going through that month of engagement without a ring- suddenly made having one so much more beautiful.
Later we would laugh about how nervous he was in the jewelry store. How the lady who waited on him wouldn’t listen when he told her the size he needed, “That’s very small,” she said, “You wouldn’t want to be wrong. We’ll just get a bigger one.” And since he was starting to get hives from the nervousness, he took the bigger one, paid the money and ran.
We’d laugh about how I didn’t want to give it up to get it sized. So, I wore it with a ring-sizer that cut into my hand for three months.
And then there was the wedding banquet, with all the hundreds of people and [gasp] no cake or punch. Just ice cream sundaes.
Then the honeymoon through the Adirondacks [with detours into Vermont and Maine].
Then the coming home to our tiny little house that so few people believed was really a house. “You live in that shed?” they would ask. We laughed about that too.
And every day since that first time, way back on August 12, 2007, he has asked the same question.
Sometimes it’s in the morning with filters of the sunrise splintering through the curtains. Sometimes in the middle of chores or at lunchtime. Sometimes late in the evening as we snuggle on the couch. Sometimes just before I fall asleep.
He’s asked it in New York, in Pennsylvania, in Louisiana, in Maine, in Vermont, in every state from here to Oregon. He’s asked it in Haiti, in Miami, and in New York City. He’s asked in cars, in airplanes, on trains and in boats.
He says, “Will you marry me?”
And I say, “Yes, yes. A thousand times, yes.”
I am so thankful for the past four years of marriage that God has blessed us with. To read more about our story, go to Above Rubies.