Hallie Lord, aka Betty Beguiles, is hosting a round up of engagement stories today. Her post inspired me to share mine, too!
Eric and I began dating in college and did so for two years before he popped the question in October of 1999. We were both working and paying our own way through school and, when we finally did marry, we knew that we would be combining debts, not assets. We epitomized the stereotypical "poor college students" with our dates consisting of renting a $0.49 movie from the combined change that we scraped up from the seat cushions in our cars to watch after eating a dinner of mac & cheese.
We also knew that we would marry long before we were officially engaged and talked about it often. We made all kinds of plans for the future: lots of kids, Eric starting his own engineering company, me staying home with the children once they started to come, big vegetable gardens, getting debt free as fast as we could.
Eric used to tease me about all the extraordinary ways that he had come up with how he would propose. Supposedly, he had so many great ideas that he was having a hard time choosing which one to go with. "I leaning toward Plan C at the moment," he would tell me. "I just thought of the most amazing Plan J, you won't believe it!" he'd say a few weeks later. By the time he finally proposed, I think he had gotten all the way to Plan Q, at least that is what he claimed.
By our senior year, there was only one obstacle to us officially getting engaged: the ring. Eric wanted to get me a ring, but it couldn't be any ring, it had to be one that he thought was worthy of me. He went shopping and found exactly what he was looking for, but the price tag left him distraught. There was no way he could afford it.
I could tell he was really struggling with the whole ring thing, so we had a long talk about it. We already had a mountain of debt and we really did not want to add to it. The debt was an obstacle to me being able to stay home once we started having children and my being home with the kids was top priority for both of us. The engagement ring no longer seemed like such a wonderful thing to either one of us; it was a burden and was in the way of us being able to fulfill our vocation. So, I told him I didn't want a ring. A wedding band is much more precious to me than an engagement ring, anyway, as it is the symbol of our sacrament. We moved forward with our lives and I have never regretted not having an engagement ring.
I don't know which plan he finally went with, but Eric choose to go simple with the proposal, which suited both of us. We were sitting down to eat dinner together before dashing off to teach RCIA classes at church later that evening. We held hands as Eric led the prayer, first asking the Lord to bless the food and then he asked for a special blessing on the two of us as we were beginning our lives together; he concluded by asking me to marry him. Yep, he proposed with a prayer. And it was perfect. Except we were so excited and busy calling family to tell them the good news that we never did get to eat that dinner. My tummy happily rumbled all through RCIA that night.
We were married 5 months later when he slipped a simple gold band on my finger -- that I absolutely love -- and I slipped a matching one on his. We've been married for 11 blessed years and I wouldn't change a minute of our lives together.