A little over a year ago, my husband (who was then my boyfriend) asked me to marry him.
It wasn’t a surprise, and that for some reason is very disappointing to a great many girls. I personally would’ve found it jarring to be completely surprised that the man I was dating actually wanted to marry me. When we were courting initially, we spent a lot of time getting to know each other through letters and weekly Skype chats (which sometimes lasted 6 hours…). We agreed that we would continue getting to know each other in a this-could-be-romantic sort of way until it appeared obvious marriage was not part of the plan. It was a very cautious acquaintance-with-romantic-intentions period of our lives.
It never seemed like there was some great “sign” that, yes, this was the man I was supposed to marry. But there were no great signs that he wasn’t, either. The more we got to know each other, the more we loved each other and realised that life wouldn’t be the same without the other. He was set on marrying me long before I was convinced I felt the same for him, but eventually, carefully, I saw that it could happen.
About a year and a half ago, he took a job that was mostly overseas since he was working on a cruise ship for 7 months. It was miserable for both of us. We could talk on the phone once every four-five days (I got up at 6AM my time so that I would be awake whenever he approached land and could call me. We would talk until 8:15 when I had to leave for work, and then again around 2 until he would no longer be within range of cell phone service. (The afternoon calls were curtailed when I picked up my second job, but luckily that was with just a month and half more of that monotony to go.) It was a deeply frustrating time for both of us, hardly talking except through occasional phone calls, letters that he could send/receive only the days we spoke on the phone (when he was on land in the US), and rare e-mails/Skype calls when he was in a foreign country and we could sync our schedules. We got into a lot of fights.
Through the misery of distance, though, we both experienced that can’t-live-without-the-other feeling, and we both felt like the relationship would be running in place if it didn’t move forward once we had the opportunity. If we didn’t get married, he would’ve taken another contract to make money, and that would’ve put our relationship on hold, at the very least. Long-distance relationships are exhausting and we couldn’t handle doing it anymore.
So to pass the time for both of us, we started planning our wedding before he even came home. We had originally thought about getting married in autumn, but we changed our minds and decided the Paschal season would be much better. The wedding–which happened just a few months later, as is fairly typical with Orthodox Christian engagements–was at least half planned by the time he proposed (just a couple of days after returning from overseas), and it all seemed just perfect to me.
I completely expected his proposal on the very day he did it and that didn’t bother me one bit. It was wonderful, it was sweet, and it was memorable. It was exactly what I wanted.
So here we are, a little more than a year later. Using that milestone as a marker, there has been so much that has happened in the past year. There has been a lot of disappointment, heartbreak, and sorrow–but there has also been a great deal of joy. I am convinced more and more every day that I married the right man. Especially through the journey of joy and tears with our little one on the way, I have seen just how well suited we are for one another.
I am definitely thankful for that every day.