I wanted to title this “How To Propose in 4 Easy Steps,” but I decided not to.
Do you really think you can propose in 4 easy steps?
Good, because I don’t either.
But, there are steps that need to be taken; important steps I needed to take before getting engaged.
Sarah and I got engaged on the shore of Lake Michigan at sunset. The moment was perfect, more beautiful than any poet could pen or picture could prove.
We dated for 6 months in college, broke-up, moved on, and four years later I called her up to break the silence. And by calling her up, I mean I sent her a message on Facebook.
I led with an honest apology and conversation began to roll just like it had four years ago. The spark was still there. Our conversation was natural and easy, just like before. As we talked we quickly began to see how everything was different, yet nothing had changed.
prepare yourself for awesome
As our relationship was being rekindled I continued to tell Sarah to “prepare yourself for awesome.” It sounded smooth at the time and so I continued to say it. After all, I believed it to be true.
I wasn’t only telling her, I was telling myself. You see, we weren’t dating just to date, but we were dating to get married. Yes, this is something your youth leader probably told you 10 years ago
And so I began to prepare myself for awesome
Each day I pray for our relationship. Praying for her might be the most important and loving thing I could do. I brought what was most important before God, earnestly asking Him to guide and strengthen us.
Relationships are beautiful and weird and intricate, so why wouldn’t I bring this before the One who created us to be? God not only hears our prayers, but responds to them.
honesty + vulnerability
Being honest and vulnerable isn’t supposed to be comfortable and it certainly wasn’t, but it is the foundation for every lasting relationship. In order for this to happen, we had to drop the act and be real with each other. I stopped presenting a made up version of myself and allowed her to see me for who I was.
We spoke openly about our struggles, fears, and hopes. Being honest and vulnerable not only strengthened our relationship, but grew us drastically.
And all of this was motivated by willingness.
It is no surprise that relationships take work. And it shouldn’t be a surprise to hear relationships are motivated by willingness.
Willingness to pray.
Willingness to be honest and vulnerable.
Willingness to ask for forgiveness and to forgive.
Willingness to faithfully commit even before saying ‘I do’.
Willingness to ask for help and do the hard things.
And certainly a willingness to love at all times.
We were preparing for awesome and had been talking about marriage for months. Even though we had been talking about it, I still hadn’t gotten on one knee. Maybe I was over-thinking the biggest decision of my life. But how would I know when I was ready to ask her to marry me?
Before I could propose, I needed truth spoken into my life.
I turned to a mentor of mine, someone who knows me well.
“Jeff, how will I know when I am ready to propose?” I asked.
“Does she want to marry you?”
“Yeah, I really think she does.” I said with confidence and fear.
“And do you want to marry her?” he asked.
“Yes. More than anything.”
“Well, there you go.”
Three months later, after having asked her parents for permission, I was on one knee asking her to spend the rest of forever with me.
We were starting something awesome together.