Fall semester ushered in my senior year and Brent's 4th year in the architecture program (a five year program). This would be a critical year for both of us as we wrapped up our education and prepared for graduation. I was bogged down with deadlines and senior seminar, Brent was logging crazy hours in studio working on design projects.
Over the course of the last year-and-a-half, the landscape of our relationship had drastically changed. We went from friends, to dating, to talking about marriage. We came home from school more often to see each other and were really tired of being apart. The question of marriage no longer being an issue, we now tackled the decision of WHEN to get married. Do we wait until both of us graduate? Do we get married after I graduate and then move to Manhattan, KS until Brent finished? Do we wait altogether until graduation AND jobs?
We decided waiting just wasn't an option. We would get married the summer after I graduated. The sooner we were together, the better. We weren't engaged yet. We wanted to do it the right way, which meant saving money, asking parents for permission and the planning of a romantic surprise...all of which fell on Brent's shoulders.
I have to admit. I don't really envy guys when it comes to the proposal process. Rings are pricey, dad's are brutal, and then you have to plan the moment to remember. I would say those are all stress-worthy events. Add on top of that crazy architecture hours and you have the ingredients for an ulcer.
Brent was a man on a mission. He played "Mr. Sneaky" and went to Kansas City one weekend to talk to my dad. They had a heart to heart, and Brent layed out everything for my dad regarding his intentions. By the end of the conversation, my dad had given Brent his blessing. One element down, two to go.
Next, Brent did a little shopping. He enlisted my mom's help and together they picked out the perfect ring on a modest budget. One piece left.
Planning "The Moment". I have to give my guy a lot of credit. He is king of planning romantic moments. He's resourceful, sentimental, and does his homework. This time his plan was to create a moment neither of us would ever forget, using pieces and memories from our courtship.
He spent weekends in his grandpa's workshop building a box from wood that would hold mementos from our courtship and 'the ring'. He enlisted my parents help in getting me to come home for the weekend under the premise of 'yearly family portrait time' so he could surprise me.
Saturday arrived, and I spent the morning with my family, posing and experiencing the pain and torture otherwise known as family picture time. Everyone in coordinating outfits, posing in fall foliage, sitting on logs, and smiling until our cheeks hurt. Never been a fan. STILL not a fan. But that's what counseling is for, so I won't bore you with those details.
After family torture...I mean...family picture time, Brent and I had agreed to meet up later that evening. He picked me up and suggested we head to our favorite park near the Plaza area.
It was a perfect fall evening, so we decided to take a walk. Brent grabbed a blanket from his car and we walked until we scouted out the perfect tree. We spread out the blanket and it was then that I noticed Brent had a wooden box the size of a large encyclopedia in his hand beneath the blanket. I looked at him and said, "Where'd you get that?!" He smiled and said "It's for you." I laughed and placed the box in my lap.
I lifted the lid of the box and noticed that on the underside, he had engraved our initials by hand. The box was filled with all kinds of items that reminded us of our courtship. Favorite books, church bulletins from events we had attended together, packs of gum, toilet paper (um...can you guess what THAT was supposed to remind me of?) pages from his journal while he was praying about our relationship and more.
Inside the box was a story. A story Brent wrote about a man searching for the woman God had created just for him. And with that story and this reading, he proposed:
'His love for her soon sends him to his knees. "God, I am completely in love with one of your children. She is the love of my life and I want to spend the rest of my life with her. Test my heart oh God; show me your will. She is the most beautiful of your creation and I want to serve her in any way you allow. And if it is your will, unite us in marriage." '
Brent continued reading, and by the end of the story, there was no question in my mind what he was going to ask. He got down on one knee, with tears in his eyes and asked, "Nik, will you be my wife?" I looked down and in a small cut out in the bottom of the box there was the ring.
This was the moment I had prayed for and searched God for. Blindly praying years before for a future husband I didn't know, and trusting God that there was someone he had created just for me. And through my tears I said, "Yes."
To be continued...