On Becoming Engaged

So everyone’s been asking me when I’m going to blog about my engagement, and since Nick is taking his Sunday afternoon nap on the couch at my (via Jack and Serena) loft, I guess now’s as good a time as any.

Since I’ve gotten engaged I’ve been thinking that maybe you can tell a lot about a girl by people’s reactions to her engagement. For example, I’ve had many people tell me how excited they are to meet Nick, because they know that I have high standards and wouldn’t marry just anyone- guarded girl with high expectations and low tolerance for cheesy pick-up lines or petty come-ons?

I’ve also spent a significant amount of time staring at my left ring finger- which I never thought I’d do. It’s not so much because I like looking at the ring- though that’s part of it, because it is a beautiful ring- as it is the fact that I am wearing a ring on my left ring finger. For 28 years I’ve wondered whether I would wear a ring on this finger- sometimes longingly and sometimes just out of curiosity, being content with my life without it. Now I’ve got diamonds on my hand.

And let’s just talk about the diamonds for a minute.

I keep thinking that this piece of jewelry I’m wearing is probably worth more than I am. What a strange feeling.

I also keep wondering how my perceptions and feelings of this ring will change, grow, evolve over time.

Which leads us to the real issue- the one that is so much more significant and enduring than any diamond could ever be- and that is the thought of sharing my life with one man-Nicholas Scott Brennfoerder- for the rest of my life, and how my feelings about him will change, grow, evolve over time.

I’ve been having this recurrent thought that throughout my whole life I’ve never made an irreversible decision- at least not an important one. Big decisions- to take the job or not? To move to Missouri alone or not? To spend money on a plane ticket to visit a friend or not? To go to the University of Michigan or Grand Valley State? To start my Master’s right out of college or wait? To buy the practical Ford Focus or the SUV I’d prefer… Etc, etc- all seem—all are—so much smaller than this decision.

Marriage is irreversible. Yet, many marriages fail.

It’s funny how, in our culture, if I said “My marriage won’t fail” at this point, many of you would think I’m overconfident or naive. You may not say it, but you’d be thinking it. Statistically, our marriage has something like a 50% chance of lasting (although I heard that if you get married after 25 years of age, your chances of success raise to 75%).

But after the proposal by the creek in the snow on a cold winter night, the ring, the wedding planning, the wedding, the honeymoon- that’s what we’re left with, commitment to life together.

Once I asked Nick what part of the wedding he’s looking most forward to, and he said the vows. Suddenly my anticipation of wearing a white dress appear quite shallow.

He got it right.

I haven’t been a counselor very long, but I’ve been one long enough to know that marriage is: insert synonym for difficult here- strenuous, trying, painful, laborious, intricate, arduous, heavy, hard-won, etc.

But I have peace in going forward because I know that even though I fear the day that he doesn’t love me or I don’t love him, or he betrays me or I betray him, or I get lost in my work or he gets lost in his work, or we grow apart or we hurt each other- I also know we’re committed to God and to each other.

And even though I fear the struggles that will come, I can look forward to marrying Nick, because I trust his heart and I trust God’s.

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6 thoughts on “On Becoming Engaged

  1. I can’t BELIEVE I didn’t ask for the engagement story the other day!!! It’s like I’m not even a girl!! Next chat, I want the scoop.

  2. Love your honesty as usual. I love that you’re approaching marriage with a much more realistic (though slightly neurotic ;-)) view of it than most. If I’d have had some of your insights before marriage it would have made the first couple years a little easier. There are sooooo many wonderful blessings to come from your union with Mr. Brennfoerder and I can’t wait to see how you both will grow from it.

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