My boyfriend and I had been talking marriage for a while now, but he still managed to totally surprise me when he proposed.
We were visiting New York City for my friend’s baby shower, and since he had never been, he insisted that we do some typical New York touristy stuff: walk through Central Park, ride the subway, see a Broadway show (Book of Mormon, and it was f-cking awesome!!!), and visit the top of the Empire State Building.
The day we did that last one, he insisted on taking his computer bag “just in case.” Luckily he has enough of a love affair with his Apple products that I didn’t suspect anything else, like, say, that he needed a safe way to carry a ring to the top of one of New York’s most famous buildings.
(Also, a word of advice to anyone visiting the Empire State Building: do NOT go on their Imax SkyRide. It’s overpriced, useless, and will make you motion sick).
Once we reached the observatory, I couldn’t understand why he was acting nervous and wasn’t actually looking at any views, especially considering how much he had been talking about the Empire State Building as the main thing he wanted to do…
Until he pulled a tell-tale box out of his pocket and got down on one knee. (Awwwww.)
I hugged him and kissed him, and of course said, “Yes!” Some nearby tourists offered to take our picture (and I decided to post it here instead of using a stock photo on this post).
One of the things that makes this moment so special is that it didn’t just happen through luck or “fate.” I believe that I have actively chosen him and created this. I really don’t know if I ever would have gotten there without putting some conscious effort into making changes and learning new things when it comes to relationships. It feels good to know that it resulted in an amazing relationship with an amazing man–and an amazing proposal!
Anyway, funny thing about the word “engaged”: it has multiple meanings, all of which are pretty appropriate when it comes to entering into marriage.
1) To be engaged is to be attracted to someone (eg. she’s very engaged with him). Not just a physical or sexual attraction, but attracted to someone’s nature, their being.
Well, I think it goes without saying that you need to be attracted to the person you’re going to marry.
2) Engaged also means to become involved with something (eg. he’s very engaged with his tennis game right now). Another way to think of this is to be present. Presence goes much deeper than attention.
Presence means you are focused on them, only them, in that moment. Obviously you can’t do that every minute of a marriage (or any relationship!) but I believe that becoming engaged means that you are promising to actually be engaged with them and who they are. And who you two are as you grow together.
3) Engaged has another meaning–and I didn’t know this one until now, but this is definitely appropriate too! Engaged also means to enter into conflict with.
Wait, what does conflict have to do with marriage?
Ok, all joking aside, when you become engaged (with or without a ring and official ceremony) in the right relationship, you are indeed agreeing to enter into conflict with them.
Your perfect match is perfectly designed to push your buttons and bring up your deepest stuff for healing. And vice versa–you’ll be stumbling into those land mines even with the best of intentions.
(A great book that goes into detail about how this works is Getting the Love You Want, by Dr. Hendrix–and get the 20th anniversary edition!)
In other words, getting engaged is so much more than a romantic story (though, seriously, top of the Empire State Building–he did good ) or a pretty ring (though he did pretty damn good with that one too). And it’s not just deciding to get married.
Getting engaged TO each other is really deciding to stay engaged WITH each other. It’s deciding to (continue to) attract each other, be present with each other, fight with each other, and love each other.