I always dreamed about having the perfect engagement story.
Long before I ever had a girlfriend, I wanted my future fiancé to be able to recount a magical tale – an elaborately orchestrated scenario which led to me on one knee asking her to get married.
At times I envisioned there would be rented-out movie theaters, trips to far-off destinations, family members flown in from across the country. Fireworks, flowers, farm animals – all were involved in various scenarios over the years.
Of course, I could never settle on the perfect engagement setup. I couldn’t afford it. I couldn’t find the time to make it happen. I couldn’t make it just right.
Last year I knew I had found the girl I wanted to marry. After years of dating around, I was ready to take the plunge and pop the question.
But I could not get over the crippling fear of finding the perfect engagement story. So I kept putting off the proposal.
In my head I could not propose to my girlfriend until I could create the greatest proposal of all time.
Then, right around Thanksgiving, something clicked.
My girlfriend and I were about to spend yet another holiday together as just another dating couple. And if I kept putting off the proposal, we would spend Christmas as just boyfriend and girlfriend again.
I was tired of this. I was ready to be able to say that we would never have to spend another holiday as just boyfriend and girlfriend.
So I bought the ring.
I didn’t know how I would pop the question. I had the frame of an idea, but nothing nearing a perfect engagement plan. And for the first time in my life, this did not matter.
All that mattered was getting to say I would get to spend the rest of my life with the person I loved most.
No longer did I feel the need to come up with a perfect engagement story. The perfect engagement story was a figment of my imagination, an obstacle I created to put off doing the thing I needed to do.
She pulled a book off the shelf and opened it to find the ring. I asked the question, she said yes, and we celebrated with our families who had been waiting in the wings to watch the reaction.
It wasn’t the perfect ring, or the perfect engagement.
Just like I’m not the perfect man, and she’s not the perfect woman.
But it was a ring, and it was an engagement, and it was with the woman I loved. That was what mattered.
The struggle for perfection is an invention of fear. It is an excuse we put before ourselves to keep us from doing the things we are afraid of that matter most.
Today, March 11 2014, marks 2 years since I asked my fiancé to be my girlfriend. In just a few months we will walk down the aisle and be wedded together forever.
Our life won’t be perfect together. There will happiness. There will be sadness. There will be anger and frustration and joy and celebration.
As the band Dawes puts it in one of our favorite songs, marriage is a little bit of everything.
The point is we get to share those times together now. We get to go on this amazing adventure, and it’s not in our imaginations anymore.
I’d much rather have an imperfect engagement story in reality than a perfect engagement story in my imagination.
There is no engagement story I could have made up better than the story we will get to tell with our lives as we finally get to enter our marriage together.
Happy Anniversary, Kate. Thanks for being patient with me.