Will you Marry Me?: My Courtship Story: Part 5

This post is part of a series. To start at the beginning, click here.

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Two days later, I was allowed to drive over to “Hunk’s” house for the first time (with a sister along) and when I go there we went for a walk around the block alone (his family was a bit more liberal than mine). I had explained to my Dad that it felt very awkward to not be able to touch at all, and he had approved of us holding hands and promised to give “Hunk” a call to give him permission to do so.

So we held hands as we walked, and I told “Hunk” about a dream I’d had where he had told me “well, this has been nice, but you’re not the one for me.” He replied with a shocked look “How could those words come out of my mouth!?” We walked in silence for a few moments, and then he said quietly “That’s actually one of my biggest fears, is that you will say ‘well, you’re smart and everything, but not what I’m looking for.” We spoke more about our fears of rejection, and then a bit about what we liked about each other. It started to get dark outside, and the moon rose with what looked like a rainbow hovering around it. I told him about my verse and “the time of the singing”, he smiled and said that he thought that the singing was here. We were reluctant to end our walk and head back into the house with the family, but eventually we did.

I was trying as hard as I could to not be afraid of letting down my walls, so I wanted to get the last few serious questions out of the way before I relaxed and let the relationship go wherever it was going to go. Before the week ended, I asked him about his sexual/relationship history (he had held hands with a girl he courted briefly the year before) and shared my own (Zip). I asked about sexual expectations in marriage. Then I asked if he had ever had any addictions, smoking, drugs, alcohol or pornography. Again, I think he was a bit shocked at my forwardness, but he was willing to answer as honestly as possible. By the end of that awkward conversation, I felt like we were on the same page.

******************************

Our parents asked about everything all the time, how was it going? What had we talked about? Were we being careful to maintain physical boundaries? And most of all, did we feel like this was going anywhere? It was most important to figure out if we were compatible for each other, there was no point to wasting time in this relationship if we weren’t going to get married.

We got together as much as we could, I was rarely allowed to drive his way, so he mostly came to my house, where we hung out in the corner of the living room and talked in whispers. Now that we were allowed, we were always holding hands. But hugs or kisses or anything else was still strictly off limits. So we would sit on the couch as closely together as possible without our bodies actually touching. I remember wanting so badly to touch his hair. There was so much emphasis on not being allowed to physically touch, it seemed like sparks should go off if our shoulders or arms brushed against each other.

There was a sense of urgency from both families, were we going to get married or not? We had to figure it out quickly before we gave away pieces of our hearts or (even worse) compromised our purity.

On the one hand, I was feeling more and more that I wanted to be with “Hunk”. He was the first person that had ever made feel as though I was beautiful. He was respectful, he listened to me without interrupting me or belittling what I said. He was a sincere Christian who took his faith seriously. He interacted well with children and adults, we never seemed to run out of stuff to talk about, and he had even survived several hour long discussions alone with my father! When I imagined being married and waking up in the morning I could picture him sleeping on the pillow next to me.

On the other hand, we hardly knew each other at all. We had met a year before, and interacted a bit more in the last few months, but was this enough to be sure about a lifetime together? He was going to be a minister, and my family had been “home churching” alone for most of my upbringing, would I be able to handle being a minister’s wife? He had finished his high school and bachelor’s degree early, and was heading into graduate school that fall; I had some sketchy home school high school. His family was reformed in theology, and mine was a weird patriarchal kind of Baptist with some Pentecostal flavour for good measure who refused to subscribe to any actual denomination.

Despite my questions (and the fact that we had been courting for less than 2 weeks) I could not imagine going back to my dreary life before “Hunk”. Every day, I looked forward to seeing him. The days we could not see each other dragged and seemed to last forever, and I wrote pages about him in my journal. I soaked up every little bit of attention, even the somewhat cheesy romantic moments. Like when he called me on the phone to tell me that the moon had a rainbow around it just like the first night we had held hands. Or when we sat on the couch together, and starting with “Once upon a time…” he told me the story of how we met. He told me that he loved my body, curves and all, that there was nothing about me that wasn’t beautiful to him. I could still hardly believe it, if felt too good to be true.

As I was pulling out of the driveway after one of our visits that week, he said “I love you”. I hesitated only a second before I said it back and then accelerated down the road in embarrassment, my heart thumping wildly.

***********************

Monday night was Greek class, and I had been looking forward to seeing him again the whole day, but that afternoon my Dad announced that he would not be able to go, therefore none of us were allowed to go. I pleaded for him to reconsider, but it was no use. I explained that I had been counting on Greek class to be able to see “Hunk” and he replied that I had just seen him the day before at church, that as my father he did not approve of my driving anywhere at night (which made no sense because I had driven at night before), and that I had been driving over to see “Hunk” too much anyways; if “Hunk” really wanted to see me that was his prerogative as the male in the relationship.

I was frustrated, (even shedding a few tears) but what could I do? “Rebelling” was out of the question in my mind, as a dutiful stay-at-home daughter, I resolved to “obey” cheerfully. I called “Hunk” to let him know that I was not allowed to attend Greek class. “Hunk” was frustrated on the phone, and to my surprise he called me back a few hours later to tell me that he had cancelled Greek class and was coming over to see me instead. My Dad smiled and said “I told you that if he really wanted to see you he would make it happen.”

**************************

Dad had left by the time “Hunk” walked in the door with a handful of wild flowers, and we spent the evening with my mom and siblings, eating dinner and having devotions. Then we sat close together on the couch. After awhile “Hunk” said he had something he wanted to read to me, he grabbed a bible off the table and read me “my verse”.

“Arise, my darling,
my beautiful one, come with me.
 See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
 Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come.”

As he closed the bible and knelt on the floor in front of me, I could hardly breath. All the background noises of children playing in the same room faded away, drowned out by the rushing in my ears.

He pulled out a box with the ring inside and said, “I love you, and I want to spend my life with you. Will you marry me?” It was 15 days after our courtship had begun. Part of me could not believe it was happening, I was afraid of saying yes… it was all so new, so much unknown.

And yet, I was more afraid to say no. “Hunk” was far more than I had ever imagined I would have, I loved being with him, and I could not imagine living day after day without him. Looking into each other’s eyes, we both knew that we were living on borrowed time. All it would take was a father’s disapproval or an argument between our parents for this to be over (or at the very least a whole lot more complicated) before we had a chance go any further.

I took a shaky breath, and shrieked “Yes!” and then since I was not allowed to kiss him, I plunged my fingers through his hair. After he slid the ring on my finger I asked him in a whisper if he had asked my Dad’s consent and he whispered back that he had called my Dad on the phone while on the drive over and asked permission, my Dad had given it.

I felt like I was walking on air, it was hard to stop giggling. I was engaged! To a tall gangly boy who wore his heart on his sleeve. And miraculously, it had somehow happened with my parent’s approval.

To be continued…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15864953064301451142 Arual

    Ahhhh! Don't leave us hanging for too long!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15454965172669677301 Bethany

    Aww… I love this series! I don't think I could ever, ever, ever get tired of hearing people's romance stories, and this is an incredibly sweet one. I hear you about living on borrowed time; my husband and I got engaged less than two months after starting to "pursue a relationship," and our friends found it both insane and unromantic. We didn't have the luxury of normalcy though, and the patriarchal weirdness did not make our relationship any less special. I'm looking forward to part 6!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08135229596877003069 Michelle

    Omgosh. I am in tears reading this. you are really just too precious. And wow! 15 days, huh? And wow…parents pushing for marriage or no? That is just too incredible to me.

    YOu are beautiful! I love your story and I feel like I love your husband the way you write here. What a wonderful story.

  • Anonymous

    So beautiful!!!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04799393593685552159 not a minx, a moron, or a parasite

    This is cheering me up on such a dreary morning!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Young Mom

    Bethany- I love to hear people’s romance stories too! All of them are so different, and yet they all involve taking the risk to love. We got our share of negative feedback, but as you said we didn’t really have the luxury of normalcy. My husband was already tired of dealing with all the rules in order to see me, he figured out “rights” would go up some if we were engaged. But like you said, despite the weirdness, it didn’t make our story less special.

    Michelle- Thank you! It was pretty crazy! But I love my story too, I feel like it’s a miracle that we ended up together and happy despite all the craziness.

    Not a minx- Glad to cheer you up. ;)

  • http://nowealthbutlife.com Rae

    I agree with everyone else. You make me want to cheer!

    "All it would take was a father’s disapproval or an argument between our parents for this to be over" This is the reason that I knew I would never follow conservative "courtship" rules. I saw friends utterly broken because their parents had fought and they were ordered to break off their relationships.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Young Mom

    Rae- We saw it too, and it's scary to think about just how much power we let our parents have. We wanted to please god, and that supposedly meant being obedient to parents. As the oldest children in our families, we were still trying to please our parents/god… none of our siblings went this route.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08135229596877003069 Michelle

    I came back and read this and it's very interesting your father's passive-aggressive attitude with not going to Greek class and his response to you. Kind of like he was testing to see what "Hunk" would do if you didn't go to Greek class.

    That is just crazy. As some people I know would say…that was very "female" of him. lol (hope that doesn't offend you…just a thought that came to mind re-reading that part of the story)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Young Mom

    Michelle- He was always doing controlling stuff like that, it wasn't really ever rational. I think that he was also trying to test me, to see if I would still obey him. I could see it looking rather "female" to be passive aggressive, it didn't always feel passive aggresive from him, because often those kinds of demands were made with a "You have to listen to me because I'm the man in your life and therefore your spiritual authority" tacked on, so it usually felt kind of threatening, like you were helpless to resist.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08135229596877003069 Michelle

    I can see that…passive-aggressive behavior is often a way that the P/A person maintains control. And I couldn't imagine having that be my situation. My mom tried stuff like that, but never really backed it up…so eventually it was always more a lack of respect rather than fear or respect she instilled. It's very interesting reading your perspective on this behavior.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Young Mom

    Michelle- I'd been punished enough times to know that if I decided to go anyways, it would have only resulted in my being banned from using the car at all, or limiting my chances to see my future husband even more. It was better to comply and hope for the best. The only other route was leaving home, which is what my sister did a few years later.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10742622244439034655 mphc

    Wow- this is really a great post! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03908825712538113936 Beth

    I can completely understand why it made sense to get engaged so fast with that kind of pressure all the time. I am curious to see if you guys get a little more space to get to know each other in your engagement…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09934795013862435614 Anna

    How lovely that a true spark of love survived all that parental heavy-handedness. Almost a miracle, as you describe it.

    I'm struck throughout your story by how corrupting the way of life you describe must be for your parents, especially your father. It's ironic that they were so obsessive about protecting their children from outside "corrupting" influences, but so blind to the corrupting, corrosive effects on their own souls of setting themselves up as the sole mediators of life and the universe to their children.

    I don't know anybody as extreme as that, but I do worry that my homeschooling friends sometimes fall into this blindness a bit too. They worry so much about the wickedness of the world that they often seem to forget that trying to be your child's world is wicked, too.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00793291964836599064 Maria

    I'm loving this story! Please don't make us wait too long for more :-)

  • http://articles.earthlingshandbook.org ‘Becca

    This is a great story! Thank you for telling it in so much detail. I particularly like the way you asked him so many thorough questions and knew he was the right guy not just because of how he answered but because he was willing to answer those questions. That's such a smart thing to do yet so unusual in our culture.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Young Mom

    Beth- I’ll be writing about that soon. : )

    Anna- I agree, it is corrupting. Parents being the sole mediators in every area of their children’s lives is damaging not only to the children, but also to the parents. I’ve often worried about siblings, but recently I’ve started to see what a huge burden my parents have created for themselves. For example, my Dad actually believes that as the head of the family he is the spiritual authority for the family. He represents god to them (which turns him into a dictator) but he also represents them to god, and supposedly god holds my dad accountable for his children’s faith and actions. What a burden!

    Maria- Thanks! : )

    ‘Becca- I was amazed by his complete openness, even about topics that could be considered touchy!

  • http://stmonicasbridge.wordpress.com Kristen @ St Monica’s Bridge

    Such a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing!

  • http://www.kathleenbasi.com Kathleen@so much to say

    I love the part about sparks flying between you not touching. What great writing.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04738076740941616678 Rebecca @ The Road Home

    I admit I have not read all of these posts – I feel like I want to devote the time they deserve to them and I find myself rushing through and you don't deserve that.

    But this – wow. I will be going back and reading every single word. This is so different from anything I've ever experienced – and yet so utterly beautiful in many ways. (Please don't misunderstand, I see the problems, but there is such good here too.)

  • http://www.ayoungmomsmusings.blogspot.com Young Mom

    Kathleen- Thank you! That means something coming from another writer. :)

    Rebecca- :) It was beautiful. We both took a huge leap of faith together, and it was worth it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10614023345056078325 Jam

    15 days… wow. If I had done that when I was younger and wanted to, my life would be a disaster right now.

    So glad it worked out for you though!


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