For Better or Worse…

by | Sep 1, 2010 | Every Day Life

As I write this it is July 17, 2010. Twenty-six years ago, on July 17, 1984, my husband asked me to marry him. It was a Wednesday evening and we were watching the sunset on Clearwater Beach, Florida. It was definitely not the typical marriage proposal.
Let me set the scene for you.
We had been to church earlier in the evening, and when church was finished everyone decided to go the movies. Donald didn’t want to go; I did. He wanted to go to the beach and watch the sunset – something we did all the time. Needless to say, we had a little tiff. Of course, I had no idea he had an engagement ring in his pocket. He was so intent on going to the beach that I reluctantly told my girlfriends, “I have to go with him.”
Once at the beach Donald grabed the blanket and we began to walk to a quite, less populated area. I had developed a slight, loving sarcastic attitude – yes, there is such a thing. Remember all our friends were at the movies and I thought we should be too.

It was a beautiful sunset and after we had beencuddlingandtalkingforashortbita family with small children walked by. Donald looked at me and said very seriously, “I want you to be the mother of my children.”
For a moment the funny sarcastic part of my brain went into overdrive. Remember he said, “I want you to be the mother of my children” not “Will you marry me?” So did he just want me to be his “baby momma” or was this a marriage proposal? Oh, all the funny one-liners running through my head, but I opted for the more serious tone of the moment as I saw him pull the diamond ring out of his pocket. Yep, he wanted me to marry him, not just breed with him.
I, of course, said yes, but as you can see I have added the funny side of the story to every retelling of, “So how did your husband propose?” It fits perfectly with that loving- sarcastic attitude of mine.
Like all newly-engaged girls, I wanted to rush and tell my friends and family that I would be getting married. That, too, has a little twist to it.
You see, by the time Donald asked me to marry him, it was engagement number three for me. I wasn’t exactly the runaway bride – I was the young girl in love with being in love.
Fiancée number one was a fellow student at the University of South Carolina. It lasted all of five months.
Fiancée number two was a seminary student I had know all of my life. He was five years older than me and from a well- established Florida family. I picked out the diamond for my ring. Let’s just say it was amazing. That engagement lasted four months. (Yes, I gave the ring back.)

So, imagine with me if you will. It has only been eight months since the end of my last engagement and I am excitedly running into the house announcing, “I am engaged!”
To say the news was met with very little enthusiasm is an understatement. On the phone with one of my cousins, I was informed that several family members who were present said they would get excited when I was actually walking down the aisle.
Now remember, I have a crazy sense of humor so I actually thought that was funny.

My dear husband-to-be did not! He took a lot of teasing that evening about my past history with engagements, and even though he knew all of the details, he later confessed hearing everyone talk about it made him a little anxious.
As they say, the third time is a charm and this one stuck – for better or worse.
Now to make the story even better, my dear husband-to-be was unemployed at the time of his proposal. My poor mother who had just lost her husband — my daddy — the year before was now faced with the prospect of a son-in-law with no job. Just what every mother-of-the-bride wants to say when her friends and relatives ask, “What does he do?”“Oh, he is unemployed at this time.” Lovely conversation, isn’t it?

It didn’t help matters that it took until October 13th — my 21st birthday — for him to find what would be considered a respectable job. But this is one of those ‘be careful what you ask for,’ because the job was in New York – Long Island, New York.
Not only had this 26-year-old unemployed ex-navy sailor asked my dear mother’s 20-year-old daughter to marry him, but now he was announcing on her 21st birthday that he was taking her to New York! This did not sit well at all.

My mom very quickly decided this was not the man for me. My dear momma thought I was marrying a deadbeat that was going to take me far away and force me to live in poverty. Fortunately, my husband’s fears and my mother’s fears were both unfounded. I did actually walk down the aisle on Dec. 29, 1984.
And my husband has turned out to be anything but a deadbeat. He has provided me with an amazing and comfortable life.
The real twist to this story is we now all joke that my mother likes Donald better than she likes me. I can understand that. Thanks, honey, for all the great stories.

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