Countdown to 10! – The Proposal

This year marks the 10th anniversary of my wedding to W. As part of the celebration, I will be documenting our relationship from the proposal up to the wedding, and each year up to our 10th anniversary. Enjoy!

I got engaged during the pre-social media age, before Facebook, Twitter, Flash Mobs, surprise engagement-weddings and love story photo shoots became popular. (The picture above is the actual wedding ring as we don’t have nice pictures of the engagement one.) W resolved that there was no challenge or feat he would willingly execute to complete the simple task of asking me to marry him. Stubborn to the point of insanity, he adamantly refused to include in his plans the traditional approach to popping the question and warned me that he had already seen THE gemstone ring, if he ever decided to get hitched to me. 😉 A woman is more precious than a Ruby according to the Bible, and Sunny from General Hospital, which was good enough for me.

I was pleasantly stunned by the trillion cut Tanzanite beauty he brought back from his family’s summer vacation in St Maarten shortly after that discussion. (No they are not rich, but they have a time share. 😎). The stone had a purple-blue hue and was set in a simple white gold band that became an excellent conversation piece as soon as I started showing it off. Once they saw it, and got the “Tanzanite was made popular by Tiffany’s because it is one of the rarest gemstone in the world story”, the rest of the exchange went like this:

Person: “Sooo, is that an engagement ring?
Me: Yes!
Them: How did he propose?
Me: He didn’t. Another guy did! (Laughing, to diffuse confusion.)

I kid you not!! Here’s how it went down. W was standing in our apartment’s kitchen, talking to our friends “the only other Boricuas at work” when one of them asked if we were going to get married. Nonchalantly, W goes into his room, grabs the box with the prized object, and tosses it in my direction. Before I could open it, between the laughter and awkwardness of the moment, my friend, codename “The Reverend”, yanked it from my hands and admonishes in Spanish: “¡No, así no es! (That is NOT how you do it!)”. The Rev then got on one knee, between us, and told the mortified future groom to take notes. He turned back to me, opened the box and said: “Love of his life, Queen of his heart, will you do me the honor of marrying – sternly glares back at W – him?”

Priceless!

You have to admit that was a very bold move for a man who stood to gain or lose everything with my answer. Obviously the gambit paid off because even with the off the wall proposal his place was in the right heart. I was bitter for a while about it, especially since a year later friends were getting engaged by doing these opulent, majestic, and well documented grand gestures but he got me to appreciate his misguided intentions. All we have is this story that has somehow managed to become endearing and sweet as time passed by. We had been together 4 years already and had just moved 3,000 miles away from home to start a life together. The ring was just a formality.

Our love is old, as in we started dating after the turn of the 21rst century. We had met in 1999 and had been friends for two years, frenemies at times because he was arrogant and pedantic to the point the group gave him the nickname “whiny bitch”. It may read as horrible and mean but he has owned it and surpassed our expectations with his incessant whining and winging. This flaw was also his best asset as his complaints always had a bit of damning truth to them. He was very sincere when, after our second date, he declared he could see himself being married to me. As difficult and stubborn as I make him appear, I am 2x as much to him and a bag of chips. What others saw as constant bickering and animosity turned out to be just us finding our way towards each other. In time we became a unit; a team and unhappily happily ever after epic love story. 💏

Him boarding that 767 to the cold PNW was the real defining moment in our relationship, not the proposal. When he left Puerto Rico and his family behind he did so on a leap of faith, with less than a 50% chance we would make it as a couple based on divorce rates and relationship failures in our inner circles. Even after 4 years of spending every waking moment with me studying to graduate from mechanical engineering, and after consulting him during my decision to accept a job in a microbrewery heaven – beer is his thing – he had major reservations. No matter how much he loved me he was never fully certain he wanted to be so far away from all he knew. Stateside, he feared an uncertain future were he could end up alone and broken hearted. The stakes were high for both of us. Not an easy choice, at 23-24, to tie your fate to another.

I’m glad he trusted me enough to move, find a full time job and apply to a master’s program later that year, adulting progress that didn’t quite dispel his apprehension. I think he felt guilty or like he had failed somehow because he couldn’t afford to take a chance on an over the top proposal since he was unemployed when he made his choice to start a family with me. He had purchased the engagement ring with the last of his internship and contract work savings, a grander gesture than all the ones that came after and before it. During that botched proposal all he had to offer was his love, and devilish charm, which he has been using to get in and out of my good graces every since we say hello for the first time.

And to think the adults in the room thought we weren’t going to last…

Stay tuned for the next chapter, ” The Wedding Planning Trilogy: Engagement, Year One. 👰🤵

Cover photo credit Camille Fonz y su Fotografía

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