I would have NEVER thought that buying an engagement ring would be so complicated. I mean….expensive I can understand, but something I had to study?! Get out of here!
When Cristina and I started to really sit down and talk about marriage, (when/where/how) the engagement ring “topic” was something that came up on a daily basis. Actually, a few times a day if I remember correctly. I think it all started because I mentioned to Cristina “So babe….let’s say you were to get the engagement ring of your dreams….what would that look like?”
WARNING : Men! When women say that (Insert ANYthing here) is something they’ve “dreamed of since they were a little girl”, BELIEVE IT!
So the ring. No more than a day later – Cristina shows up to work with a packet of 50+ pages printed out about “How to find the best diamond”. Yea that’s right, I said diamond not ring, you can’t graduate to ring until you’ve learned the basics on how to find the right diamond. But don’t worry! There are plenty of low-interest rate loans for picking out diamonds!
I guess my point is that women are very complex….much more than we men can imagine. That’s not to say that we aren’t like that ourselves, but in general, when we want something – we go for it. So, being a man, even after we studied most of the engagement ring guide, I was still ready to go get the first one that I saw that I even half-way liked!
Cristina may be very complex, but within the depths of her being she is still very simple. After talking for a few weeks about different ring styles, # of diamonds, size and cost, she came to the conclusion that whatever it was it needed to be beautiful yet simple. Cristina is the Daughter of a King – and therefore deserved something beautiful….but we both knew that we had a budget. Also, in her heart-of-hearts, Cristina knew that she couldn’t desire something so expensive, for all she could think of was her missionary family in Honduras that could do so much with that kind of money.(This sensitivity and desire to be simple is one of the many things that I LOVE about my wife-to-be)
This was the one that I ended up getting. She loved it!
Once I had that complicated part of it out of the way, I had to come up with some way of proposing to her.
Cristina always nags me because she says that I don’t know how to surprise her….that I always end up getting to excited and giving the surprise away to her. So I was motivated to keep this one. I thought, “If I’m gonna successfully surprise her only ONCE in her life….this is gonna be it!”
A couple weeks before Christmas and we were finishing up a chastity/formation retreat with Corazon Puro out in New Jersey. I knew I wanted to propose that weekend and I was ready for every opportunity that could have presented itself…..
The last day of the retreat, I volunteered us to go help set up back in the Bronx for the big chastity commitment ceremony. Needless to say, Cristina was tired and not too happy about that….but I knew that this was my last chance to do it! I made a story up (I wasn’t lying…) about needing to go up to the chapel to intercede for all of the young people preparing to choose their chastity rings and to join the battle for their souls. After a little convincing, Cristina and I found ourselves in the very same small chapel that we had BOTH prayed in so many years before. (before we even knew each other)
While we were praying….I gently lifted Cristina up and whispered to her the very reasons why I would be honored and blessed to have her as my wife and to serve Our Lord together. I then got on my knees in genuflection towards the Tabernacle and then again to my beloved wife-to-be as I asked her hand in marriage.
As a man – this was the moment I had been waiting for! After fighting so many demons in and around me, I was finally at the castle, with the RING that I had to search so hard for (all of that studying was now worth it, I told myself!) – rescuing the one that I loved.
God’s timing is always better than our own! Because I never had an opportunity to ask her earlier that weekend, I was able to propose right before the young adults were returning to the Bronx to choose their own rings!
As the Holy Mass ended and Father Agustino placed a ring on each of the newly committed, he had a special announcement to make. “Not only did each of you receive a ring today that signifies the battle you are entering, but someone else here received a very special ring.” At that moment, with the Church packed with youth and parents, Cristina and I stepped up and announced that we were engaged.
With tears in her eyes, Cristina announced to all of the young women – “You CAN do it! It IS POSSIBLE and there ARE real men out there!” as if she was giving out this huge -sigh- of relief, like a racer who barely collapses at the end of the marathon.
Now begins the next stage of our courtship…..to help BREAK CHAINS of slavery from our pasts, and by being a TRUE man, playing a part of Cristina’s healing.
THIS is why we are writing this, and why we are even sharing our story. The plans of the Lord ARE real. Only in Him will we find true freedom from the slavery of this world.