I had suspected something might be up, but Mark completely surprised me by asking the minute I arrived in New Jersey. My Bolt bus was late, we had to reschedule dinner, the Newark train station was confusing, and then I couldn't find him on the train platform when I arrived. Once the crowd cleared and we met up I was ready to lug my bags off.
But then he said "Wait, I want to ask you something...do you like sacraments?"
Then in a moment that was both in slow motion and over too fast, he knelt down and asked if I would like to enter into the sacrament of matrimony with him. I dropped all my bags and managed to squeak out "Are you serious?!?!" and then "Yes, of course!" I proceeded to laugh uncontrollably in disbelief for the next five minutes as we ran to catch our dinner reservation. The next day we called our families, and then hosted a dinner party where we told most of The Betrothed's friends. (This engagement party had been cleverly disguised as a birthday party for me. Sneaky!)
The train platform was really the perfect spot. Not only are trains romantic locations in old movies, but this one is next door to his church. It's the same place where I spied him in the campus ministry center, waiting for me to get back from thesis research in New York. And it's pretty symbolic of our 2.5 year long-distance relationship, punctuated by trips up and down the eastern seaboard.
My ring is also perfect, which shows how well he knows me. The diamonds are from his grandmother's engagement ring, and he had the setting custom made based on a 1940s design he liked. I'd be a fool to reject a man who can invest such great material culture research.
Being engaged feels both normal and surreal at the same time. In many ways our relationship is the same it has always been, and yet we can finally speak of hopes and dreams that were under wraps until now. It's so great to talk openly about things from wedding readings to our future children to what kind of drapes we would buy for our home. So the past few days have been full of "OMG we're getting married," "future husband," "future wife," and of course, many recitations of this classic Seinfeld scene.