Five years ago today Nathan asked if I’d marry him. We came home from college for Pumpkin Festival weekend to see family and friends (our hometown’s annual fall festival). We took the train from Chicago on a Friday night, and we stopped at the Morton high school football game to watch the marching band perform their halftime show. Nathan was on their drum line back in the day, and the band was a huge part of his life. We caught up with some friends there and enjoyed the crisp air and nostalgia of home.
I remember people being a little weird around me. I thought maybe I looked funny, or I had done something odd, because people kept whispering to Nathan and giving me looks. After the game, we left for his parents’ house.
As we pulled into the driveway, there stood our families and close friends holding lit pumpkins that read “Megan, will you marry me?” carved into them.
Oh my gosh, I was so surprised!
When I get emotionally overwhelmed, I tend to shut down externally. So I remember kind of blanking out as I got out of the car and watched Nathan get down on one knee with a ring in hand. I remember I barely whispered a yes, and then hardly contained my excitement the rest of the night.
(Oh! While we were dating, we had decided we wouldn’t kiss on the lips until we were engaged. Apparently Nathan expected our first kiss would be right after I said “Yes” that evening, but I was waaaayyy too embarrassed for that. Today I’m just embarrassed at how spiritually mature we thought that decision was for us! Haha! We were so young!)
People had made pumpkin pie and lots of coffee, and we celebrated with our family and friends. It was all the things I love, and people I love, in one room together. It was wonderful. So perfectly us.
Later in the evening, when everyone had gone home or gone to bed and it was just Nathan and I, I asked about the ring he chose for me. He told me he had designed it himself. When I asked how he knew I’d like it, he said “I just thought about who you are, and then tried to replicate that in a ring.”
WHAT. You guys. He completely captured it. I’ll always remember his intentionality and thoughtfulness when I look at it, which makes it even more beautiful to me.
I’m sure we’ll feel this way five years from now, but we look back at who we were then and think, “We were just babies.” We had no idea who we were, or what we were doing in life. Our ideals of marriage, our careers, our goals, and our personalities all feel so different now.
At the time, I was in Moody Bible Institute’s English as a Second Language Program, and Nathan was studying to become a pastor.
We still had two years of college left (which turned into 2.5). That fall Nathan would decide he didn’t enjoy the full-time student on-campus life, and switched to an online program and finished early, while also taking a part-time job in Moody Radio. This became a full-time job not long after, and ultimately led him into what he’s doing today.
In a few months I’d decide I didn’t enjoy teaching like I thought I would, and I would switch to a counseling program that would set me on a journey of healing and personal growth.
Engagement was hard. Moody had strict rules about how ladies and guys could interact, so we were never alone together on campus. I remember one specific rule about being fined for kissing on campus. So we’d walk the streets of Chicago almost every night to have time together, even when it was 10 degrees outside in the winter. We traveled home almost every other weekend that year just so we could spend time together.
Planning a wedding while in school was not one of my strengths, and I regret some of the choices we made because we were still a bit immature, and/or because we had never planned a wedding before and had no idea what we were doing. Even so, our wedding day was one of the best of my life.
I pulled out our marriage vows a few years ago, and we realized that even our theology of marriage has changed. I know some people take these vows so seriously, hanging on every word, but I believe that marriage isn’t built on a day, and I’m so grateful for the journey God has taken us on in these five years. The words we’ve spoken to each other since that day are just as important as the ones we spoke in front of our friends and family in our wedding.
We got married young – at 19 and 20 – but without a doubt it was the right time for us. We needed each other then, and God has used our marriage to grow us.
I hope that in another five years we’ll look back to today and think, “We were just babies when we got engaged!” because that means we’ve been growing and changing still. I pray that never stops.