In London, we had dinner with a group of young married American couples who made up about half of the active population of our ward. Someone told the story of how they got engaged –it involved a scavenger hunt around Utah Valley — and other couples picked up the theme, telling of the elaborately romantic gestures involved in popping the proverbial question. There were horses and orchestras and airplanes involved in these stories, with weeks of planning and a fair amount of money. I mean, how cheap can it be to rent a suit of armor?
Someone asked how we got engaged, and my wife laughed. I told them the story.
We were at H’s apartment on a Monday night watching The Matrix on TV. During a commercial, H was in the kitchen, and as I saw her through the door, I said, ‘Hey, we should get married.’
And she agreed.
There’s a little more to the story. We had known each other for almost two years — I had been her home teacher — but we had only been dating for six weeks. We had become very fond of each other, but I had not expected to become attached to someone in Finland, and she had not expected to become attached to someone who was not from Finland. I had accepted a job in London and would leave the country within a month. I knew that I wanted to be with her, but I wasn’t sure if marrying in those circumstances would be fair to her — she’d leave her country, her family, her career, really the whole shot. I had spent the day before fasting about what to do.
I wasn’t really focused on the movie — I hadn’t received an answer to my prayers, and I was weighing pros and cons, working out how we could maintain relationship in different countries and how soon I could get back to Finland without destroying my career. And then, during the commercial, as I saw her in another room, I suddenly knew I should do everything I could to stay with her, and that we could make each other happy. It was an epiphany, a flash of spiritual truth.
And so, in that first moment of knowing, I called to her and said, ‘Hey, we should get married.’ I explained how I felt, and she explained how she felt. And she agreed that we should get married. And so we were engaged.
That was five years ago today. You can have your arranged meals, your blindfolded romps, your big-screen proposals at the basketball game — I like our engagement narrative. It embodies those elements of our relationship I still value most — emotional clarity, spontaneous matter-of-factness, and a desire to act upon that which feels right.