Through all of this process, I've learned that the decision to marry is so much more than a proposal. It's taken hours and hours and hours of conversations, tears, and experiences. We had a lot of those so my story will be less about the actual "popping the question" and have a few more of the actual decision when we decided together, "Yes, this is what we want."
So obviously Greg and I had been talking a lot about marriage. It was probably discussed every day for about 4 months before he actually got down on one knee. It's super sweet in retrospect, but Greg has always been very confident in our relationship. I would be the one who would bring up all the things that might be difficult and cry A LOT when we talked about the future. It was an odd process. It was like in my heart, I knew the first week I met Greg that I could marry him. But it took a bit to convince my mind that I was ready for this huge step and life altering decision. We started talking about the possibility of marriage on the 3 month anniversary of our first date. But didn't get super serious in our conversations until about 5 or 6 months along. I remember one day after we were talking about it, I said, "Ok, I think we just need to wait until next April until we have these conversations. There is no rush. Let's just enjoy what we have and then when we have hit a year of dating then we can talk about getting married." Greg said that was fine and we left it at that.
Well the next night when he came over, he said something to the affect of, "Just want to follow up on our discussion yesterday...You can take all the time you want. If you don't want to talk about our future together until next April or in 3 years, that's fine. We don't even have to say the "M" word. But I want you to know that I'm all in and I'm ready whenever you are."
It was the sweetest. And makes me tearful thinking back on it. For all the things I was nervous about and that I knew he was nervous about too, his confidence made me more confident and helped me feel secure about where we were going.
These conversations continued for the next couple of months. They always contained me sharing my fears and faith and lack of faith and also where religion and church and the temple fit into all of this and what it would mean to be sealed together forever under the authority of God. It's big stuff. And in our church, we believe that divorce is the absolute last resort and a temple marriage is the strongest bind we can ever make. So I had lots and lots of feelings and thoughts to share and work through with Greg about that.
There were two experiences I had in the weeks leading up to our engagement that really solidified everything I was feeling. The first was in Wyoming. Greg and I had gone up there for a trip with his friends to go rafting on the Snake River and dirt bike on the trails surrounding Jackson Hole. I had been a little nervous for the trip, but Greg took such good care of me. On one of our rides down the river, some of his friends wanted to get big air on the rapids. So they positioned our voyage down the perfect spot so that we would get big air (at "lunch counter" if you're familiar with the rapids. This is the spot where the tourist photographers wait to photograph people).
Well right as we hit the rapid, the entire right side of the raft fell out, which was me, Greg, and one other.
I got really scared.
My sister had a bad experience rafting once and she could have died, so I had a bit of anxiety about the whole thing.
And now I felt my self getting sucked under the boat and I kind of went into shock and just held on as much as I could. Especially because the second biggest rapid of the river was just moments after this one. But Greg held on to me the whole time. Even though I was nervous, I felt him holding me up and out of the water. He hoisted me up and got me back into the boat and then was the last one back in. We had a moment, and just hugged when we got back in. (Ha! Possibly awkward for the rest of the group on the raft!)
As we kept going, one of Greg's friends commented, "That was hilarious! Rebecca was just fine but Greg's head kept getting sucked under because he was using both of his arms to keep Rebecca's head out of the water. Rebecca was totally fine even though she was freaked out, but he just kept pushing her up."
And I had this big epiphany moment. Even when Greg could have drowned (well not really because we were wearing life jackets, but those rapids are dangerous), he was doing everything he possibly could to keep me safe. Luckily it wasn't a big deal and we ended up being fine. But it was a game-changer for me. I knew he loved me, I knew he cared so much about me, and now I also was for sure that he would always take care of me.
About a week later, Greg and I had rare night apart. He was picking his fantasy football team with his friends, so I listened to a talk tape that Sarah Jane had recommended. It was all about making decisions and committing to one person. It was really great and helped me feel really settled about everything. I was about finished with the tape when my sister, Melissa gave me a call. Her family had gone camping for the night but she had stayed home with the baby. She had a free night and was able to talk to me for hours (which in hindsight, I am eternally grateful for- so is Greg).
I walked all through the avenues in Salt Lake with my little ear buds in my phone. I explained a lot of the reasons I was scared and why I was holding back. I told her about Jackson Hole and well he took care of me. We talked about wedding planning and getting through the winter, how long we've dated, what our life would look like, so so so many details. And finally after listening to all of it, she said, "OK, if Greg asked you today if you would marry him and you had 3 seconds to respond, what would you say?"
I started laughing and said, "Well of course I would say yes."
She said, "Then why are we even talking about this? Go marry him already."
I came home. Thought a lot about it forever. Talked to Greg a bit about fantasy football and before I went to sleep, I knew I had made my decision.
So the next morning, I woke up around 5 am. I called Greg on FaceTime and we literally planned the whole wedding over FaceTime. We chose a date. I told him all the reasons I loved him and was ready to make this happen.
So technically, I feel like a proposal wasn't super necessary- but then again, it is.
At this point, we had already scheduled the temple, put a deposit on the venue, and scheduled the sealer. We had told all of our distant family members what the date would be, but we hadn't had the formal proposal.
We went ring shopping a little bit, but then he said that he wanted to pick out the ring. So I just tried to go on with our life, planning a wedding but not being engaged. I wanted to meet with the bishop so I could get a temple recommend. So I was literally on the phone scheduling the appointment (with Greg in the room) and I said, "Yeah, next Wednesday, that should be fine."
And then Greg starts doing an X with his arms and mouthing, "No, no. Wednesday won't work." So I scheduled the appointment for Sunday. After I hung up, I said,"What do we have happening on Wednesday?"
"Oh I was just thinking we could have like date night or whatever."
Ha! So lucky for me, I definitely knew it was coming.
On Tuesday night, I made a video journal entry about how this was my last night as a single woman and that I knew I would be engaged the next day. It was kind of nice to know in advance and have a moment to just really let go of my singlehood and the wonderful life I had led without having Greg be officially part of it.
Then Wednesday morning, I woke up far too early! I was so giddy with excitement. I tried on several different outfits and finally settled on something that I was really enjoying wearing but was a bit casual so I didn't seem like I knew he was going to pop the question. Then at work, I got a flower delivery! The note said "Here are some flowers just for fun. I love you! -Greg"
It was great! When I got home, I redid my makeup, and wrapped a little gift for Greg. He came over after work and kept texting on his phone! I tried to not be too bothered, because I figured it was for me. So we get in the car and he drives to Ichiban Sushi, where we had our first date. And outside of the restaurant across the street, my brother was waving. Ha! Just like he did right before our first date. We ordered the same sushi rolls that we had before and then got a fancy dessert sushi as well. We talked all about our first date and how much has changed since then.
Then we went back to my apartment. When we were right by the door, Greg gave me a kiss. And then reminded me that this is where he kissed me for the first time. I changed my shoes because he said we were going to go on a walk.
Next he drove up to a park in the upper Avenues. We had stopped here on our second date to drink Hatch hot chocolate (so delicious!) and check out the view of the valley. But when he parked, I knew we were going to talk about something else. He reminded me that this is where we were when we first said that we loved each other. We talked about all the things we had said that night and how excited we were that the other one had said I love you. I cried a little. Shocker. :)
Next, we drove back to my apartment and parked the truck. Then Greg said we were going to go on a little walk. We walked up the avenues, a route we had taken so many times before. We turned and started walking to this little patch of grass above Memory Park. We had been here a couple times and had lots of conversations on the grass here. We walked up just as the sun was setting.
We watched the sun set for a few moments, literally moments. This guy was ready to propose!
Then he turned to me and told me some of the reasons he loved me and a few other things that I truly can't remember because he was talking so fast and I knew he was getting nervous. Ha! Then he got down on one knee and popped the question! I, of course, said yes.
We had a moment. Me in tears, and wondering why he was talking so quickly. The ring was beautiful! Hammered gold band and a rough cut diamond in the center. It was very me.
Then I remembered that I didn't want to just say yes. I said, "Wait! Can you ask me again?"
So he did, smiling all long the way. And I said, "I am in favor of the proposition."
(When Greg asked me on our first date, he asked very formally. He said something like, "I've really enjoyed our conversation. Would you care to continue it over dinner together?" It felt very gentlemanly to me, so I said something like, "Why yes, I'm in favor of your proposition." It's become a joke now. It's the name of our chat book, our shared iPhoto album on our phones, and now that we live together, it's the name of our wifi network. :)
At this point, I started to notice that Greg kept looking away from the capitol. I thought, "What is going on over there?" Fun surprise! Greg's best friend, Mo, and his wife Ashley were in the bushes and had photographed the whole thing! It's been so fun to look at ALL of the pictures they took. There are so many, it could practically be a flip book.
They were the first to wish us congratulations and then took a bunch of fun pictures for us. Once they left, we sat back down and chatted about what this meant, where we were going. And of course, took a few selfies.
After chatting for a bit, Greg said we should probably head back to my apartment because my parents were waiting there to congratulate us. I started crying! I was so glad I could show them immediately and see them to tell them the good news. We got back, talked to them for a bit. I learned all the details about when Greg had gone to talk with them and what they said, and what he said. It was all really fun. They headed back home and we went inside. We Facetimed all of our family and texted a bunch of our friends. It was great! Finally when we had a moment to breathe, I told Greg I wanted to give him something.
I gave him this framed watercolor painting of the Mount Timpanogos temple. I wrote a note on the back about what this temple means to me, my history with it, and how excited I was to share it with him. I also got a copy of the print for myself that we put up in our rooms so that it would be somewhere we could both see while we were planning the wedding. I warned him that I might become a bridezilla in the next little bit, but that we need to remind each other what this is all about and how special it is that we get to be sealed in the temple together. And look how cute his little smile is?
The whole night was absolutely perfect. I loved being able to relive some of our most special moments while dating. I loved that it was just the two of us but that important people in our life came in at certain points. I'm so glad we had photos of the whole thing. But mostly, I'm so grateful he asked. It was an emotional journey coming to this decision but it was the best one I've ever made.
P.S. Here are a couple more pictures. The next day, when I came into work sweet Martha Mae had made a Congrats banner with post-it notes. She took this picture when all the ladies gathered around my office and wanted to hear all the details. The first moment I felt like a bride!