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Tag: engagement

Pre Engagement Question #5 – Can you talk about marriage? (Guest Post on Devotional Diva)


If you popped over from Devotional Diva, welcome!

This past year, Renee Johnson Fisher and I have bonded, from halfway across the country, over writing for Start Marriage Right, getting married about six months apart and having conniptions over Debi Pearl’s book “Created To Be His Helpmeet.” So when she asked me to write a guest post for her blog, where you may know her best as the “Devotional Diva,” I jumped at the chance. When she asked me to write about pre-engagement questions, though, I thought I might have to jump ship. Joel and I didn’t ask a lot of questions pre-engagement, which you can read more about in the post.

Then my friend Shannon, with whom I also have bonded this past year over writing for Start Marriage Right, pointed me to this video by Francis Chan (embedded at the end of the post). And I’m pretty sure a light bulb visibly appeared over my head as I was listening to it: The most important questions weren’t the ones Joel and I hadn’t asked each other. It was the one we had asked ourselves — and God. It was, as Chan said whether we could “do this better, if you can please God better and reflect Him better … as a married person.”

If you read anything I ever have or ever will write about marriage, I hope it’s this post. Because this is what I want you to know: There’s something bigger. It’s not about you or him or the ring or the dress or wedding or your special and wonderful and incredible love story. It’s about God.

Our pastor asked my now-husband and I an important question at our first premarital counseling session.

“When did you first start to talk about marriage?”

And, we answered honestly, we really hadn’t talked about marriage in the two years we had dated until Joel gave me a ring.

Not unless you count the time he asked, hypothetically and completely without context, how many kids I wanted to have someday. Or the time he asked, generally, what kind of “jewelry” I liked.

Of course, we hadn’t talked about dating until after we had been friends more than a year and he snuck his hand across the couch to mine and said he thought we should go on a date. (I said I thought it was about time.)

This is not generally what pastors like to hear, I take it.

For the rest of the story, read Pre Engagement Question #5 – Can you talk about marriage? (Guest Post on Devotional Diva).

Read all posts in Renee Johnson Fisher’s “Pre Engagement Questions” series here. (Also, sign up for her email newsletter for a free download of her new eBook, also titled “Pre Engagement Questions.”)

Photo credit: Thrive Photography, Renee Johnson Fisher.

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#McMillion Wedding: Designing our own wedding rings

I’m on my way to Ocean City, Md., via New York City today for my friend Kara’s bachelorette party weekend. But the new series continues, because once you hit this age, it’s pretty much all weddings, all the time.

Joel and I will be married a year this month. It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. At the same time, I can’t believe we’ve condensed everything that’s happened since into 365 days — not even! Needless to say, I’ve been thinking about all those things, all those other things we’ve learned and the party that started it all. And while the marriage part is the most important (and I have the privilege of sharing some of that now on Start Marriage Right), I thought I would share a little bit of the wedding part here this month.

Enjoy the wedding. Love the marriage.

When Joel and I started premarital counseling at our church, one of the first questions our pastor asked was when did we start to talk about getting married?

We never did; not until Joel proposed. We had never talked about dating either; not until Joel asked me out. Those probably should have been red flags, like the fact Joel was unemployed when we started dating or that, a month or two after that, I started totaling cars with abandon. But when I met Joel, God told me I would marry him, and I just believed if that was God’s plan, that would happen. I wasn’t too worried about it.

The closest we came to talking about getting married was when Joel asked me what kind of “jewelry” I liked. Joel knew what kind of jewelry I liked. He’d made me earrings and necklaces from old Elgin watch pieces and oyster shells and bottle caps and thick, thrift store chains. I was pretty sure he wanted to know what kind of engagement rings I liked. I told him I liked The Tiffany Setting. Not THE Tiffany Setting. But, you know, an engagement ring that looked like an engagement ring.

That was in January or February, more than a year after we had started dating. By summer, I was starting to think I had REALLY misjudged the question. By my birthday in early September, I was starting to make jabs about how much Joel likes to TAKE HIS TIME.

Actually, he was working on it. Literally, working on it with a client of his who is a jewelry designer. We’re incredibly blessed our friends are such tremendously talented people — musicians, photographers, designers, florists, confectioners, bakers, jewelers. We tried to show them off as much as possible at our wedding. He’d taken a picture of The Tiffany Setting and a picture of a paisley (I love paisley!) to Alicja at Morrison Galleries in Geneva, Ill., and asked how they could make a ring out of that.

The answer was a half-carat diamond set between two paisleys carved into white gold (see Joel’s cell phone photo at the end of this post). If you see it from the top, it looks like a simple solitaire; from the side, the two paisleys peek over top of my wedding band.

Our wedding bands, too, were designed by Alicja at Morrison Galleries. Mine is a simple band with a dotted border on either side of an etched paisley pattern. Joel’s is brushed so it’s not as shiny, with a similar dotted border.

Wedding rings inherently are meaningful, “a sign of the vows by which this man and this woman have bound themselves to each other; through Jesus Christ our Lord,” according to the Book of Common Prayer. But it really meant a lot to me that my husband put that much thought into the “jewelry” I might like (and that he knew me well enough to be RIGHT!).

The other jewelry I wore on my wedding day was equally meaningful: The cross necklace my mom had worn on her wedding day (something borrowed), my great-grandmother’s wedding band (something old; also, engraved inside was the date she married my great-grandfather in Chicago: May 22!) and a pair of earrings my then-roommate and bridesmaid Kristin bought for me at Kohl’s amid an I-can’t-find-any-earrings-for-my-wedding freakout. Joel even wore his great-grandfather’s pocket watch.

Rings: Morrison Galleries, Geneva, Ill.

Read all posts in the “#McMillion Wedding” series here.

Photo credit: All wedding photos by the incomparable Shauna Bittle. Squiggles divider by IROCKSOWHAT.

#McMillion Wedding: The Proposal of the Universe, Sept. 19, 2010

I was at a stamping party (yes, I said “stamping party”) at my in-laws’ when another young woman stopped me: “You’re the girl from the book!” “The book” is the wedding photo album I’d made my husband’s and my parents for Christmas using Shutterfly. Evidently, it had been circulating around the party before I’d arrived.

“If I get married someday, I want my wedding to look just like yours!” she said.

I took that as a pretty high compliment, particularly since I planned the whole thing in less than a year and back before we had Pinterest. As in last year.

That’s right: Joel and I will be married a year this month.

It doesn’t feel like its been that long. At the same time, I can’t believe we’ve condensed everything that’s happened since into 365 days — not even! Needless to say, I’ve been thinking about all those things, all those other things we’ve learned and the party that started it all.

And while the marriage part is the most important (and I have the privilege of sharing some of that now on Start Marriage Right), I thought I would share a little bit of the wedding part here this month (inspired by Come On, Ilene‘s wedding series). Just in case you might want your wedding to look just like ours, too. And just so I have an excuse to pin wedding-y things like everybody else.

But first things first…

Proposal stories never make sense. I realize this. They always are long and rambling, full of inside jokes, narrated by someone too excited about the whole thing to actually make sense while describing it.

That’s why I’m giving you an “out” — both a long version and a short version. Or you just can look at the pictures and make up a story to go with them.

Long story, short

The whole proposal was well-attended by the the police, the Zodiac Killer, the saints and that guy who had a really hard time parallel-parking his car on the streets of Chicago. After all that, I said yes.

The long story

At first, I couldn’t understand why Joel was so insistent about going on a date to see a crappy Michael Cera movie at the dollar theater. Although, “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” turned out to be pretty good. And Coast Sushi Bar afterward was really, really good. But when he suggested afterward that we go for a walk… down by Lake Michigan… and have dessert… Then I knew where this was going. He was recreating our first two dates. (Two years ago, the crappy Michael Cera movie was “Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist.”) He was about to propose.

And then I got nervous.

It’s a long drive from Bucktown to Belmont Harbor, and the closer we got, the more nervous I got. Another car pulled in behind us when we stopped at the park. No one got out, and we couldn’t see who was inside. Which made me not just nervous, but completely freaked out.

“I think it’s the Zodiac Killer,” I said.

“I think it’s the police,” he said.

To make the long story shorter, I made Joel go talk to the Zodiac Killer, who turned out to be the police after all and who kicked us out of the park, which was closing. Which meant we had to think of another scenic locale for our… uh, “picnic.”

We ended up at St. Hedwig Catholic Church, not far from Joel’s apartment. And within seconds of setting up our picnic beneath the statue of St. Hedwig, he dug the ring out of his backpack and asked me to marry him. No long speech. No one knee. No big deal.

After all that, I said yes.

For the rest of our official engagement photos, see our “Chigagement” album on Shutterfly. For photos taken immediately after Joel’s proposal, see our “Proposal of the Universe” album.

Photo credit: “Chigagement” photos by the incomparable Shauna Bittle.