Below is the recount from my now-fiance about the proposal:
(Editor’s note: He’s not really a gangsta thug… he just really likes that line…)
How we got engaged
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church..
From the start of our relationship, one thing I knew about my proposal is that it would be the first time I would tell Erin that I loved her. To me, a word of such complexity and responsibility could only be meaningful when paired with a lifelong commitment. It also made it a lot easier to figure out what I would end up saying to her on bended knee.
The venue was also pretty easy. We met in the sanctuary of her church; I couldn’t imagine any place more romantic to ask her to marry me. Valentine’s Day was the obvious choice for timeline. By February, we had passed the 6 month mark, and I figured if she hadn’t run for the hills by then, I better put a ring on it before she realized I was getting the better end of the deal.
On the morning of Valentine’s Day, I packed up my equipment and headed to the church. My buddy Seth lent me a camera that could shoot photos at preprogrammed intervals. I also packed a tripod, roses, guitar, basin, towel, and a couple other supplies that I had mailed into Philly weeks before.
After setting everything up, I called Erin:
“Do you have a key to the church? I think my car key fell out of my pocket when we were there yesterday.”
Over the phone, I Jedi-mindtricked her into stopping by the church after lunch.
Two hours later, we were standing in the sanctuary, ready to look for my car key. On the stage where I saw Erin for the first time was a chair with a single rose on it. I had her sit down.
On our first date, I sang her a Mandarin pop song a capella, figuring I could at least impress her with my linguistic effort. Based on her paralyzed reaction that day, I figured I had to step it up a bit with a guitar accompaniment.
I chose “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train. We’ve both loved that song since we started dating because it captures so much of our relationship. For instance, the part about me being a gangster thug, or the part about her doing brain research. But I really resonated with the final stanza:
I can be myself now finally // In fact there’s nothin’ I can’t be
I pick up the guitar and start strumming. It should be noted that although the chord progression of the song is straightforward, I have great difficulty with strumming in any kind of structured pattern. As I get to the end of the song, I improv the strumming for dramatic effect and just hope that my emotional effort is distracting her from my musical deficiencies.
I set the guitar down, and pull a box out of my pocket. Erin’s face changes from content happiness to a downpour of tears. On one knee, I tell her for the first time that I love her – that I want to love her for the rest of my life. I ask her to marry me. She says yes.
..he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him..
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
I’ve always been captivated by the image of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples: the master of the universe, kneeling at the feet of those who worship him.
Ephesians tells me to love my wife in the same way. I may be pretty self-absorbed, but I wanted to at least start my engagement off on the right path. I pulled out a basin of water from under the stage and washed her feet. With her soft feet in my hands, it really hit me – this is the woman I want to love sacrificially for the rest of my life.
We prayed together for a bit. After planning and rehearsing this moment for months, I actually hoped that I could just execute with emotionless automation. But sitting there together, alone in the sanctuary, with a sparkling symbol of commitment on Erin’s hand, the room was filled with a quietly overpowering sensation of boundless love.
We made our phone calls, headed to dinner, and started wedding planning…
Read: Our first date