Monday, May 29, 2017

Our Engagement Story

I've been wanting to sit down and write out our engagement story for a while now, and I should probably start with some of the background details. Alex and I have been doing the long distance thing since January when Alex moved to New Mexico, and I stayed in Florida to finish out my school year. I wouldn't trade these months apart for anything because they have strengthened our relationship in ways that I couldn't have imagined beforehand. We started talking more seriously about the future and started reading through a book called So, you want to get married? by Rick Thomas. We were having lots of conversations geared toward marriage and Alex really grew in his role as the leader of our relationship during this time. I knew that marriage was in our future, but I had no idea when or how he was actually going to ask!

On April 14, 2017, my best friend, Janice, was in town for one of our girls' weekends. Over the years, we have taken turns traveling to see each other. and it happened to be her turn to come visit me. This time was extra special though because this was the first time that she was able to bring her daughter, Charlotte, to join us for one of our girls' weekends. Janice and I have been best friends since sixth grade, and she has been such a constant in my life. I remembering us having a sleepover one night in high school when we first started dreaming about what it would be like to let God write our love stories one day. Since then we've been able to celebrate her marrying the love of her life, and more recently her becoming a momma. She has been there to encourage me in every season, and I had always secretly hoped that somehow Alex would involve her in the details whenever he proposed.

During the time that Janice was here, Alex was supposedly somewhere in southwest Texas on a land navigation field training trip. He told me that I probably wouldn't be hearing from him much while he was gone. Although I thought his trip was planned a little at the last minute, he went on field training trips like that all the time while we were dating, so I convinced myself that I was overthinking.

To make his field training trip sound even more convincing, Alex texted me at midnight to let me know he was going out on a night mission. Prior to this text, I had told Janice how strange I thought it was that they would have a training trip on Easter weekend. But, then I got these texts and I thought that there would be no way that he would be up so late texting me to check in if he wasn't really in Texas! 

Fast forward to Friday night, and Janice and I had plans to go over to my aunt and uncle's place for dinner. My aunt and uncle live right on the Bay in Fort Walton Beach, and their condo is pretty special place to me. Not only are they like a second mom and dad to me, but their place is where I first met Alex last May at a dinner party. It's so special to me that Alex had them in on the surprise, and proposed at the same place that we first met. 

Anyway, when we pulled up, my uncle met us down at the car and suggested that we go out on the dock to see Landon and Johnson who were fishing. We walked out there and made the different introductions and were making small talk. I saw someone with a hood on behind the gate, and I also remember noticing that there were white string lights on part of dock, and how it was kind of weird for those to be out still in April. Then all of a sudden, those white lights were being flipped on and the guy with the hood came walking through the gate, and it was Alex! I was in complete shock that he was there. He didn't waste any time, and dropped down on one knee and said, "Samantha Grey, will you marry me?" I was so surprised that I said "Yes!" three times. I didn't even look at my ring right away because in typical Samantha fashion, I started asking lots of questions. I was in awe that Janice and my roomies all knew about the proposal, and had kept it a secret. 

After I started to calm down, Alex pointed out my parents up in the condo balcony and showed me how he had his best friends from California watching on the Facebook Messenger video app. He had planned it all so we could celebrate with some of our family and closest friends right after it happened. I found out that the he formally asked my parents for permission to marry me back on February 1st, and that he had most of his family and friends  in on the surprise since January. His proposal far exceeded any expectations I could have ever had! 

I still stare at my hand sometimes in amazement for what this ring symbolizes!

There is also a video of the proposal here that makes me slightly embarrassed because of how distracted I was by everything until I started to calm down. But, I think it perfectly captures the joy and surprise of that moment! Gosh, I love this man and feel so privileged that I'm 62 days away from being able to call him my husband.

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