Friday, January 30, 2015

What Romantic Really Means

I’m going to tell you a little story about my marriage proposal. Steve and I were in our early 20’s, and he used to come over to my Mother’s house where I lived after I graduated from the University of Alabama. She needed a roommate after her divorce, and I desperately needed an accountability partner for my newly minted salvation. Once we started dating, Steve and I would go out once a week, but during the week we couldn’t stand to be apart, so we would meet at my mom’s house after work at least three nights a week. He brought a change of clothes and usually some fantastic dessert he’d bought or made, and I’d put my hair up in a ponytail and change into comfy clothes. Then we would cook dinner with my mother, the three of us visiting and eating dinner, telling stories about our days and coworkers and jobs.

The three of us would watch our two favorite shows together before he left every night at 10:30 to go to his house. I loved Star Trek: the Next Generation (shut up, you already knew I was She-Queen of the Geeky Librarians). Steve’s favorite was Andy Griffith. So, he sat through mine, and I sat through his until we became fans one of another's programs.

One night, the Star Trek theme faded out and the Andy Griffith whistle began. I had my feet curled up under me, a pillow in my lap, face washed clean of makeup, wearing a sweatshirt four times too big for me. My mother had just said good night and gone upstairs to give us a few moments alone before it was time for him to say goodnight and leave. He leaned over and put his forehead against mine and said, “You know, I want to do this exact thing with you for the rest of our lives.” I put his face in my hands and whispered, “Okay then.” He didn’t get on one knee. There were no flowers. There was no grand gesture. And it counts as probably the single most romantic moment of my life.

He got the ring a week later. He went to my father’s office and faced the Master Bear full on in the mouth of his cave without backing down and asked for my hand in marriage. Six months later, I walked down the aisle.

Just like every other couple alive, we have been hanging on to this roller coaster for dear life. Sometimes squealing with glee, sometimes leaning heavily into each other, sometimes screaming in total terror, sometimes laughing until snorting, but always, always buckled and strapped in side-by-side on the ride.

I think these little prom-posal things are sweet and romantic gestures, but I’m going to tell you what. You need to find a man who looks at you in your ponytail and sweats after cooking and eating dinner as a threesome with your mother and says, “You. I take you. Exactly like this. And I want my whole life to look like this. You and me on a sofa in comfy clothes watching Bad TV.”

Because, Sister, that is what you really want and don’t know it. 

Let me tell you the most romantic things I can think of when it comes to Steve Johnson. 

Factoid: I don’t think I can actually prepare myself a cup of coffee, because I haven’t made one for myself in years. Like better than a decade—I don’t know how I take it since I don’t make it. I also haven’t performed an oil change on a car and have no idea when they are due. The car simply returns to the parking lot where I work with a new sticker. Like magic. I also haven’t warmed up my car one time. Ever. It’s always cranked with coffee in the holder when I get in it. With the seat warmer on or the sunroof open depending on the season and weather. I have never once looked at the TV or on the phone for the weather, because he tells me when I wake up so I’ll dress warmly enough. I don’t clean up dog trash in the yard, take out garbage, or do any other nasty kinds of business at my house, because my husband won’t let me.

My prayer for my daughters is simple: that you find a Godly man who understands the difference in romantic gestures and in being romantic by meeting your partner's needs before your own. And that you are the kind of woman who seeks that kind of man.