Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How I Met My Husband, Part 5 (final!)

+JMJ+

At the end of Part 4 I had officially left Bloomington to go home and pack for my year of volunteer service. Michael and I didn't quite want to say goodbye & we had yet to "define the relationship," so we made plans for him to visit my hometown in the next few days.

As soon as I got home and shared the game plan for Michael to come visit and stay Thursday night my mom was thrilled. Obviously she knew that this guy must be a big deal and she was ready to welcome him with open arms (although let's be honest, there aren't too many people my mom wouldn't welcome with open arms). By coming to my hometown Michael would be more fully introduced to my family and staying the night in our house...even though we hadn't even decided if we were officially a couple!

If Michael felt awkward about meeting some of my family and staying in our house so soon, he never let it show. I think we were both so focused on getting to see one another just one more time before I left that nothing else seemed to matter.

A few hours before we "officially" became a couple
I don't remember too many details about what happened once Michael arrived in my hometown, although I'm pretty sure I gave him a quick "driving tour" that ended with taking him to a local ice cream shop. The biggest thing I remember is that we had a lot of fun together and later that night we finally hashed out "the" talk.

Long after everyone else had gone to bed, we stayed up late to discuss what we wanted to do once I left Indiana for my year of volunteer service. We spoke about what it meant to each of us to be dating vs. the exclusivity of officially being "boyfriend and girlfriend" and agreed that we certainly weren't interested in dating anyone else. We knew that my going to Chicago and being long distance would have its challenges, but we reasoned that the point of being a couple is to give it a real shot - and if it doesn't work out you simply break up...but the thought of me leaving and us never even trying to see what could come of our interactions was something we both thought would be such a waste of something that had the potential to be very, very good.

In other words, Michael asked me on Friday, July 29, 2011 (because it was after midnight already...Michael recently informed me that he remembers it was approximately 1:19 or 1:23am - I love my engineer husband!) to take a leap of faith with him by becoming his girlfriend and seeing what could happen by officially giving a long distance relationship a chance. There were so many unknowns that laid ahead of us (how often would we be able to see each other? What kind of free time would I have as a full-time volunteer living in an intentional faith community? Would my volunteer roommates be okay with my boyfriend visiting?), but clearly I agreed to be his girlfriend and we trusted that it would all work itself out.

September 2011
That weekend I was booked with a Frassati Society conference for young adults in my home diocese, but when Michael and I parted Friday morning he offered to return on Monday...and Tuesday before I left Indiana on Wednesday of that next week - which made me feel quite special and realize more deeply how great of a catch my new boyfriend was.

Sure enough, things did work themselves out and we quickly settled into a routine of Michael visiting Chicago (since I was a poor volunteer without a car or money to travel much that year) nearly every 2 weeks. We communicated constantly and ended my long days with good conversations that often went late into the night and led us to understand the plans God had for us as a couple.

Anyone who has been in a serious, long distance relationship can tell you that the distance either makes or breaks your relationship. Likewise, long distance can either drag out the dating process or expedite it greatly. In our case, the frequent communication and need to be on the same page that came hand in hand with long distance forced us to talk about the big things in life right from the get go - meaning that things progressed rather quickly and all of the sacrifices we made for each other only solidified our relationship more and more.

October 2, 2011: the night we first said "I love you"
In late October (only a few months into our relationship) we first broached the topic of marriage, understanding that we still needed to continue discerning but could already see where we were most likely headed. We spoke hypothetically about timelines and what my plans would be after completing my year of volunteer service, depending on where things were at between the two of us.

In my mind there was only one remaining factor that I needed to know - which was whether or not Michael's RCIA classes and his faith journey would lead him to become Catholic on Easter Vigil 2012. I was secretly holding out to see what would happen, but that same night that we first spoke about marriage Michael revealed to me that he knew for sure that he wanted to become Catholic. Once he said that, I knew in my heart that he was the man God had been preparing for me to marry all along.

After that, it was only a matter of time before we would become engaged. Michael admits that had it not been for the long distance and the knowledge that if we weren't engaged by the time I completed my volunteer service that I could be pursuing mission work overseas, attending grad school, or getting a job anywhere in the country (which would create even more long distance), he would have taken more time to propose. However, we knew that we wanted to marry one another so he made sure to lock everything in before I could even think about moving further away. ;)

My birthday celebration in Chicago - December 2011
In late January 2012, while I was on a mid-year retreat for my volunteer program, Michael secretly drove to my hometown and spoke to my parents about proposing to me. He received their blessing and my great-great grandmother's diamond ring that he knew was to become my engagement ring someday. He then went to work choosing a new setting and ring for the diamond.

A couple weeks later, he came to visit me in Chicago. That Sunday, February 12, 2012, we went to Mass on the north side of the city and headed to Marytown – a Franciscan perpetual adoration chapel I had discovered earlier that year. After praying the rosary outside in their rosary meditation garden, we started to head inside when Michael stopped me - and got down on one knee. And because I love the way my husband told it on our wedding website, I'll let him tell you all as well:
"I can still recall the expression on her face; it was a mixture of pure joy, excitement, and a bit of shock. I started to say that there was a reason why I wanted to pray the rosary outside in the cold.... I began saying that she was my best friend, I loved her, I couldn’t picture my life without her, and that I wanted to grow old with her. After saying this, I stated that we both took a leap of faith together when we started dating, so then I asked if she would take another leap of faith with me and marry me and she said “yes.” At that moment I had felt like a great weight had been lifted off my chest. My heart filled with so much joy and excitement and I knew that my wish had come true that I could now be with the woman of my dreams."
Next we went inside to the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe and lit two votive candles for special intentions regarding our future together. We then entered the main chapel and prayed before the Blessed Sacrament for the first time as a betrothed couple. While we did this, I finally came back down to earth and everything that had just happened finally started to sink in. Feeling more at peace about our relationship than ever, I left that chapel filled with excitement and gratitude for finally knowing my vocation. For more details about the proposal you can check out this entry on my former blog.

February 12, 2012: the day we got engaged
April 29, 2012: rainy day engagement photo shoot in Chicago. Brian Powell Photography.
Brian Powell Photography.
The next 7.5 months were a whirlwind as Michael became Catholic, I completed my year of volunteer service, and we planned a wedding together while living in different states. Because we had met at The Bluebird and we liked the symbolism of love and joy behind the Bluebird of Happiness, we planned a bluebird theme for our wedding day.

Then, on September 29, 2012 (exactly 14 months after I said “yes” to being Michael’s girlfriend – and the Feast of the Archangels) we married in my hometown parish in Indiana. We were married by a Dominican friar I had first met during my college years and had a full Catholic Nuptial Mass. We then celebrated with about 170 of our closest friends and family members before heading off to Belize for a week-long honeymoon.

Brian Powell Photography.
Our wedding favors were bluebird magnet clips that my older sister made by hand! Brian Powell Photography.
Brian Powell Photography.
Yes, that is a traditional Korean wedding dress I wore for part of the reception. :) Brian Powell Photography.
And here we are now, reminiscing on how much has happened since we first kissed on that July night two years ago...married for almost 10 months with a healthy baby boy due in less than 4 weeks. God is truly good. :)

2 comments:

  1. OK, I loved this!! :) I've been following you for a bit now, and thought this was a good post to comment on for the first time! Gosh, how you all met is such a great story! I am a sucker for a good romantic, Catholic relationship! Beautiful! SO many blessings on your relationship, especially as you welcome your son into the world!

    PS, I love Asian babies, too. I cannot WAIT to see your handsome little dude. :)

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    1. Thank you! I had so much fun reliving it all and writing it down because I may be a little biased (obviously), but I absolutely love our story! :) It seriously amazes me how God had been preparing our hearts for one another but also preparing Michael's heart for Him for all those years leading up to our meeting. Amazing!

      Haha, and I'm happy to have found another "Asian baby lover" - I can't wait to see what our son looks like, either!

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