Marriage happened late in life for me. It is a gift that I treasure with the whole of my being because I had to wait so long. And today I’m going to share with you about how it almost didn’t happen, … with Mr. Bean, anyway!
Mr. Bean and I had been dating for a while. (About 11 months, to be exact.) Not long before we started dating, I had read a great book called How To Get A Date Worth Keeping. (Affiliate link, but only because I highly recommend it!) Dr. Cloud’s advice helped me to focus my dating efforts, and as such, I felt pretty strongly that I knew Mr. Bean was a keeper at that point.
There was just one small problem. We had never discussed marriage.
When I say that we hadn’t talked about it, I don’t mean that we hadn’t “made any plans yet.” I mean literally, neither Mr. Bean nor I had mentioned the word marriage. Not even once. In eleven months.
I am a strong traditionalist. Because I was raised in a family in which my father provided strong leadership for our family, I felt that Mr. Bean should be the one in our relationship to broach the topic of marriage. And at this point, if he didn’t, I was steeling myself up to think about cutting losses and moving forward on my own. I just wasn’t sure what that would look like yet.
So, eleven months into our dating relationship, we had dinner at a Moroccan restaurant. (Side note: Moroccan food provides a great vehicle for connection with people. First, the meal has many courses, so you sit and eat for hours. Also, you eat a lot with your hands.) Over the course of the evening, we talked about lots of things. To be honest, I’ve unintentionally erased most of that from my memory banks. But that evening, we discussed a pivotal topic that we had been silent on up to that point.
We discussed our dreams of raising children! (Still no marriage, mind you.) He and I had both tiptoed so cautiously, lest we scare the other one off, for eleven months. But that night, the veil came down and we discovered that for eleven months, we’d made incorrect assumptions about each other! See, because Mr. Bean had never mentioned kids, I had mistakenly assumed they were not a priority for him. And, Mr. Bean mistakenly assumed the reason I’d never broached the topic of raising children was that I loved my career too much to redirect energy away from it, and toward a family. Needless to say, the Moroccan dinner conversation was a watershed moment for us.
So what happened next?
About six weeks later, and STILL no mention of marriage, Mr. Bean got down on one knee in a vineyard in Amador County with the most beautiful, unique and sparkly ring I had ever seen in my life … and proposed marriage. Unbeknownst to me, he’d gone ring shopping shortly after the Moroccan-dinner-watershed-convo, asked my parents for my hand, carried the ring around with him in his jacket pocket, and patiently waited until my spring musical was finished so that the timing would be just right.
Mr. Bean’s courage and leadership still boggles my mind. Because we’d never talked about marriage, how did he know what my response would be, or if I was even on the same page with him? Did he really know I would say yes? And if so, how? The fact that he was willing to put it all out there, risking his whole heart, his pride, a whole year of both of our lives, and a good chunk of change at the local jeweler speaks volumes about the strength of his character. Mr. Bean is a man of strong integrity and commitment, and his life displays the evidence. I earnestly hope and pray that our son will be taking notes on dad’s leadership of our family and strive to be like him someday. 🙂
And, I’m so glad we had that little chat over Moroccan dinner. 🙂 Never underestimate the power of a conversation to clarify and correct assumptions. You never know how it might change the direction of things!