Day 132: A Word from James

The next two posts on this very girly, very flowery and very pink blog will be coming directly from James, my wonderful wordsmith who has put me to shame with a plethora (yes, I can use big words too) of adjectives in his first post.

Over to him (with some small insights from me along the way):

Hey everyone, James here.

On social media I’m usually the “quiet one” (I don’t have Twitter, Instagram, or a blog and rarely post on Facebook) but Emily asked me to chime in for a bit of background on how I ended up proposing; from inception of the idea to the big question- so here I am.

It wasn’t long after we got engaged and the dust had settled that Emily asked me: “Why now, what changed?” Up to this point we had talked about our relationship and our future and neither of us was in any doubt that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, but the timing wasn’t great.

For those who don’t know I had just secured a place to study medicine: a dream realised, but also a sentence to 5 years hard studentship and (potentially most importantly) no money. Add to this that Emily was just finishing her degree with no job secured and the fact that I have always made my negative feelings towards long engagements clear, Emily’s surprise at my proposal seems well founded.

So what did happen? It must surely have been some colossal epiphany to cause me to perform this U-turn and go back on views I had been spouting to Emily for 5 years.

The answer, rather unsatisfactorily, is that I couldn’t quite tell you. For 5 years I have loved Emily, we’ve shared laughter and tears, grown into best friends, confided in each other and explored faith together. We’ve even discussed what marriage, long term relationships, settling down and having careers mean to us, but I can’t say any of these things by themselves made my mind up.

The only way I can describe it to those who ask is I just knew. And it’s difficult to know you want to spend the rest of your life with your best friend (to whom you tell everything) and not want to tell them. So I decided I was going to propose and start this hypocritical, unexpected elongated engagement.

Have you ever had to tell someone something that you had cooked up in your own head? The something is a something you’ve been thinking intensely about for a while, and it’s very important that the someone is on board with the something, or isn’t outrageously against it, or at least doesn’t swerve the car off the road when you tell them.

This was the position I found myself in, driving home from Newcastle with my Dad when I told someone for the first time and the feelings in my head became tangible. Thankfully my parents are amazing and none of the things I feared they could say (“Have you thought about this?”, “Don’t you think you’re too young”, “Is this because you’re a Christian now?”) came near, instead they were ecstatic and on hand for tactical planning of the Big Question. I told my brother not long after, and a bear hug and a bit of jumping around later it was time to get down to business.

It was a good thing I had them on side to talk about it all with, as over the next month, every time Emily asked how I was or what I’d done today, I would have to consciously bite back proposal plans (E: especially when I blew up when he was 2 & a half hours late to take me to the gym; I later found out he’d just bought my ring). Turns out having a best friend to whom you tell everything backfires when there’s something you specifically can’t tell them…

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