We met at my parish on a Sunday in November 2012. After a few well crafted emails and dates, The Orthodox Gentleman and I fell in love instantly. Orthodox courtships and engagements are traditionally kept very short and even though we gushed about the prospects of getting married within less than one year, it was only just talk. We were far from mature, emotionally and spiritually. And neither of us had a solid financial footing. We just had love and faith. But we developed an incredibly close bond in our relationship through family health issues, job losses, self esteem issues, weight issues, mutual student loan debt, lost friendships, and illness and death of wedding party members.
Sometimes, the only ones we felt we had to rely on were each other.
Also, in the very traditional sense of Church teaching, Orthodox couples are encouraged to live apart before the bethrotal marriage ceremony. This may be one reason why courtships/engagements are kept short, but this is just my theory. We lived apart for the past four years.
Summer of 2014
Despite all this, the Orthodox Gentleman surprised me while we were on summer vacation with his family in late August. It was a Saturday and weekends were harder for us to get a workout in much less our daily steps. Still, it was and is something I was adamemt about in myself. And even with a weight issue, I pushed the Orthodox Gentleman as well even in the heat. We went. We were walking the boardwalk together in the balmy August sun on a Saturday sun. We approached a bench where the Orthodox Gentlemen needed to sit down already even if we didn’t really walk too far. At first, I didn’t feel like sitting and not in the humidity. I stared back at the Orthodox Gentleman and he looked tired with sweat 💦 dripping down his temples but he looked like he was about to reveal something to me. Right then and there.
It was a confession of how he felt about me from then leading up to now. And then he asked me, “Would you like to help me write the next chapter of our life?” He also knows I’m a bookworm and enjoy writing so that’s where “chapter” came from. But from that moment on, I felt content and at peace. We both expected this was coming, but the question was where, when and how?
He even asked me before getting my dad’s permission only I think we all expected my dad’s response throughout time.
I barely remembered the taste of the gelato that cooled us down after that balmy boardwalk stroll later, but certain poignant images still stand out in my mind like how the ocean looked and felt on my morning stroll the next morning, liturgy at the Greek church that morning to lunch served by this lovely Greek couple at their own restaurant across the bay to the Orthodox Gentleman talking with my dad that night.
I wish I could say we started the wedding planning process immediately but we did not. The excitement contained us but how we were going to pull off a wedding for more than 100 people on a budget perplexed us to the point of anxiety. Little did we know was everything would fall into place with another leap of faith…