Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Let’s go for walk.”

“No,” she responds.

He looks oddly nervous.  “Come on!  It will be nice.”

But she stands her ground.  “It looks like rain.”

“It won’t rain.  I promise.”  But yep, he thinks to himself, it does look a little like rain.

“I don’t want to go for a walk.”

A trickle of sweat runs down his back.  “Please.  I really, really want to go for a walk.”

She looks at him.  Why is he acting so strangely?  But now its a contest of wills.  “I told you, I don’t want to go for a walk.  You go for a walk.”

“No,” he say a little too emphatically and then tries more smoothly, “I really want to go for a walk with you.  Now.”  His eyes loose focus for a moment as his mind drifts to the very expensive ring he has buried in the sand.

One of my favorite parts of wedding preparations is getting to know the couple as a couple.  As part of that I ask how the engagement took place.  (This is oddly telling and the stories are great no matter how elaborate or simple the story.)  But after about 18 years of hearing these stories, I have a couple bits of advice for a couple that is hoping to be engaged:

Guys:  30% of the time the lady in these stories almost ruin everything because they don’t want to do the activity that you have picked out.  So many times I have heard, “And it almost didn’t work out because she started resisting this very carefully thought out scenario I had planned out.”  They laugh about it in my office but at the time they guy is one heart heart palpitation away from needing medical assistance.

Ladies:  If you think a proposal is in the near offing and your man starts acting strangely, consider going with it.  Here are some telltale signs:  Becoming unusually chatty.  Unusually concerned about time (which in his mind is timing.)  He keeps feeling for something in his pocket to make sure its there.  He is oddly insistent on doing something semi-romantic that you don’t want to do.  He might be overdressed.  He recently had time alone with your parents.  He seems distracted and slightly sweaty.  He may all of a sudden pull something like, “Let’s just go to the (pick unusual or meaningful place) before we go to the . . .” or “Let’s just stop at this spot for a moment,” while just a moment ago he was all concerned about arriving on time.

There are three possibilities going here.  You are about to be proposed to, he is just a hopeless romantic in general (a good thing to know,) or he wants to steal you purse.  Please be discerning.


Anonymous said...

Hi Father V -

I have an example of a 4th possibility.

A young man at work always spoke to me when I delivered the interoffice mail (I was and am a secretary). He was an engineering technician in the construction division, very pleasant. I liked him. I wasn't exactly man bait, and he was nice to talk to. He always smiled.

A happily married man who worked with us often organized group outings with the many single young ladies and men in our office. There were a lot of single, recent college graduates who did not have any family nearby, and Akron natives like me who were only high school graduates.

Bill took it as his mission to find ways to throw us all together. We went to see the Indians, we attended the City of Akron employee league baseball games (the men were all on a team together), we bowled, we had bonfires and picnics, etc. No pressure, and no one was left alone. In fact, it was old-fashioned chaperoning, and we all had fun.

After about 6 months of this, I got to know the pleasant young man better and went on dates alone with him, to the movies or UA basketball games.

He once came to dinner at my apartment and noticed the mail on the kitchen counter while I was cooking. He saw there was a bill from O'Neil's or May's and asked if I was going to mail in a payment. I told him no, I would pay at the store. He said, you'll make the minimum payment and you'll probably buy something when you do that, right? I said, sure! And then he found out how much I owed ($2000), insisted on paying it off, told me not to run it up so much again, and said it was a gift and that I was not to repay him. Which I thought was terribly generous but odd. After some arguing, he got his way.

I found we shared an active Catholic faith, and we started to attend daily Mass and parish functions together (he was on parish council, a reader at Mass, an adult altar server, and a K of C man). At that time I was not a parish volunteer, but he dragged me along to all his commitments and got me to help out at St. Bernard.

Then he started planning the wedding about 6 months after we met. Yes, that's right. No proposal, no discussion of what I thought about marrying him.

He asked me if I preferred St. Bernard (his parish) or St. Matthew (my parents' parish). Then he talked about what kind of food he liked at receptions, and how fond he was of Fr. Schindler (me too). He preferred a live band to a DJ. He thought the organist from his home parish in Tiffin would play for the Mass, his cousin Lois would sing, and his cousin Urb and friend Mike would play trumpet for the processional and recessional.

I thought he was babbling aimlessly and didn't pay much attention.

Then he asked if I would like to look at rings, and told me he could afford a 1/3 carat diamond, that he preferred yellow gold to white gold, but that I could pick out the setting I liked best.

That was when I knew he was serious.

I married Fred 28 years ago and have never regretted it for a minute. He still looks out for me, and we still attend Mass and pray together. He still smiles a lot and sometimes babbles aimlessly, but then, so do I, and we are happy together.

I almost forgot to add that we had both been dumped by long-time companions right before we met, whom we both wanted to marry. In retrospect, both would have been disasters for each of us - my boyfriend and his girlfriend were very good looking, but not good for either of us.

For my part, a couple of months before I met Fred, I was so miserable I was on my knees in front of the Blessed Sacrament at St. Bernard and asked God to either make me happy as a single woman, or to find me a good Catholic man who I would not be ashamed to bring around my family.

And you see what happened.

This is all true. I could not possibly make it up.

Sue from St. Bernard

Fr. V said...

That is an AWESOME story!

Thanks for sharing it!

God bless,

Fr. Valencheck

Marie M said...

Awwww Sue!! That is so beautiful! You and Fred are such a wonderful couple. I enjoyed reading your love story.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Marie! I think all of us who are happily married have wonderful stories of how we ended up together!