Monday, February 20, 2012

275. A Moment of Clarity

I didn't tell him I cried. That's probably not what any guy wants to hear when he proposes the idea of proposing. Instead, I told him not to propose.

"I don't want you to do it during your visit here next month just because some paperwork says so," I said. "We'll file the paperwork when you get here, and then we'll just put both plans in motion."

It all sounded perfect in my head. We'd file the paperwork and then we'd have 5-8 months to figure the rest out. During that time, maybe we'd get lucky and he'd land a job with sponsorship here in Dallas. And if not, well, then hopefully our petition would get approved. Either way, he'd end up here. That's what really mattered. It didin't matter how we got there, as long as we got there.

"And if we get approval on the visa before you get a job, then you can move here and we'll have a small Justice of the Peace wedding," I said. "It will be like a rehearsal. I won't think of us as being married. In fact, I'm not even calling it a fiance visa. From here on out, we'll call it a boyfriend visa."

I don't know why I was so against it. For some reason, the fiance visa option sounded like such a cop out. So unromantic. So business-like. I wanted to say 'I do' while surrounded by my family and close friends, not in front of some random stranger in a stale courthouse. I figured that if I just didn't think about the words when I said them, they wouldn't mean anything to me. We could just go through the motions to make it official to keep him here.

"That makes sense," Cayden said. "I think we could do that. That was my biggest concern in asking you if you wanted to do this. I don't want anything to take away from your big day. I don't want the JP wedding to make our real wedding feel less special."

"We'll just play it down, only tell whoever we have to tell, like my parents," I said. "And then you can propose when you're ready. And then we'll start planning a wedding."

I still wasn't thrilled about it. I didn't want to be "married" before we were married. But then again, I sure as hell didn't want to risk him not finding a job and having to move back to the UK. I just didn't think I could survive that. In fact, I was sure I couldn't. So boyfriend visa it was.

Cayden filled out all of the paperwork for the boyfriend visa at my parents' house the day before he flew back to London at the beginning of October. And just as I'd requested, he didn't propose. Plan A and Plan B were in action, and all we could do was wait.

Less than a month later, I pulled a 180. Suddenly, I was in love with idea of the fiance visa. I didn't even want to call it a boyfriend visa anymore. I was even in love with the idea of a cute little Justice of the Peace wedding. I wanted to say "I do" in front of a random stranger in a stale courthouse. So, what changed my mind? I saw the movie "Like Crazy." You may have read my raving review, but if not, here's a summary: Boy lives in the US. Girl lives in the UK. They're in love. They struggle with the frustration of the distance. They break it off. They date other people. They get back together. They struggle again. They get married by a random stranger in a stuffy courthouse. It was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. She wore a white dress. He wore a suit. Her parents were there. They slow danced together in a honeymoon suite at a hotel that night.

The story hit so close to home that I felt like I was in the courthouse and Cayden was in front of me. I was the one in the white dress. I was the one saying 'I do.' When in reality, I was the one in jeans bawling my eyes out and snotting on a scratchy napkin in the movie theater. They were tears of joy.

That movie put it all in perspective for me. Marriage isn't about a wedding. It's not defined by bridal showers or flower girls or tossed bouquets. It's not defined by bridesmaids or groomsmen or how many of your friends hear you say "I do." Just as a proposal is not defined by a ring or a knee or a surprise. A proposal is not defined by carat or cut or clarity. Proposals and marriages are defined by an overwhelming love and the promise to believe in that love forever. And by that definition, Cayden had proposed and we were getting married.

How's that for clarity?


  1. You my friend have it all figured out, seriously!! Too many people these days get caught up in trying to out do all their friends' weddings, having the biggest ring and having the "best" proposal story- they totally forget the important part. If people spent the same energy on their marriage as they do trying to out do others' weddings - nobody would get divorced anymore ;)

    A 2 million dollar ring and a 19 million dollar wedding doesn't mean crap unless you put the work in the marriage! :) Just ask Kim K ;) Your JoP wedding will be the best wedding you've ever been to! :) Congrats girl, SO happy for you two!!


    I wish every couple would read it, even after thier married-remember why you got there, how you got there, and that day what it really meant!

    Very nice!

  3. I am glad you changed your mind. I hate to break it to you but a jop courthouse wedding is a "real" wedding & once you are married legally you can't do it all over again just to have a ppd, that is a vow renewal.

    You are a strong woman of means so i am sure you can have the wedding you desire in 4 months time. I just hope you don't put a black bar through yours eyes though, when you show us pics of your wedding i would love to see the full picture.

  4. Perfect, perfect, perfect! Thank you for this post. I admit with the previous one I was rolling my eyes when you weren't excited that **the man of your dreams said he wanted to marry you** and you were worried about what it would look like rather than what it is. I agree with Bonnie-Lynn that you can totally put together a beautiful wedding in 4 months. My sister-in-law did it in 3 months (the location she wanted to get married at was going to go through a 3 year renovation) and her wedding was by far the best wedding I've ever been to.

  5. I love this post! I admit, I was a little disappointed at how you left things at the last post. I wish more people would remember that the wedding itself is not the end goal--starting your life together is.

  6. So many of us attribute That One Defining Moment of Clarity to cinema! I once had a similar epiphany, though way smaller in scale. All the very very best to you and Cayden!

  7. I know what you mean by the moment of clarity. For the last 8 months or so whenever I watch romcoms or see wedding boards on pinterest and whatnot I turn into a sap and imagine it being me and my bf, when in reality I'd much rather have a small courthouse wedding than some big affair. Whatever the "moment of clarity," I'm glad you're happy and that the fiance visa nightmare is over! My bf's best friend and his fiance (an Aussie) are still playing the waiting game, they were expecting she'd be here by November :\ I can't even imagine how frustrating it feels.

    I can't wait to see what you have in store for your wedding! I kind of disagree with the other comments, if you wanted to have a big wedding reception with your friends and family down the line there's no reason you couldn't call it a wedding. It's not that uncommon to get legally married even months before the reception. Whatever you wish to do, it's about you and Cayden and what makes you both happy, and like you said, at the end of the day you'll be married and that's what matters. :)

    Joanna/joannala_ from twitter

  8. I think you totally deserved a few moments to grieve the things that weren't going to happen the way you hoped and it's awesome that you were so honest about it. Life plans change, but that doesn't mean they don't take some adjustments in your thinking!!