TBT: Engaged and Underaged

Although Jeremy and I didn’t consider ourselves “officially” engaged until after he asked my father for permission in December 2008, we bought the ring together the month before and I wore it on my left hand until we went home the following month. We told our local friends that we were engaged, but we didn’t announce it publicly or to our extended family until after my Dad gave his approval.

I was 19 at the time, and halfway through my sophomore year of college.

I was so excited to announce it to my friends at school because I was happy. I loved Jeremy and I wanted to be his wife.

I anticipated squeals of excitement and my girlfriends asking to see my ring. I imagined questions about when the big day was going to be and what colors I was going to pick.

Unfortunately that was not my reality.  Instead of “congratulations”, I mostly heard “why?” when I announced my engagement. “But you’re so YOUNG” normally followed the “why?” question. Included with looks of confusion.

I suppose I should have expected it.

I knew I was young to be getting married, I knew it was unconventional, but I had still expected people to be happy for me.

Looking back, I know that they were probably thinking one of two things.

First, for those who really cared about me, they were probably concerned and didn’t want me to make a mistake. It had been a quick engagement (6 months), and although I knew that Jeremy was an amazing guy and that our relationship was stable and full of love, they probably couldn’t see that from the outside. They were probably worried that I was going to quit school and get pregnant, giving up on my dreams.

Second, for those who were more “acquaintances”, I think they just couldn’t understand it because it was completely out of their reality. To the average 19 year old, marriage is not even on the radar. Even my friends who had been in long-term relationships weren’t thinking of getting engaged until after college. They just couldn’t comprehend it.

Sometimes I look back and wish I could have had the normal “happy” engagement. When my cousins got engaged at 24, just a few years older than I had been, they were greeted with enthusiastic responses of “congratulations!” and “we are so happy for you!”. I wish I could have had that.

Even after I got married (up until I was about 23) I still got the shocked “what!?” response when people found out that I was married. That shock often lead to speechlessness when I said that I had been married since I was 20.

I for one am happy to be almost 25 and no longer be greeted with shock when I tell people I am married. It’s nice to be “normal”. Being an outlier can be hard.

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TBT: The {Unofficial} Proposal

It was November 2008. Jeremy and I had been dating for 6 months. We were young and in love.

Jeremy had been dropping hints about getting married for the last few months, and we had talked about it seriously many times. We had made the decision together to get married, now we just needed a ring and a proposal.

We casually looked at rings when we were out shopping a few times, the purpose being for Jeremy to get an idea of the style that I liked.

However, we kept running into the problem of Jeremy not having established credit. He was 19-years old and the only thing he had ever bought on credit was his car, which he had been making payments on for less than a year. So every time we went to a jewelry store (Kay’s, Jared’s, etc), he was told his credit limit was very low (around $300).

I was beginning to wonder if he would be able to even get me a ring when we stopped by Harris Jewelers in the Devil Dog Mall (aka the mall in Oceanside by Camp Pendleton that is always filled with young Marines). They have financing specifically for military service members and set up an allotment to take out a set amount per month from your paycheck. Because of that, the prices were higher than other places we had looked, but since the financing was guaranteed and we had been struggling to a loan, we bought a ring that day! (I wish I could remember the exact day, but I don’t lol)

We had not gone to the mall with the purpose of buying an engagement ring, it was just a random stop!

Originally I had wanted Jeremy to pick out the ring and surprise me with proposal. I wanted the whole traditional proposal, down on one knee, seeing the ring for the first time and him slipping it on my finger as I cried out “yes!”.

But when we found a ring that I liked and actually got financed for the ring, we didn’t want to pass up the opportunity.  But that is how we are, overly practical and not very romantic.

So I don’t have a cute proposal story. I don’t have cute proposal pictures.

But I still ended up with a ring on my finger and engaged to be married to the man that I love, so I consider it a successful proposal!

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I remember how odd it felt to wear the ring for the first few weeks (I didn’t wear rings before getting engaged). I remember driving and starting at my ring, being startled to see it on my left hand and yet smiling with happiness every time I looked at it.

My ring has now become a part of me. I only take it off to sleep and I feel naked without it on my finger. Funny how things change over the years!

(Our official proposal story coming up next week! Jeremy wanted to ask my Dad permission before we made it official)