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Friday, December 28, 2012

So, What's Your Engagement Story?

So, What's Your Engagement Story?On that very night, wearing the same suit and tie, I invited Colleen to my apartment for a private fireside concert.

I found you at the right time
You led me gently through my soul’s nighttime
Can’t go on this way, this is craziness
Something needs to change, tell me what it is

Five great questions of life: Life * Love * Learning * Labor * Leadership

Love: Who Will I Spend My Life With?

So, What's Your Engagement Story?

By Evan Nehring

Marriage vows are very important. Before the vows are exchanged, certainty comes in varying degrees. After the vows are exchanged before God, destiny is etched in tablets of time and eternity.

Returning from Belgium to Wisconsin

Colleen returned to the kids and I made plans to go back to school in the music program at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. The friendship that had begun with a paint fight in Europe was rekindled stateside and slowly became more than friends. I enrolled for fall classes, resigned my ministry post, and found myself weaved into Colleen’s world.

Phone calls between Colleen and her ex would get pretty heated as details were worked out for where the kids would be. My old relationship was perhaps more emotionally complex for me than Colleen’s old marriage was for her, but marriages with kids lead to a lifetime of complexity for everyone.

An Unbelievable Day in Chicago

Colleen and I found time to work on us. One of our dating excursions was to Chicago. We drove the four hours with no plans or reservations other than to see what the city had in store. Why not start with another really tall building, right? We found a parking spot downtown and took the long elevator ride to the top of the Sears Tower. It was like seeing Paris from the Eiffel Tower, only different.

We made our way over to Michigan Avenue and hit some shops there. Toward evening, we found a pizza place and remembered seeing banners around town for the show, Les Miserables, being performed that night at the Auditorium Theater. I called TicketMaster from the payphone in the restaurant. The show was sold out but there was always a chance of finding unneeded tickets at the Will Call window.

We left Colleen’s white Pontiac Grand Am by the pizza shop and hurried several blocks to the theater. A short, dark-haired gentleman with a full mustache met us at the Will Call window as we asked if any tickets might have come available. He deadpanned and stalled a minute before saying evenly, “How about sixth row center?”

The show was off-the-charts wonderful. We were enthralled as the rotating stage brought world-class talent and gaudy sets just a few yards in front of us. Jean Valjean and Javert told the timeless French tale of love, justice and mercy. We began the long ride home at fifteen minutes of midnight. Staying awake was not a problem.

The Big Moment

I had Colleen’s ring in my pocket months later as I attended Ron and Nancy’s wedding. That was an old story for me by then, but when they said their vows on the same stage where I had proposed to Nancy, for me it was finally finished. My heart was released from the vow I had made.
So, What's Your Engagement Story?
On that very night, wearing the same suit and tie, I invited Colleen to my apartment for a private fireside concert.
I found you at the right time
You led me gently through my soul’s nighttime
Can’t go on this way, this is craziness
Something needs to change, tell me what it is
My heart is telling me, boy, don’t you ever let her go
My mind is clear, my heart is sure
But there’s one thing I gotta know
Will you marry me, will you marry me
I want to spend my life with you
To have you, to hold you
A dream that could come true
If you’ll say the words I long to hear…
Will you marry me
She said yes! Good thing, because I had already purchased a honeymoon package to Florida and the Bahamas.

Is it important to have a creative, clever, memorable proposal moment? It sure doesn’t hurt. Commitment is more important than creativity, but in some ways creativity shows commitment. That’s the idea with romantic things in general: if you’re willing to go to all that trouble to do something special for the one you love, doesn’t it show commitment?


Do you have an engagement story to tell? People get so creative! Leave a comment so we can all enjoy it, or shoot me an email at
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  1. Awe, what a beautiful story of your engagement. I love the trip to Chicago and the late, late, late drive home. Les Mis is big all over again from the new release. I've teared up, just thinking about what you both went through before finding each other.
    It is very special when the engagement is set up carefully and creatively. Al planned a surprise lunch at his place during my lunch break and had it coordinated with my boss. He cooked chicken and fettuccini alfredo with cheesecake for dessert. The best part, the icing on the cake was the poem he wrote me, ending with a proposal. I had to make a couple phone calls to share the news, before I could go back to work.
    From Heather Block

    1. Heather, I really need to see the new Les Mis. Not Jason material! Yeah, I'm so thankful for Colleen and how our marriage has become so much more real and meaningful than each of our old days.

      Super impressed with Al's engagement layout!