Ryan and Shanna were officially engaged on November 7, 2010
- From Ryan's perspective -
After looking a few places I finally found the engagement/wedding ring
set I liked that was in my price range, and made the purchase. I had the
engagement ring in my pocket for a week or so, and I was showing it to
someone at work, when all of a sudden Shanna's mom walked by. She was in
the store, shopping for something and wondered if I was working. When
she saw me I held the small box out of sight and greeted her. Then I
held it up and said, "I have a ring." She looked at me and said slowly,
"Really?" We talked and she said something about wishing she had spent
more time with me (but in a happy way), and I asked if she wanted a hug, and she said yes. I had been wondering how I would get the message to
Shanna's parents that I wanted to propose without letting Shanna find
out. It turned out to not be a problem.
It was now Friday night and I was planning to propose on Sunday morning. We went to a Murder Mystery party with friends from church (kind of like the movie Clue). We got all dressed up and I brought her some red roses and some chocolates, to celebrate 1 year of dating (the next day was the 1 year anniversary of our first date). After we returned from the party I said something like, "Happy anniversary," to imply that it was the only thing special about this weekend. The next day I met with her parents for lunch and we talked for an hour or two. They talked to me about Shanna and reminded me that this was a big decision. Then they welcomed me to the family. That afternoon I met with one of Shanna's best friends, Christina, and gave her a Bible and the ring, and gave her instructions on what to do.
On the morning of November 7, 2010 I picked Shanna up for church. We went to our favorite coffee shop for breakfast, then continued on to the same church where I had seen her with her friend Christina in the bookstore back in August. I had asked Christina to place the ring in the middle of the Bible, between the pages, then place it on a low shelf in the bookstore near the end of the service (and browse the bookstore to keep an eye on it). Shanna actually suggested that we go to the bookstore after the service was over to pick up a devotional booklet. As we walked in she found the booklet and started to leave, then I said I wanted to look at the Bibles, and then she saw Christina and Anna (Christina's sister). They all started talking as I got down on one knee to look at the Bible. I made sure that the ring was hidden inside, then I got Shanna's attention. She turned around and saw me on one knee, holding a Bible. I asked her what she thought of it and she made a simple response, then I let the pages fall open to reveal the ring and said, "What do you think about this?" She just stood there and asked, "Are you serious?" I replied, "Of course I'm serious. Will you be my wife?"
"Yes, of course, and I'll love you forever!" With those words from Shanna we became engaged, and she kept hugging me and wouldn't let go. She turned to her friends and asked, "You guys knew? Do my parents know?" I told her that I had talked with them the day before. She was just so amazed and excited, it took a few minutes before I could even get the ring on her finger. I took off the promise ring that she had been wearing since before we met, and slid the diamond ring onto her finger. It was quite an amazing day.
We enjoyed the holidays as an engaged couple, going to family parties and such. As the new year came we began to focus more on getting the wedding planning underway. I had also moved into a small room in an apartment shared by a few guys, paying on a month to month basis until Shanna and I got a place together. Since it was farther away we spent more time at her house, having dinner, playing cards, spending quality time together. It was always so hard to leave each other at the end of the night, but it was only a temporary arrangement.
When we first started getting serious back in February I explained that I had never kissed a girl and that I always thought it would be cool to save that first kiss for my wedding day. Now that we were engaged it proved to be more of a challenge than ever to resist the urge to kiss. We could easily have given in, but we knew that kissing would only make it harder to wait for the rest, so we agreed that it would be best to save it for the wedding.
Most of the time we were too busy making wedding plans and other things so the temptation to get physical was not there all the time. We just enjoyed the time we spent together, even though it didn't seem like enough, and we looked forward to finally being married. Our relationship grew, overcame challenges, resisted temptation, and we got to know each other even better.
As the wedding day approached we got even more excited, counting down the days of being single and separate, so thankful that soon we would be together at last.
A few weeks before the wedding we started moving into our apartment, but Shanna continued to stay at her parents' house, which was just up the hill. This would be the only time in my life living alone with no family or room mates, for three weeks. It was nice, but even better when my new wife finally joined me.
- From Shanna's perspective -
When Ryan proposed to me in the bookstore I knew my life was going to change forever. I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, so I said "Yes, of course," in response to him. I was not expecting it quite so soon, but I was so happy. I was still in school when we got engaged and put off most of the wedding planning until that Spring after I had finished with school and had more time. The planning was overwhelming and stressful at times but I knew that this was what I wanted to do, and with many helping hands and with the strength of the Lord we got through it. I got into shape and picked out my Wedding dress along with my mother and sister who were very encouraging along the way.
Ryan and I were engaged for about 8 months and I will never forget that time. I lived with my family for most of my life and I never knew what it was truly like to live on my own with a kind young man. There were tears of joy along with tears of sadness, knowing that I would probably never live with my family again. Although there were plenty of challenges throughout our engagement I was still at peace knowing that the man I was going to marry was kind, caring, and precious to me. I knew that I didn't have to fear being with him because he never took advantage of me and he was always understanding and kind to me. It was the quickest 8 months of our lives and when we finally got to the day we couldn't believe how fast time had gone by. My family worked really hard to get the yard and the house prepared for the wedding and that was a huge blessing.
Who would have known that within the time we were engaged we would be contacted by someone interested in filming our wedding for TLC, a chance to share our story with possibly millions of people? We wanted people to know that we wanted to save our first kiss for the wedding and were committed to staying virgins until our wedding night. It was definitely tempting to not hold back our love and affection for one another in our engagement but we knew that it would be well worth the wait, and we made it. God was with us the whole way.
- Story continued on the next page...