Monkey (AKA middle child) asked me the other day about my engagement ring from his dad. Now what in the world made him ask this I have no clue, but if you could have felt the thrill of my heart upon hearing his question, then you would have looked at me like “Whhaatt?”
I have been waiting ever since I had kids to begin telling them about “us”. Our lives before each other and our lives together. I loved, still love, asking my parents and grandparents different questions about their lives and their growing up and how they felt, and how they met, and what was it like.
I digress. I think, that because I witnessed the demise of my parents’ marriage from center and back stage, I am very invested in finding out about relationships that DO work. That click-clack along and stay on the tracks, regardless of missing railroad ties and wrongly pulled levers that send those relationships along paths that were not on the original travel plan.
I want to know why some relationships last, and others implode or explode. Is it the persons involved always? Is it extenuating circumstances, or do people just go their separate ways?
So when Monkey asked me about my ring, I could not wait to tell him. “Your dad gave me a purple bread tie for my engagement ring.”
“What? What is a bread tie and why was it purple?”
Well, Monkey, since you asked…
I have loved my husband since I really got to know him in 1999. I had met him about a year before, and in July, 1999, I had the opportunity to go on a mission trip with our church’s youth group, even though I was most definitely not a youth anymore, and he was also along as a chaperone. I did my best to put myself in his path every chance I got, and even though I believe my efforts were noticed by everyone around us, he was (I think) pretty clueless.
I can still tell you almost every conversation we had then, and I asked him all sorts of questions and played cards with him and just generally flirted with him every chance I got (as much as possible on a church mission trip, lol).
We became very good friends the next year or so, along with one other friend of his, who turned out to be the Best Man in our wedding. We did everything together, and while I knew that I cared deeply for Hubs, we became friends first, great friends, and he saw me at my best and at my worst. He saw me dressed in Sunday best headed to church, and he saw me pitch a serious fit when I lost at cards, with no make up on, and my hair in a band not having been washed in 2 days. We worshipped together, played together, studied God’s Word together, and learned who each other was without the stress of “Dating”. He was just my friend, and if that’s all I could have with him, I would take it.
Until it wasn’t enough. I asked Best Man finally, “Do you think Hubs would go out with me?” Poor Best Man, he wanted to let me down easy, and gently told me not to get my hopes up. Several people told me not to get my hopes up. But God never took the desire to strengthen my relationship with Hubs from me.
And I just sat back. And asked someone else to go to my 30th birthday bash with me. And Hubs said, a few days after, “I would have gone with you.” And that, my friends, was all she wrote.
So he asked me out, we dated, and he told me from the beginning that he believed “I love you” should be followed by “Will you marry me?” Say WHAT??? Yeah, I broke that rule fairly quickly. He didn’t. And here’s the purple bread tie story:
Hubs lived with his brother in law and wasn’t exactly flush with cash. I had a good job, and was established. My dad had despaired of my ever marrying when I was in my late 20’s, and he gave me a very nice diamond ring, that looked like an engagement ring. I didn’t wear it often, but Hubs friends often teased him about being able to afford a ring that was better than that one (okay, Hubs could have given me a ring out of a 50 cent machine and I would have married him on the spot).
I always told them that all he had to give me was a purple bread tie. It had to be purple because that is my favorite color, and that would be all I needed.
In April of 2001, a bunch of our friends went to New Orleans on a train (those who weren’t married stayed with friends, not our boyfriends). I got sick and had to leave dinner early, and went to lay down in my room. Our friends came to our room to hang out, and then all of a sudden, Hubs is on one knee by my bed, with a ring box out, and said, “Tina, I love you. Will you marry me?”
Yes, my engagement ring was a purple bread tie in a beautiful ring box, and I would accept it again in a heart beat. I was hooked, line and sinker.
And I look back, after 13 years of being married to Hubs, 13 years today. I still wonder why people stay together, and why they don’t. I know why I am still with Hubs. I can’t answer for anyone else.
For me, it’s the fact that he knows me better than anyone else, and still treats me with respect and love (most of the time, I am far from perfect and do tick him off occasionally). The Bible actually says that,
“Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor.
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
He is my helper-up. He helps keep me warm. And his love points me toward Christ. When Monkey asked about the purple bread tie, I wanted him to know that his dad is the real deal, a man he can look up to. And I look back over the last 13 years, and I realize that purple bread tie must have been pretty darn strong.