From the moment Griffin saw Rachel, he knew she was special. After their first date, Griffin made a note to himself: “I am going to marry this girl.” Just 8 months later, the two had fallen in love, learning much about love, sacrifice, repentance, and commitment even in that short period of time. This is the story of their engagement.
Rachel had become suspicious. For a couple of months, she and Griffin had been talking seriously about marriage. In that time, the engagement had become an inevitability. This was a problem for Griffin.Griffin is a man who loves surprises. There had not been a single date in the entirety of their relationship where Rachel was told the plan. Griffin would tell Rachel when to be ready and how to dress, but otherwise every date was a complete surprise. That made the certainty of the engagement a problem: how do you surprise someone you have been in serious talks about marriage with for months?
Rachel’s suspicions began in November. She and Griffin had discussed rings, but he had made it clear that no ring would be purchased until the end of the year or later. He constantly hinted at an early to late February engagement, but Rachel knew he wouldn’t be able to make it that long. Griffin is not a naturally patient man, nor is he able to pass up sentimental seasons like Christmas. But she didn’t know when. The calendar had begun filling up. The only open date she knew of was December 10, and Griffin had asked her to go see the Nutcracker that day. Griffin had made a comment about the 2:30 show being “the best one”–which of course is untrue (the night show is the best!)–and so Rachel had become convinced that they would be getting engaged that evening. Not only that, a friend (Melissa Munn) had asked Rachel that week to get their nails done together for Melissa’s graduation. Rachel wasn’t buying it.
Melissa went into crisis mode. She called Griffin and told him that Rachel is onto them. So Griffin met the problem head on. The week of the engagement, Griffin asked Rachel, “Do you think we are getting engaged after the nutcracker?” Rachel blushed and sheepishly admitted she did, so Griffin informed her that this was not the case. She shouldn’t get her expectations up. Then they made plans for dinner that night with some friends. Of course, Griffin wasn’t lying. They weren’t getting engaged that night. They were getting engaged that morning.
The morning of the engagement, Griffin got up early. He drove to a florist and picked up a dozen white roses. From there he drove to Raleigh Avenue Baptist Church where his friend Nic Seaborn had volunteered the beautiful RABC sanctuary for the event. He met Nic there, as well as Hillary Dickey (Rachel’s roommate) who would photograph the event. It was beautiful. They set up the sanctuary for the proposal, and Griffin laid out the “supplies”: a new Bible for Rachel, the flowers, the ring, and a letter. A letter was an important part of their relationship. During a short breakup early on, Griffin had written a letter to Rachel that brought them back together. That letter had implied how much he loved her. This letter would tell her.
Griffin got back in his car to pick Rachel up. Then he turned around, because he left the ring at the church instead of in his pocket. Then he got back in the car to pick her up. Rachel was ready when he got there (Hallelujah!) and they got in the car. The plan was for Nic to call Griffin and tell him to swing by the church and get a book. Nic calls. Griffin says he’ll swing buy. But then, Rachel and her wonderful curiosity kicks in.
“Do we have to get the book now?” Yes.
“We’ll be late for lunch!” No, we won’t.
“I’ll just stay in the car then.” You are not going to be rude to my friend. (Griffin begins to panic.)
“Why is he at the church on a Saturday anyway?” He’s setting up for Advent things tomorrow.
“Advent started last week.” *silence from Griffin*
At this point Griffin realized he only had to drive 5 minutes without letting the cat out of the bag and he is failing. Rachel, who is wearing a beautiful ring of her Mammy’s, slipped her ring off her finger and put it in her purse. Griffin fell silent.
They get to the church and walk into the foyer of the sanctuary. Griffin stopped Rachel and grabbed her by the hand: “Rachel. I love you.” Rachels eyes got huge and she nods. I love you too. Griffin took Rachel by the hand and began to walk her up the left aisle where a small pew had been set up between the Christmas tree and the communion table.
“Nic isn’t here, is he?” No, baby. Nic isn’t here.
Griffin walked Rachel to the pew and sat her down there. “Hillary is taking pictures in the balcony. Don’t look at her, look at me.” Rachel nodded. Griffin walked over to the table and picked up the letter. He sat beside Rachel on the pew and read to her as they both laughed and cried while Griffin retold fun times they had, and told her of all the reasons he loves her. Griffin stood and walked back to the table and left the letter there. He picked up the Bible and walked back to Rachel. Squatting before her, he told her of the life he wanted with her serving the Lord together, and then he read to her Psalm 34:3:
“Magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!”
After reading it, Griffin set the Bible on the pew and asked Rachel to stand.Rachel stood, and as she did Griffin reached into his back pocket and pulled out the ring box. He went to one knee, and asked Rachel to marry him. Rachel quickly said yes, and Griffin quickly stood and kissed her. They stood in a long embrace until finally Griffin said, “Would you like to see your ring?” He put the ring on her finger and they began to celebrate! He told her all about her new Bible, ring, and engagement setup, and Hillary took them for a proposal photoshoot right then.
After an hour or so, they went to have a celebratory lunch with their parents. Then they spent the afternoon together where they called friends, reminisced, and prayed together for their marriage. That night, nearly 75 friends and family gathered together to celebrate them at a dear friend’s home who volunteered to throw the party. It was a full day, but it was a perfect day.
Griffin and Rachel aren’t perfect, but they are perfect together. They are in love, but not the sort of love that flutters up and down depending on the day. Their relationship is marked by mistakes, victories, failures, forgiveness, repentance, celebration, laughter, and friendship. They can not wait to celebrate this love with their closest friends and family members on April 29. Regardless of the weather, the food, or the festivities, it will be a perfect day. Why? Because it will be the day that God unites Griffin and Rachel for a life together, exalting Jesus and serving one another.