Tag Archives: marriage

Our Engagement Story

[Taken from our wedding website]

DSC_0700.jpgFrom 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Valentine’s Day: A Reminder You’re Single

The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.
(1 Corinthians 7:32-35 ESV)

Tonight as I drove home from picking up my dinner, I heard a Valentine’s Day advertisement on the radio. This is a pretty typical night for me. If I’m not working, I get up from whatever school work I’m doing, drive to get dinner or make myself dinner at home, and then go back to what I’m doing.

These days I don’t have any dates to plan. I don’t have anyone special I’m coming home to, or I’m trying to find time to sneak away and see. So tonight as I drove home, alone, to an empty house I found myself jarred by this radio advertisement. Making your big plans?! Come on out to ____________ and have some drinks with your special someone! Sometimes it takes a stupid ad to remind you that there isn’t a special someone.


I remember hearing of people who had entered into their mid-20s as singles without any prospects of changing that and thinking, “Man, that life must be terrible.” Though I’ve known for a while that I’m living that life, it was just tonight that it hit me. It’s not that I haven’t been on dates—I have! It’s not even that I’m anti-social or that I’m some sort of recluse. If you ask anyone I know, they’d tell you that I’m one of the most social people that they know. Now that “terrible life” is my life.

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What single doesn’t hate this at least a little bit?

I remember in year’s past not having dates on Valentine’s Day and being frustrated or angry. As I drove down the road, I heard that radio ad and the thoughts flooded into my mind. You’re still single. You’ll always be single. Everyone else has someone. You’ve failed at this part of your life. You haven’t had a date in months—something must be wrong with you.

A lot of singles take on hobbies, give themselves over to endless Netflix watching, become exercise fanatics, or any number of things to distract them from their singleness. It’s as if the moment we realize that we are single, we realize that this means that we are alone. Sometimes, one is the loneliest number. And so we push it deep down, and even though we congratulate our friends after every new engagement (seriously, do these things ever end? Can I at least ban them from my Facebook feed? Do you even remember what it feels like to change that status to In A Relationship?), we silently begrudge our friends. We become jealous of their happiness and angry at how our singleness has become a passing joke to them or, even worse, like the leper of conversation topics (Do Not Touch!). We quietly hate ourselves for failing to—to what? be attractive enough? find someone? fall in love?—do whatever we had to do to not be alone. And for many of us, if we are honest, have quietly fostered a nest egg of resentment towards God, who seems to be the parent who gives us everything we want except the thing we want the most. And when we begrudge our friends, hate ourselves and resent God, that is when we truly feel the weight of loneliness.


As the radio ad played and the frustrated thoughts flooded in, something else happened. Years of no Valentine’s Day dates, month after month of seeing friends find their match, and thousands of prayers prayed for God to send me someone came to mind. As they came to mind, they transformed. I found myself not caring that I don’t have a Valentine. For far too long in my life and the life of many other singles, Valentine’s Day has been a reminder of our singleness. Single’s Awareness Day. Not any more.

When it comes to an awareness of my singleness, you know what days stand out? Not Valentine’s Day. Not Christmas and its mistletoe. Not July 4 weekends when couples go to the lake, or New Years when lovers kiss as the ball drops, and not Halloween when the matching costumed couples come to the party.

It’s the small days that remind me I’m single.

I’m reminded I’m single when I plan out my week of 30+ hours of work and 15 hours of master’s degree classes.

I’m reminded I’m single when I have time to meet with a high school student only hours after he and his serious girlfriend broke up and he’s devastated.

I’m reminded I’m single when I meet with other single guys for times of confession, prayer, and then hanging out without a time limit or anyone I need to run back to.

I’m reminded I’m single on the weeks when every single night or every single lunch is booked with some sort of discipleship, counseling, or venting session.

I’m reminded I’m single when big opportunities come up and I consider uprooting my life on a moment’s notice.

I’m reminded I’m single, and have been single for some time, when I am able to walk with newly out of college guys through their struggles in singleness.

I’m reminded I’m single when I get to read on my night’s off for hours with little to no other distractions.

I’m reminded I’m single when I make decisions for others without much more than a second thought as to how it will require sacrifice from me.


The Apostle Paul calls this the undivided life. Too many of us have spent an unreasonable amount of time suppressing our devastation at the fact that we are still single. Our time would have been far better spent investing in others, and not creating a cycle of self-misery.

Dating is fun. Having someone is nice; it’s nice to have someone.

Marriage is a great and sacred thing. It is a picture of the gospel itself—a picture of self-sacrifice, servitude, and submission. We can not speak highly enough of marriage.

When I read the words of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians, I can’t help but come away with the idea that singleness is not just an acceptable alternative to marriage for people who aren’t adequate marriage material. Instead, it seems that there is something about singleness that is better in some way. It’s the undivided life.

Sure, you may not have Valentine’s Day dates. But 24 years without a Valentine’s Day date is not a referendum on the quality of your life, nor a judgment of your likeability. It’s not a condemnation to a lifetime with Valentine’s Day dates, or a promise to remain single forever. No, singleness today is just a reminder that today and every other day that you are single is another day that you are able to live an undivided life.

If you’re single this Valentine’s Day, eat a whole pint of ice cream in your pajamas while marathoning Parks and Recreation.

Who’s to impress? You’re single.

More importantly, take Valentine’s Day and every other day and live it with your interests undividedly focused on the Lord.

After all, you’re single.

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