Although our face to face meeting wasn't love at first sight, I'd started to get an inkling I'd fall for her prior to that, as we'd met online. Weeks of chatting till all hours of the night allowed me to see that this was someone I'd clicked with. She dazzled me.
We never made a conscious decision to live together. In fact, every aspect of our relationship has come naturally. We planned in the early days to spend three nights a week together. That soon changed to three nights apart, then two, then one. Before we even had a routine of that, we were spending every night together and it hadn't been a decision. Even buying our house came naturally. Rather than discussing it in advance, we just went house hunting for an afternoon activity and suddenly we were in love with our home and thought "why not?" We did discuss our expectations of living together, and what that meant to us both, but it was never a "time to move in together" conversation.
I mentioned my love for zucchini fritters on one of our first dates at a Turkish restaurant. She's a chef and said "I used to make them. I could make them for you"."Marry me!" I said gleefully. When she agreed, I decided that was too easy. "No, actually. Make them once a month for twelve months and I'll propose". I'd pretty much decided I was going to "marry" this woman from the beginning, so making her cook 12 months worth of fritters was just a bonus for me.
(I should point out I'm calling it marriage/ wedding etc. It's actually a committment ceremony. Sorry if that offends anyone).
At her birthday party, a family friend said to her "I love this girl! You should marry her!" and she replied "I'm working on it". So it hit me.... sitting chatting to her family, it hit me. I was going to propose at her birthday party in 2009 with all her family and friends around. Then I struggled with the "public" nature of that. Perhaps something more intimate, something more at the beach. Maybe at home. Either way, I knew I would marry this woman. I just didn't tell anyone... even my Bride-To-Be.
We went away for the weekend to the beach, and I lay on the grass by the ocean thinking "this is exactly where I want to marry this woman". But still I didn't say anything.
A month or so passed, and we went to the movies together. I can't recall what we were seeing, but prior to the movie starting, I mentioned weddings. I said "when we're ready, I think we should do it at (beach name)". She grinned, but didn't say much.The next night, she sent me the wedding brochure for the venue. "Okay," I said, "but I'm proposing when the time is right". I'd been engaged before, she hadn't. I thought she should get the nice proposal. I was no longer worrying about the twelve months. By this stage we'd bought a home together, and I was ready. We were ready.
I went online, I researched ways to do the proposal. We went Christmas shopping and she innocently pointed out a ring. I did a special order for it the next day. The jeweller said she remembered us and thought it was really cute that I rushed back in. I'm not great at keeping secrets like this, but I did so well... didn't tell anyone!
And that's it for now.... the rest to follow!