Let’s enjoy every part of our relationship,” said Stuart with great enthusiasm. We were discussing our engagement. How long should we wait to get married, we wondered. What was the point of an engagement anyway? There had to be more to it than diamonds glistening in the sun!
Of course the diamonds were a special part of it for me. What young girl doesn’t dream about the romantic moment Romeo proposes and slips the ring on Juliet’s finger? And so after deciding the big issues—like the waiting period and just what we would do with it-we decided to attend to the lesser, but nonetheless exciting business of purchasing the symbol of our promises to each other.
The traditional ring in our day was one with three diamonds set in a row. Some people would tend toward the extravagant and buy a solitaire, and others dared to vary the stones a little, but three seemed proper and right for us, not least because we wanted to remember that God was the center of our marriage and Stuart and I were set securely down each side of Him. We were all bound up in the bundle of life’s experience together by an eternal circle of gold—speaking of the sterling quality of His commitment to us and to our marriage.
The event wasn’t quite what I had imagined it would be however, seeing it had to be fitted amid Stuart’s busy banking and speaking schedule and my teaching responsibilities. And so we found ourselves in downtown Liverpool during rush hour buying the first pretty three—diamond ring we saw.
Never mind, I thought to myself, I’m sure Stuart will make up for the lack of atmosphere by his Wordsworthlike words as he gives it to me. I remembered vaguely someone giving a talk about the sort of man Christian girls should look for and saying somewhat severely, “What do you want, character or atmosphere?” Recalling this I couldn’t help wondering why a bit of both shouldn’t be a possibility!
As we tumbled back to the car through heavy traffic and unwrapped our precious parcel, Stuart gently took my hand and fitted the ring on my third finger. Here it is, I thought excitedly.
“Well darling,” my brand-new fiancée announced emphatically with an extraordinary amount of satisfaction, “that’s that!” And believe it or not, that was indeed that. So much for my romantic, poetic dreams, I thought to myself. Never mind though, I’m sure he will improve as time goes on.
Returning home we discovered my mother talking to a friend who sold diamonds. She was busy promising her that we would buy the ring from her. Flashing my third finger furiously in front of her, my mother pushed the phone into my hand to explain and I stammered, “Oh Mrs. Cappell, I’m so sorry. We’ve already purchased the ring. But—but—maybe next time!” My mother disappeared chuckling and I said goodbye as Stuart firmly took the phone out of my hands, replaced it in the cradle, took me in his arms, and said just as enthusiastically and emphatically as the first time—
“There won’t be a next time, Jill! Don’t you remember I told you—That’s That.”
And suddenly those two little words became the most romantic, loving incredible words in the whole wide world!
They spoke of a man who had chosen to be a man of his word and commit himself to me for all time, till death parted us. They told me that while seedtime and harvest, winter and summer, snow and heat continued, he would continue steadfastly loving and cherishing me. Above all they told me I could count on that faithfulness morning and evening—Monday to Sunday, January to December. I wouldn’t need to wonder if he was flirting, or wishing he wasn’t married to me. It wouldn’t matter if we were in the same room or 3,000 miles apart, I would be able to thoroughly trust him out of sight. Yes, those two little words were wonderful and there have been hundreds of times in the intervening years I have repeated them to myself!
Just Between Us Magazine