This weekend was just for us, but we didn't go anywhere romantic, although candles were involved. We attended an Engaged Encounter weekend, which is an event put together specifically for engaged couples to give them methods for open and honest communication to lay the groundwork for healthy and happy marriages.
There have been many questions asked this weekend - hard questions that might require soul searching; questions that require total honesty with your mate-to-be. But through it all there has been this overwhelming sense of bemusement and relief. Because we became engaged so soon after we started dating, we've had some gentle (and not-so-gentle) concerns expressed over whether we were rushing into this without giving it enough thought. He and I have tried to think of anything that might be an issue and we've spent hours over the past few months discussing them. So it was almost a relief this weekend that there were no new revelations, no shocking truths to uncover, no unnerving opinions that would generate conflict. We were already prepared for everything they mentioned.
Not to say that it wasn't valuable - far from it. This weekend was one of the best things we could have done for our relationship and I honestly mean that. It gave us some tools with which to help strengthen our bond, and to ensure that our marriage is a solid one. Whenever it is that we finally do have an argument (and we *are* trying - we just haven't managed to come up with something to fight about yet! But give us time. The house isn't built and the wedding's not planned), we've now got 9 rules for how to fight.
It's rare that you see people in love who show it - not the embarrassingly cloying public displays of affection that make you want to suggest the two get a room, but the gentle touching, holding hands, the way gazes linger on each other as they talk. It was refreshing to see these signs in couples who'd been married over 30 years - somehow it made what they presented to us all that more relevant. If we were willing to invest the time and energy to build up the lines of honest communication, we could have a marriage solid enough to still be based on love so far down the road.
The catch phrase of the weekend was "The wedding is a day, but the marriage lasts a lifetime." And I firmly believe in that. This is the man I want to marry. He is someone who will construct a bread pig with me out of the leftover loaf after dinner. He joins me in car dancing to The Nutcracker Suite as we are barreling down the freeway. I love finding ways to make him laugh, just as much as he enjoys getting me to dissolve into giggles.
And we've agreed that it's our hope that years and years from now we'll be one of those couples who are still gazing at each other, touching each other, and showing without words that we're still in love, just enough to encourage some other young men and women that such things really do exist.