The Arranged Marriage
- Monday, November 05, 2001
Mercifully the program ended, and it was time to receive from the hand of the master. We gave a full account of all that had transpired over the past few months. We covered the friendship aspect of our relationship; we addressed our age difference (Steve is thirteen years older than me); we talked about what we thought the Lord might be saying; and we reiterated our desire, above all, to do God’s will. The only thing I failed to mention was the tiny detail of the lack of physical attraction on my part.
Pastor Jack paused just long enough to break into a broad smile before he delivered his blessing, “Sounds good to me,” he beamed. “I think you should go for it!” What? That’s it? No alliterated three-point sermon? No big words that I would have to look up when I got home? I was stunned. Before I could react, Anna was offering me a piece of strawberry cheesecake, and we were talking about Jessica Fletcher and that stupid television show again. Help! I’m on a freight train, and I can’t get off.
Little did I know that this “little engine that couldn’t” was about to become a bullet train. Steve left the next day to accompany Pastor Jack to the Foursquare denomination’s district conference. After Pastor Jack was introduced, but before he began to preach, a huge grin burst across his face. Steve was like a son to him and he couldn’t wait any longer to act the proud papa. “Before I begin,” he began, “I have some happy news to announce. Our very own Steve Cauble is engaged to be married to Lisa Whelchel.” Gasps and applause erupted from the crowd.
Let me make sure you have the full picture. Steve knew full well that immediately after the benediction, the Foursquare grapevine would swing into action. It just so happened that Steve’s parents are Foursquare pastors themselves. So he sneaked out of the service and raced to a payphone to call me. I could tell from his voice that something was wrong as he tiptoed on the other line, “Uh…Lisa…you may want to get a hold of your mother before someone else informs her of our impending marriage.”
“Come again,” I said, hoping we just had a really bad connection and I hadn’t actually heard him say that we were engaged and I didn’t even know about it. He tried to explain that there apparently had been a little miscommunication: We obviously hadn’t made it clear to Pastor Jack that we had gone to him for his counsel, not his blessing. “Yowser, Bowser!” he exclaimed.
We hung up and it hit me: I’m engaged to a man who says, “Yowser, Bowser.”
I knew immediately that I would have to leave the church. There was no way I could go through with this. I mean, isn’t there a place in a wedding ceremony where the preacher says, “You may now kiss the bride”? It might be a bit embarrassing if I offered Steve my cheek. No, I would definitely have to leave the church. I realized that I couldn’t continue to attend, knowing that every little old lady I passed in the sanctuary would be whispering, “There goes the Jezebel who broke sweet Steve Cauble’s heart.”
When Steve got back to town, we met for dinner. I anticipated an intense evening of wrestling through our options as we figured out how to clear up this terrible misunderstanding. I was not prepared for how excited Steve was. Did he sincerely believe that just because all of Foursquaredom was thrilled about our engagement that I was too?
Apparently so, because the next thing he said was, “Well, I guess if we are engaged, I ought to buy you a ring.” Why was it so hard for me to say no? Did I really think that I could avoid hurting Steve’s feelings forever by continuing this charade? Sooner or later, I was going to have to do the loving thing and break his heart.
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