The Arranged Marriage
- Monday, November 05, 2001
I was able to postpone the inevitable one more time when he said, “My friend Doug bought Christa an engagement ring at the mall. Let’s go look there.” Whew, I was off the hook. The truth is, I’d known for a long time what kind of engagement ring I wanted. I also knew—no offense—that I certainly wasn’t going to find it at the mall. I was sure that it would have to be designed specifically for me. I mean, really now.
As we drove to the mall, I rested secure in my superior taste in jewelry. The man behind the counter asked me if I had anything in particular in mind. “Well, frankly, I do. But I’ve never actually seen the ring; I’ve just imagined it. Perhaps it would help if I drew it.” The gentleman handed me a piece of paper, and I proceeded to draw an emerald-cut diamond in the center surrounded by two triangular, trillion cuts on each side.
The jeweler studied the slip of paper and then reached into the case and pulled out a ring. “You mean this one?” he asked.
There it was—my ring—the one I had never actually seen before. Oh no, I thought. I had drawn it! I couldn’t take it back and say, “Well, no, come to think of it, it was more circular in shape.”
Steve was elated. He whipped out his credit card and bought it on the spot. I’m pretty sure I even heard him say, “Praise the Lord.” But the Lord obviously had nothing to do with this. I mean, God created man and woman; He created the way they created babies. He knows about these things. He surely wasn’t a part of all these “coincidences.”
A few days later I panicked and caught the first flight to Nashville to visit my childhood friend, Michelle. Either she would help me figure out what to do or I could just have my belongings shipped to Tennessee. When I got there I went to the local Christian bookstore and bought every book in the shelf on “how to find the will of God.”
I spent the next three days in bed, alternately pouring over these books and pouring out my heart to God. This had gotten way out of hand and had escalated into a crisis of faith. It was more than an issue of whether Steve was the man I was to marry; this was now about whether God was the God I was to serve.
The way I saw it, either this was all a big joke and God had capriciously manipulated our lives for His own sick entertainment, or this was all my fault for not having the courage to say no or this was God’s plan for my life and I was destined to marry a man for whom I felt very little attraction. To me, all the options were devastating.
Because either my past was all a lie or my future was to be lived as one, I had to find the truth. What did I know for certain? Let’s start at the beginning: Okay, I believe there is a God. I have met Him personally, and He has proven Himself trustworthy in my life many times. I know that I know that He adores me and that He is good through and through. He is stronger than the devil’s schemes, and He is more powerful than circumstances, coincidences, or cowardliness. I could rest in this because I also knew for certain that I had sought His will with a pure heart.
The choice was mine. Was I going to trust God or trust my heart? I knew the decision I had to make, and I felt an unexplainable peace about it. When I boarded a plane home, I was wearing my new engagement ring and carrying the “Now That You Are Engaged” book I had purchased earlier in the week. I figured that since I had decided to marry this man whether the feelings were there or not, I could probably use all the help I could get.
The first suggestion in the book was that I fill out a sheet of paper entitled, “What I love about my fiancé.” I took out a legal pad and began to list all of Steve’s wonderful qualities. There was never a question about how much I admired and respected him, so this was easy. I even recall a time shortly after getting to know Steve when I remarked to a friend, “If the woman who marries Steve Cauble doesn’t realize what a prize she has, I will personally pay her a visit and knock some sense into her.”
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