When we got unengaged it was a couple of weeks before I started a masters program, and we had a long list of things we wanted to accomplish prior to making it official.
Here are the big-ticket items:
- Both of us had to pay all of our credit cards off.
- I needed to sell my condo in Portland.
- We needed to get blessings for our union from the parents.
We both had racked up some stiff credit card bills, and neither of us wanted to carry those into our engagement, let alone our marriage. We created a repayment plan to have them paid off in about one year. One of the ways we did that was to live in a little cracker-box-sized apartment that was super affordable and REALLY pushed us to communicate and live together well. (Seriously, the first time my mom saw our bathroom all we could hear was laughter because “it feels like I am on an airplane.”)
When I was pretty young I had purchased a two-bedroom condo in Portland, and my tenants had just moved out. After a huge fiasco with tenants, which included them changing my contact information with the HOA (so not an OK thing), mass destruction of the condo, and a serious flea infestation, we were rehabbing the property to get it on the market.
Our families are very close knit, and our parents are more or less traditional. We really wanted to include our parents in our engagement, and we knew that both of our parents would be very happy to be included. It wasn’t that we felt like we were their property to be given away or that we would end our relationship if there was disapproval (we knew there wouldn’t be), we just truly wanted to include them in our plans.
Oh, I should also mention that my father had a pre-req for my sisters and me that he had always publicized: we had to have graduated with a bachelor’s degree before he would walk us down the aisle. My dad didn’t have the opportunity to go to college, and he wanted to make sure that his kids put themselves and education before relationships. This pre-req was handled right out of high school for me.
After living in the cracker box (talking 300ish square feet for two adults), a job change for Sweetie Scone, and keeping to a strict budget, we were really close to ZERO CREDIT CARD BALANCES!
In February the condo was listed for sale and two weeks later I had a full-price offer! The closing was set for April, and we decided to use some of the proceeds from the sale to pay off the remainder of our credit card debt and order our ring a dings.
Which brought us to the parental units… Sweetie Scone ended up at my parents’ house without me while my mom was out of town. She and my dad were sitting in the TV room, and she asked for his blessing and then this commercial came on:
Video via YouTube
My dad said to her, “Well, we just had that talk.” When she told me my heart melted a little. He was very happy to welcome her to the family and was also incredibly appreciative that she would talk with him about our intentions.
My talk with her parents had to be done on a phone call because they were living in Kansas City and we were in the Bay Area…so one night as I sat in my car before heading into class I called to have “the talk.” As I was talking with them I of course started crying—gah, sometimes I am so emotional. Her mom said that I had their blessing the first time I met them. Cue more tears…
We were checking off our pre-reqs rapid-fire style…so we decided that during finals week we should move to a bigger place! No more cracker box. AND, Sweetie Scone’s mom was heading out for a girls’ weekend with us a couple of weeks after the pre-reqs were completed!
We picked our rings up…
…and headed to SFO to pick up Sweetie Scone’s mom, my FMIL!!! We headed right to dinner (and were clearly not prepared for picture day).
It was so nice to have our pre-reqs done before my FMIL came out for a visit. We loved being able to share the excitement with her!