Prepping for lifelong love Part 1

One month ago today, something very important happened in my life.

It’s true that it was likely more important in a Junior Tribe Members life…but this is my blog 🙂 and so I’m making this about me.  After all, I am now a MOTG (mother of the groom).

It was in summer that he began talking about the proposal around the dinner table.  They’d been dating each other since early high school…they have a solid relationship with no drama.  She’s been a part of our family dinners and occasions for years…now it is time to make it official.

JTM would throw out ideas, and we would toss around possibilities for how to make it special.  He was in charge of what would happen…but he made it fun by letting me suggest tweaks.  Some he took.  Some he didn’t.

He got T’s input on the ring by casually browsing with her over the spring. She had some ideas…and they evolved and developed over time. He knew what T liked. What she didn’t know was that he took her ideas and had the ring of their dreams made.  All those years of seeing each other and dreaming and planning suddenly became a concrete expression of love in the ring.

Only trouble for me was that special ring was in the house for almost 3 months before the big reveal.  That’s a long time to hold such an exciting bit of news quiet.  My life as a therapist is holding the confidences of many–I’m a pro at keeping quiet–but when its a JTM and its about the love of his life and the ring is beautiful and I’m excited…well, my well honed steel trap was tested significantly (but prevailed, I proudly say).

Sometimes boys cut corners. A JTM can think he cleaned up supper when the dishes make it from the table just to the counter.  The laundry is as good as put away when the laundry basket reaches the bedroom.

Sometimes boys recognizes there are places and times where cutting a single corner just won’t do.  All stops are pulled out. There is an investment in getting Every. Detail. Perfect.

This proposal was one of those times when he rose to the occasion–he put in a ton of effort and paid attention to each little aspect of the moment when he would ask her to spend the rest of their lives together. He loves her, and the extravagance of the proposal was significant to him to be able to have her know and remember that forever.


Sometimes those JTM’s do make a mama’s heart fairly burst with pride, joy, love, and a whole buncha other stuff. I mean, seriously…there are days in raising these children where you wonder if they will ever be able to match socks, actually put the laundry into the hamper, or say thank you without being reminded.  And then one day, you turn around, and he is spending the fall season dreaming about how to make a moment in time the memory of a lifetime for the love of his life. I’m crazy thrilled about his efforts.

That’s awesome (and I don’t use that word lightly!)

So…in the weeks before the big day, Engagement Central (aka our living room) the crack in the ceiling was repaired.  The entire room was repainted a beautiful soft white. The ceiling and trim and fireplace got a fresh coat too. We went and ordered flowers and purchased candles long before.  We made ice candle holders, got an ice bucket ready, and made the lists. He planned his speech, and I made plans with her for a pedicure for the appointed time and day to ensure that T kept her schedule open.

The before we ironed and hung curtains (long overdue to be done–better late than never), removed the furniture, ironed tablecloths, and checked the final lists. He wasn’t sleeping from excitement…which was ok, as it gave him hours in the night to practice and refine his speech.

The day of the engagement, I took the day off work..ran errands in the morning getting last minute details done.  It was a family day helping one of our own fulfill a dream–that’s the best sort of day. And in the afternoon, we picked up the roses.  23 is this couple’s number…they started dating on the 23rd, and they often mark special occasions on that day…and now they were getting engaged on the 23rd.  So…we trimmed 23 dozen roses and put them in vases.  We arranged 23 candles all over Engagement Central. We lit candles in ice holders by the sidewalk, and into the room.  We curtained off the rest of the house. We set the table for a romantic dinner for two. He showered put on his suit…and then T said she’d arrive in 10 minutes. The room was beautiful…it was enchanting.

We were hoping for exquisite.  It exceeded our expectations.  It was magical.


We lit the few last candles and everyone except the future groom tore out of there in 4 minutes.  Turns out her 10 was actually 3.75 minutes. We were just getting in the car to leave when T pulled up.

I panicked.  And did the first thing that occurred to me.  We ducked. 

Not my finest moment.  Nothing graceful about it.  After what seemed forever, she got out of her car and walked past our car, curious about where we had disappeared–but she wasn’t suspecting anything.

He cued the music, turned on the camera, and the two of them formalized the commitment for a lifetime together.  They have the video…no one is allowed to hear the private moments they shared…but he did share a still photo from that specie moment with me that I now share with you…

I love you for all that you are, all that you have been, and all you are yet to be. Poster by Bergen and Associates Counselling in Winnipeg

I had no idea it would be so great to have a JTM get engaged.  I had no idea how wonderful it would be to officially be expecting a daughter.

He put so much energy into the engagement. Now they are officially planning the rest of their lives together.  The relationship is wonderful…it has matured from a junior high crush to high school sweethearts to college aged boyfriend-girlfriend to now future husband and wife.

The maturation does not stop now. The relationship doesn’t climax with engagement…or marriage for that matter.  This relationship, as with all relationships will continue to move…and relationships that don’t move forward and develop and deepen..those relationships–well they deteriorate.

I trust them not to do that.  I do.  But we have talked about the value of good premarital counselling. Deliberate, mindful attention to their relationship.


  • To celebrate the strengths.
  • To work out the kinks that all relationships have.
  • To talk about topics that might not have occurred to them to have.
  • To wrestle with how they resolve differences and to recognize patterns that are healthy and ones that may need shifting to become healthier

The engagement was planned and executed with excellence…now they intend to plan the marriage with the same attention to detail.


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