Today’s post is another excerpt from Full Quiver’s book, “Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship.” Chris and Micki share how their courtship began:
Chris: We were sitting at our mutual friends’ house, talking about courtship and marriage. Somehow or another, she said that she wouldn’t marry someone who didn’t love her enough to save himself for her even before they met. He absolutely had to be a virgin. That struck me as an incredibly high ideal. But also – and I think this is why she thought I was argumentative and pompous – I got a little bit defensive about what she was saying. When I was younger, and wasn’t well-formed religiously, I came pretty close to falling in that area, and not saving myself for the girl I’d eventually marry. But I see now that the grace of God preserved me in that. So I was argumentative, because I wanted to defend myself and where I had been when I was younger. That’s why I posed questions like, “What if somebody only fell once, and it was many years ago, and they really regret it now, and they repented of it and never did it again?” She kept insisting that no, that wasn’t good enough for her. The person had to have saved himself for her.
Micki: I explained that I could still be friends with that person. I wouldn’t judge that person. We can still be best buds for life. But I wouldn’t marry that person, because he didn’t love me enough to wait for me.
Chris: My first thought was “good luck with that.” Her ideals seemed a little too high, and she didn’t seem flexible enough. But after I’d left, and had the chance to reflect, I was really inspired by what she’d said. Partly, it was because I realized, “Hey! I still do qualify!” and that this is a woman who is a pearl of extremely high price. She knows that she’s worth a lot (and not in an arrogant way). She knows her value and her dignity, and she’s not going to allow herself to be bought cheaply. She wasn’t going to be given away to just any guy who came along.
Micki: I was not desperate. I was not looking for a man and I was going to wait until I found the right one.
Chris: Right. I concluded that Micki was a person who was worth striving to get to know, and to see if something could really happen with her. That was why I was so dogged in calling her, and why I continued to call for a month. It helped that she didn’t let on that she wasn’t interested. So I thought, Wow, she keeps taking my calls. She keeps staying on the phone with me for an hour and a half. She must really be interested in me. Of course, she wasn’t, but I didn’t know that. That’s what kept me going through that month or whatever it was before we actually got together for our first date.
Micki: We met on November 20th of 1993 and we went out for the first time on January 6th of 1994. I should explain a little more why I said what I did about not marrying someone who didn’t love me enough to wait for me. Something happened when I was 16, just kind of by happenstance. I was laying in bed one night, and I just prayed (and I’m sure it was the grace of God that inspired me to pray this), “Dear God, please help me to save myself for the man that I’m going to marry, and please help me to wait for marriage.” That simple prayer kept me out of a lot of trouble as I got older and went through life. When I was in college, someone had said, “Start praying now for whomever it is you’re going to marry.” So, probably freshman or sophomore year, I started praying, “Dear God, please bless whoever it is you have for me to marry.” And I might have even added, “Please help him to love me enough, even now, to save himself for me, even though he doesn’t know me yet.”
When Chris started calling, I tried to find a way to gently tip him off that I wanted him to stop calling. I kept dropping these little hints that had always worked before to scare guys off…like, “I’ve already got my wedding dress, because it was on sale 75 percent off when I was a second year law student, and I couldn’t pass that up.” Usually, guys would say, “She’s scary.” But he said, “Wow, what does it look like?”
Chris: You’re thrifty.
Micki: Rats, that didn’t work. So the next phone conversation, I say, “My dad has hated every guy I’ve ever dated.” He said, “Oh, you just haven’t brought the right guy home yet.” Darn, that didn’t work either.
Chris: I had encountered fathers much worse. I was confident with anything her dad could throw at me.
Micki: But my ace in the hole was always, “When I get married, I want to have four kids.” I was a Protestant at the time, so four kids seemed like a whole lot of children. He said to me, “What? Only four?” I said, “How many kids do you want to have when you get married?” He said, “Oh, 10, 12, however many God sends me.” I had the same reaction to that that he had when I said “I’m not marrying someone who hasn’t saved himself for me.” I thought, man, this guy is crazy. But later on when I reflected on it, I realized this guy values family. He likes kids. Maybe I’d better rethink trying to blow this guy off. That was the beginning of the turning point.
Chris and Micki have been married for 15 years and have four children. This is an excerpt from their story “An Incredibly High Ideal” in Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship, to be published this June.
Photo and Text copyright 2011 Full Quiver Publishing