As Stephanie and I begin to get things in order for moving to Turkey, it has come to our attention that there are many similarities and parallels between this experience and our courtship. It sounds strange at first, but let’s take a look at what’s already been done that is similar.
Step 1. The Introduction
Stephanie and I met on one of the first days of her freshman year (my junior year) as she was supposed to follow me to an off-campus picnic. I promptly lost her blocks away from where had started. She eventually made it to the picnic and rightly and immediately sassed me for being such a poor leader. She remembers nothing of this. But from that moment of sassing, she planted a seed in my brain and heart of intrigue and that seed managed to grow into a beautiful relationship.
With Turkey, some friends introduced us to the opportunity back in January. I’m not sure if they truly expected us to take them up on it and well, I didn’t expect it either, but there was a seed planted in both of our hearts and minds that this opportunity would be worth considering and consider we did.
Step 2. Deliberation
Over the next 18 months to two years, Stephanie and I got to know each other, slowly at first, then more rapidly when we were fortunate enough to have a class together, public speaking. Those days of smiles, flirtation, waiting, being afraid, and uncertainty were amazing and painful for us both, but they provided the necessary growth for us to get to the next step.
With Turkey, we spent the next few weeks praying and talking about the opportunity. We spent many emotional nights proposing the what ifs of things that could happen while we were away from home. It was painful and joyful all at the same time as many of our family members and friends had health problems during that time, but all of those things seemed to give growth and peace to us both.
Step 3. The Application
As Stephanie and I finally decided to date each other (well, honestly more like me letting go of my pride and stupidity) we had some great dates, some long talks and simply began to get to know each other a bit deeper each day, figuring out if this was a relationship that could turn into something even more beautiful than it already was.
With Turkey, we sent in our application before we had truly decided if this was something we were ready to commit to, but we filled out the paper work and started to get to know Turkey better to see if we wanted to go. We bought books on the culture and even a CD to learn a bit of Turkish.
Step 4. Falling in Love
Stephanie and I grew more and more fond of each other as we continued to have more amazing conversations and experiences together. We both made up our minds that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with each other and would say yes if asked.
With Turkey, as we got to know the culture, the food, the language, the people, we just could not help but fall in love with the possibility of going there. We made up our minds that if asked to go, we would go.
Step 5. Getting Permission
One of the most nerve racking tasks of our courtship (at least for me) was asking Stephanie’s father for permission to ask for her hand in marriage. I think he might have actually been more nervous than I was, but we had a good conversation and the table was set for me to ask.
With Turkey, after our application was sent in we were informed that we were permitted to go to the next step, which involved a couple of interviews and filling out various psychological tests to see if we would be accepted.
Step 6. The Engagement
I proposed to Stephanie by writing a children’s book that recounted our entire story. The final line was the proposal. And she said Yes! After which we called our family and friends to let them know the big news. It was however most fun to tell people in person.
While nobody got down on one knee and there were no diamonds or romantic stories, we heard, we accepted and we started to call people and let them know the big news. We are going to Turkey, it still feels exciting to say. After we’d taken care of everybody on the most important list through phone calls and emails, we sent out updates via Twitter and word spread like wild fire.
Step 7. The Guest List
One of the first things we started to do after getting engaged was to put together a guest list. After that was finalized we could decide things like venue for the ceremony and reception. So we had a gigantic Excel spreadsheet with names, addresses and things of that nature.
Now as we seek to find supporters for our adventure to Turkey, we will again consult a list of family and friends to take this journey with us. I’ve been adding to the list daily. If you’d like to be part of the guest list, we have no opposition to adding people.
It’s been an amazing adventure already and we hope to be continually blessed on our journey. We’re still waiting to see what other steps will be interesting parallels to our courtship.