Mari and Grace: Grace and I met at a birthday party a few years ago in Denver, Colorado. I was a graduate student with a one year position in Boulder at the time, and wasn’t looking for anything serious. However, Grace knew how to “hold on loosely” and seem to intuitively understand what I needed in a partner. Nine months after we meet it was time for me to head back to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Despite vowing that I would never do long-distance dating again, we just couldn’t let go of the loving and joyful relationship we’d begun to build. We somehow managed two years of long distance – trying to see each other at least every 5 or 6 weeks and taking longer visits when my graduate work allowed. I was finally able move “home” to Denver last September. We will celebrate our 4th anniversary in the fall.
Photographer: Pro-gay vendor Timothy Faust Photography
Grace unknowingly made it very difficult to propose! But I to be fair, I suppose I was the “difficult” one first. I had voiced fears about marriage. I felt disapproving family would place too much pressure on any long term relationship – that there was no room for mistakes, no room for failure ever. All the while, I was working with a local artist to have a custom ring make for Grace. I just wanted us to be on the same page as far as fears and expectations. What I didn’t know is that, as these conversations were occurring, Grace had been thinking about buying me a ring and proposing on an upcoming trip. Instead of an engagement ring, I got a promise ring, a reminder of what we were moving towards someday – on the most idyllic beach… at sunset… in Thailand!! If only I had a better brain-to-mouth filter! I realized I would have to be one to propose first, but that didn’t mean it was going to be easy. I kept planning elaborate proposal schemes. Cross country skiing in Minnesota was nixed because of an injury, hiking in Boulder was vetoed for other events, and a valentines day proposal was aborted after realizing the play we had tickets to see was about marriage infidelity! I finally proposed at a local coffee shop. I convinced Grace that I had work to do on a Saturday, and begged her to come along. I’d written a “Wife Resume” – a fake resume of what I thought I could bring to her future and the reasons I wanted to be her wife. She had been proof-reading resumes for the past month, so it wouldn’t seem out of place to ask her to read one more. BUT she was expecting to get work done and set aside my “resume” for later. I was sweating though my shirt, heart racing, staring a blank computer screen with the realization that I had absolutely nothing to do for the next few hours but freak out. With some gentle, and then not so gentle nudging (at one point her exact words were “You can’t tell me what to do”) I finally got her to open the resume. Obviously, she said yes!