A Love Story
Will You Marry Me? The 23-year-old man said to his 22-year-old girlfriend after singing a snippet of John Legend’s song “Stay” and while, unbeknownst to his soon-to-be fiancé, their close friends looked on. With tears of joy streaming down her face and a slight feeling of embarrassment (she thought this night was to celebrate their two-year relationship
and now she felt bad all she had gotten her man was a business card holder and an Usher CD) she said what everyone hoped would come out of her mouth. “Yes, I will marry you!”.
This is my story of how it all went down, excluding the parts about me sweating bullets when I asked her parents for their blessing. It also doesn’t tell how many times I looked at the ring, in my closet, barely able to contain myself and wait for the appropriate time to let my girl in on my little secret – that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.
I’ve always been told to begin with the end in mind which simply means to go into a situation having thought a few moves ahead. I found it usually saved me unnecessary heartache and headaches if I was able to look down the road and avoid any disaster coming my way. So, taking my own advice to heart – what did I see in her and how I knew she was the One?
We Took Things Slow
We met in our junior year of college
and both we’re in relationships at the time that we knew would soon be coming to an end. Our usual routine was to start-up a conversation near the end of class that would we would continue on after being dismissed. We always seemed to eventually find ourselves sitting in her car to wrap up our thoughts. I offered her my number and she took it but didn’t return the favor (this was her way of letting me down easy). Our conversations and committed relationships with other people gave us a chance to really just be friends – no holding hands, no kissing, no anything. When she talked, I really took time to listen. She didn’t hesitate to return the favor. I slowly started to see what type of woman she was. She was different.
Simple Things Made Us Happy
Fast forward a few months and she approached me after class with a question she hadn’t asked me up until that point. “What are you cooking this weekend?” A simple question, yes, unless you consider the fact that I was 21 at the time and most college guys didn’t cook. Yet, coming from her, it was a very loaded question since I assumed she was still in a relationship and I know she wouldn’t come at me like that if she still was. I was cool about it and replied “Nothing much, I’ll probably just cook some spaghetti after I get off work.” Who knew that my plans to whip up a quick Italian dinner for myself would end up being the meal we ate on our first date.
She came over that weekend to the apartment I shared with my best friend from high school after my shift at the department store had ended. It was about 9pm and I welcomed her in a t-shirt and basketball shorts while she was dressed in a denim outfit and boots. I served spaghetti, a side salad and V-8 Splash to drink (I accidentally picked up the diet version). Since I didn’t have a coffee table I just grabbed an old Dell computer box I had lying around, flipped it upside down and we ate on top of that. Before we knew it, it was 3am. She didn’t complain about the diet juice or the makeshift dining table. Instead, this girl and I had literally passed the time by talking and laughing about nothing and it was clear neither of us wanted it to end. I was falling for her.
Our time together over the next few months would play out just the same way. Because I had a roommate, we spent most our time in my bedroom, on my bed, with our clothes on, sharing a $5 box of Little Caesar’s Pizza and watching the same movie, Jason’s Lyric, over and over. It was clear that the simple pleasures in life were all we needed and it made us see that if we could spend all our time cooped up in a tiny bedroom and still have our sanity then we might just be meant to spend the rest of our lives together.
She Was My Everything
Sure, we had become very close friends. Yes, we had great conversation that usually involved lots of laughing. But what we really made me believe she just might be the One is when I started noticing she possessed the best parts of all my female friends – all wrapped up in a 5’5” bundle of chocolatey goodness. In other words, I didn’t have to look further than her to find someone who was my best friend, sexy, intelligent, had the same spiritual foundation
I had, was fun and funny, who my family and friends liked, and someone who was stylish and matched the little bit of fly I thought I had. She supported my dreams of wanting to pursue an unstable career in entertainment and was willing to venture with me down the road less traveled. She genuinely wanted me to be happy and I was easily able to reciprocate that for her.
Timing is Everything
Although we were both pretty young by most opinions of when you should get married, our past relationships had primed us to be ready to experience real love with someone who was willing and able to show it. We created a foundation of true friendship and tested it often by removing the clutter of a crowded restaurant or movie theater, shots of Ciroc at the bar, or the other typical things people do when they first start dating and instead, focused on it just being us, in a small room, with simple food and entertainment. I assume intuition showed us that we didn’t need much to be happy. All we needed was each other and that mantra serves as the basis for our relationship today. Timing is everything
. Oh how I knew she was the one because being with her was easy and it just felt right. As I envisioned the many stages of my life I also could vividly picture her right there beside me. As my equal. As the mother of our children. As my gift from God.
I may be compatible with a lot of people but she is my soul mate. She is the One.
Craig Stokes is the creator and host of two web series – Style Minute (60+ episodes and1M+ views) and Craig Stokes Presents: The Show (interviews with celebs and other influential people). He was selected as one of the 7 HBCU Alumni to Watch by Huffington Post where he was compared to fellow HBCU alum, Oprah Winfrey. Craig is also the author of the upcoming book, StokesNotes™. He is originally from West Palm Beach, FL, and lives with his wife and daughter, London, in Fayetteville, NC. Follow Craig on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
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