It was November of 1993. Hubs and I were in luuuuv, and he was ready to pop the question. But he is a good Southern boy, and he knew, therefore, that he had to ask my daddy first.
Hubs isn’t easily intimidated by things. In fact, people who first meet him sometimes find him intimidating. He takes things exactly as they come, with a level head, and he almost never over-reacts or worries.
Except this time. The poor guy was a nervous wreck about talking to my dad. I’m the only daughter, the first-born, and my dad and I always have been close. AND Dad had a tendency for giving the boys I dated a hard time (I had shared all the stories with Hubs). He knew this might be hard.
Because Hubs is a smart man, he chose the big moment carefully. My parents had come to visit me at college, and Hubs took my dad to a Razorback basketball practice. This automatically put them on common ground, and (best of all) eliminated the need for that great killer of courage, eye contact.
As they sat there together, the thumping of the basketballs and the squeaking of the rubber-soled shoes echoing all around them, Hubs summoned his nerve.
"Mr. [maiden name]," he started, "I think you know that Shannon and I have become very serious."
My dad silently nodded.
"And I love her very much."
More silence. Poor Hubs.
"And I’d like to ask your permission to marry her."
Dad didn’t speak for a minute. As he always does when he’s reflecting (and my dad is usually reflecting), he gently rubbed his upper lip with his index finger. His eyes stayed on the basketball players in front them. He let the silence linger in the air just as long as he possibly could.
Then he spoke.
"Let me ask you a question."
"For 21 years, Shannon’s mother and I have prayed every single day about the man she would marry. Every day."
Yep, another pause.
"What I want to ask you is, are you the man worthy of all that prayer?"
(May I just say how thankful I am that the world is structured the way it is? If I had been the one required to ask such a question, and I’d received such an answer, I probably would’ve started crying.)
But Hubs said the only thing a confident young man with the world at his feet could say: "Yes sir, I think I am!"
The conversation was easy and gracious from then on, as my dad gave Hubs his blessing and encouraged him.
I love that story. It makes for a few good chuckles when we tell it now, but it still–14 years later–warms me to the core. I treasure that Hubs loved me enough to humble himself willingly. I treasure that my dad loved me enough to make it hard. I love that those two men are such good friends now.
And you can bet my husband is saving that line to use himself, when some sparkly-eyed boy comes sniffing around our daughter. I pity the boy.