At the Flip of a Coin

Today marks 10 years since the day I asked my wife to marry her (it actually came around last Friday, but internet issues and a busy schedule delayed me posting this).

That’s a pretty huge deal.  And to mark this occasion, I’ve determined now is the time to reveal what actually happened on that fateful night when we flipped a coin to decide whether we would spend the rest of our lives together.

Okay, maybe I should back up a bit…

I was in an incredibly bad state when I first met my wife.  I had been recently dumped by a girl I had been dating for over four years.  A girl I was sure I was going to marry.  I was devastated.  Certain no one could ever stay with me.  Completely sure I couldn’t trust anyone with my love.  The fact that the relationship had actually been a rather bad one, at least toward the end, didn’t play into my feelings toward it.  Although it probably didn’t help how terrified I was of jumping into any new relationships.

Throughout the three years from the moment I began dating my now-wife to the day I finally popped the question, my now-wife spent a lot of time trying to talk to me about the idea of marriage.  She was sold on the idea of us making ourselves official pretty darn early on in the process of our dating.  I was petrified by such an idea.

Just a few months prior to meeting my now-wife, I had been certain I was going to marry the girl I had been dating for four years.  In fact, when she broke up with me, I came to the conclusion it was due to how I had been dragging my feet in actually popping the question.  I was so sure of this idea that I actually attempted to call her father to ask if he would give me his blessing so I could ask her right away and fix the issue.  Luckily for me, he didn’t answer and my proposal ended up being nothing more than a vague suggestion later in the day which was responded to with a definitive negative response.

It didn’t actually take me all that long to realize she had been right in her response.  Marriage would have been a terrible plan for us.  But learning I was so wrong about this relationship, about how it would work on the long term basis of marriage, terrified me.  If I had been so wrong then, how could I not be wrong any time I thought I could spend my life with someone.

Because of this, whenever my now-wife would bring up the topic of marriage, I would shut her down.  Some of our worst (and nearly only) fights ever were completely based around how I wouldn’t even discuss marriage with her.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I knew I loved her.  I told her as much pretty early on in our relationship.  I was the actually first to say the words.  But I was incapable of making such a huge decision.  Incapable of even considering it.

Things finally changed when I came to a point in my occupational life where I realized I needed to make a change and I started looking at schools.  I fell in love with a school which would require me to move across the country.

Upon revealing my interest in this school, my now-wife noted that if I expected her to move across the country with me, I should at least be willing to talk about marriage.  To converse about making things official.  To give her a reason to believe she wouldn’t be stuck on the other side of the country being broken up with by the guy who made her move.

And, considering I ended up in Wisconsin because of a very similar situation, I couldn’t fault her.  And for the first time in over three years, I allowed myself to consider the idea of marriage.

And when I did, the answer came to me almost immediately.  I don’t believe I even spent a whole day considering it.  I actually remember precisely where I was when I came to the realization that there wsa only one answer to the question.

I had to marry her.

This happened on my way out the door from a performance for a show about a murder at a wedding where I played the groom.  After spending an evening in a tuxedo exchanging vows with a different blonde girl, I walked out to my car, and came to the conclusion right there, standing next to the dumpster with “BUSH LIES” spray painted on it.  This moment stands out in my mind much more vividly than the proposal itself even.

So, that night, sitting together on the couch in her apartment, I gave her my biggest smile before getting down on one knee and asking her to marry me.  I had considered a much bigger affair, but now that I knew what I wanted, I couldn’t wait to develop something bigger.

I couldn’t even wait to get a ring.  I needed to ask her as soon as I could.  I needed to make it official.

And do you know what happened when I got down on that knee and said those infamous four words?

She scowled at me.

Because, you see, as far as she was concerned, I was still that guy who didn’t talk about marriage.  To her, this moment was not an honest gesture.  If anything, I was poking fun at her.

However, I was smart enough to realize this would be her response.  I knew that she wouldn’t take my proposal seriously.  But I also knew something else.  I knew it was meant to be.  And I had prepared for precisely this moment.

So, I asked her, “What if we flip a coin?  You choose heads or tails and if you get it, we’ll get married.”

She scoffed at me, saying something along the lines of, “I’m not going to *make* you marry me based on a coin flip.”

I smiled and reminded her I had just asked her to marry me and, after a fair amount of coercion, she relented and decided to humor me with the coin flip.

She called heads, and the coin came up heads.  And so, again, I got down on the knee and asked her to marry me.

She turned me down.

I suggested we flip again, best two out of three.  She sighed in frustration, but ultimately decided to humor me.  So I flipped it, she called heads, and again it came up heads.  And she shut me down before I could even fully get down on the knee again.

I looked her in the eyes and said, “I want to marry you.  I will marry you.  And I am so certain of it, that I don’t care how many times I flip this coin, it will always come up us.”

And I flipped the coin again.  And again it came up heads.

My proposal may not be as grand as some.  It may not be as romantic as many.  But it was a gesture of confidence.  A confidence I hadn’t been able to show for much of our relationship.

I knew this was meant to be.  Not only would my fear of marriage not be able to stop it, but neither would the randomness of a flipping coin.

And I haven’t regretted that decision a single day since.

I kept that penny in my pocket for years until we finally moved into our own home where I placed it in a framed picture of the two of us from our wedding. Unfortunately, it’s somehow managed to move itself outside of the frame, hiding from even the most detailed of search.  I only hope it’s gone off to help someone else find their happiness as it helped me find mine.

(Also, for the record, no, it was not a two-headed penny.)


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