Friday, December 20, 2013

Veritas: Anthony and Amanda


{real life love}
Amanda is a blogger at Worthy of Agape, a columnist at Ignitum Today, a self-published author, and a newly engaged bride-to-be!  I've loved reading snippets of her engagement story and the start of her marriage prep journey on her blog, and was so excited when she agreed to share all the other details of her love story here!  Read on, reader.
The proposal shrine!
The first time we ever met was in September of 2011. I had just accepted a new position as a youth minister at a parish in Denver. Anthony was (and is) a fifth grade teacher at the school attached to that parish. He’d tell you that he thought I was cute but he was not looking for a relationship. I, on the other hand, was in another relationship at the time. 
Fast forward to the spring of 2012. Anthony was asked to be a sponsor for one of the teens in my Confirmation program. He showed up to Confirmation practice early and we started chatting. I casually mentioned something about my boyfriend and that ended the conversation pretty much instantly. He’d tell you I couldn’t stop talking about my boyfriend, but I was so attracted to Anthony that I had to keep my feet on the ground! 
A month later the relationship I was in ended.  The very next day, I saw Anthony teaching his class outside and I stared out the window dreaming about how I’d love to end up with someone like him. 
It wasn’t until the spring of 2013 that we began to date. We’d liked each other and had been flirting, but nothing had come of it. I remember praying and telling God, “Either make something happen with Anthony, or make it go away because this back and forth is driving me nuts.” I knew him well enough to know that he would want to be the one to ask me out. Instead of asking him out I invited him and a few other teachers (buffer!) to the release party for my book. He called to RSVP and thought that my mom (who was handling the RSVPs) was an answering service! She gave him my number and he called me to ask me out. It was only four days after my prayer.
Our first date was fun and casual. Anthony had a few options planned, but asked me a series of questions at dinner and then picked where we went based on my answers. We ended up going roller skating, and despite the fact that I had no socks and fell down more times than I care to reveal, we both had a blast. 
It took Anthony less than 10 hours to contact me after our first date. We spent the next weeks spending time together, celebrating my book release, and getting to know each other. We agreed early on that we wouldn’t kiss unless we got married. Six weeks after we started dating, I drove Anthony to the airport so he could spend the next six weeks in Lebanon visiting family. The time apart, time change, and unreliable phone connections were challenging, but they also showed me how deeply he cared for me even when we were half a world away from each other. He romanced me and made time for me from thousands of miles away. He’d stay up late so he could call me at a normal hour for me. I had a chance to let my inner romantic out and write him love letters. When he came home, I was reassured that he was exactly the man I remembered him being.
Looking back, the months after he got back seem like a blur now. A week or so after he got back I started going to spiritual direction. When my spiritual director asked me why I wanted a spiritual director, I told him, “I want someone to keep me accountable and help me grow spiritually, and I want to discern marriage with Anthony.” 
We continued getting to know each other and began going through the book 1,001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married. We could be goofy and playful together, but we could also have deep, philosophical conversations. We connected on more levels and I always felt so at peace with him – something that had been lacking in every other relationship I’d had. 
In August he asked me to go home with him for Thanksgiving. I joyfully agreed, and a few hours later he told me he loved me for the first time. Hearing him tell me that he loved me was one of the happiest moments of my life.
We celebrated our six month anniversary by going roller skating again. I had socks that time and didn’t fall down once! A month later we left for Michigan so I could meet Anthony's family for the first time. Imagine my nerves! We flew in late Wednesday night and by time we got to his house everyone was already asleep. 
I woke up on Thanksgiving morning, showered and headed downstairs to be greeted by a bunch of Lebanese family members. (Imagine “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” only Lebanese style.) They were warm and welcoming and before I knew it I was helping make the meal while Anthony played in the snow with his cousins. Over the course of the day there were at least 20 family members who came in and out. Some of the time I knew what was going on, but other times I was completely lost since I speak very little Arabic (Anthony is teaching me!). It was an exhausting and exciting day. 
 We spent the next day shopping with his parents, sisters, and cousins. Anthony and I are both introverts and were exhausted by the end of the day. We woke up Saturday morning and decided to take some time away, just the two of us. We drove to the National Shrine of St. Therese, whom we both have a strong devotion to. We walked around the church taking pictures, and finally made our way to the adoration chapel. (The full story of how he popped the question, complete with how ignorant I was, can be found here.) 
We prayed in the chapel, and as I started to leave as Anthony practically shouted my name (it was a quiet adoration chapel!) and I turned around to find him down on one knee as he said, “Before God, before all the angels and all the saints, and all the people in this chapel, will you be my wife?” I excitedly said, “OF COURSE!” which was not at all the response I’d been practicing...but I was too excited to care!
Since getting engaged only a few short weeks ago, our relationship continues to deepen. In September we had started praying a 12 year novena (yes, twelve years) to St. Bridget. The night of our engagement we started praying out loud together, a practice we’ve continued every night since. Since starting the marriage prep process, we’ve both been surprised at how simple the process is. So simple, in fact, that we have a list of books we want to read and discuss beyond what is required! We continue to learn to communicate better and be even more open and honest with each other about everything (hello Natural Family Planning!). Even more so than when we were dating, we are discovering how God has had our love story in mind since the beginning, and how perfectly He made us for each other. We aren’t perfect by any means, but we believe that we are perfect for each other.
Join me in praying for Anthony and Amanda as they prepare for their Spring 2014 wedding!  Want to see your love story on Captive the Heart?  Email me at stephanie.captivetheheart@gmail.com!



2 comments:

  1. lovely! I was happy to read that he is Lebanese just as I am (currently living in Lebanon now :) ) Mabrouk for your engagement ;)

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