If you’ve seen the movie, you probably have images of me on a horse coming down the aisle and then madly dashing away from the guests, riding off by myself into the sunset. Or of me starting to walk the aisle, flowers covering every area of the room, the scent overwhelming, as well as the cost, only to turn around and run out of the church, veil sailing in the wind behind me.
As usual, my life doesn’t look as dramatic as a scene in a movie, but I can say that I am the real runaway bride, breaking three actual engagements, one of them 6 weeks away from the big day, the other two about three months away. I had the dress, the flowers picked out, the photographer hired, the invites actually printed for one wedding and read to go for the other two. I have returned three engagement rings, given away three different dresses, returned silk flowers, canceled reservations, and used the Thank You cards I did have printed for numerous non-wedding occasions.
Not only was I engaged three times, but also talked seriously about marriage in several other relationships, 99% convinced this could be the one!
And two of my engagements were so romantic! One was in a horse drawn carriage in Chicago with the ring tied on a ribbon around a big, cuddly bear’s neck. The other was in front of the audience for Blue Man Group, where we were asked to stand up while the audience chanted, “Will you marry me?” while he pulled the ring out of his pocket. It was almost surreal! I got engaged at Blue Man Group!
But, even with all the romance, I knew deep down inside, it wasn’t right. I had no peace about it. So, after many tears, lots of prayer, and hours of agonizing, I broke off three engagements.
One fiance told he was disgusted with me for breaking it off so close to the day. Another one walked out on me, didn’t say a word and he didn’t call for a month. I finally called him so I could give him the ring and close our relationship. The third one I found on a singles’ dating website a year later where he criticized me openly, condemning me for ending our relationship after I had told him I loved him and wanted to be his wife.
I was told by friends and family I was too picky and that I would never get married. I would be the old maid of the family! (Yes, my grandfather said that to me!) I told everyone I was sure that if it was the right one I would go through with it. I was convinced of it. I just hadn’t met the right one! But, how would I know he was the right one? How could I be sure?
I watched as friends and family members got married, had children, bought new homes, and filled their lives with all the things I wanted so deeply. Why would God keep me from having all those wonderful experiences in life? What had I done wrong? Was I to spend my whole life alone, the odd one at the dinner table, the only one unable to talk about my own family? I was in my 40’s and still alone! Would God ever fill that desire in me? Would my sweet sorrow ever turn to joy?