On December 22, 2016, I became engaged to my girlfriend, Eliza Lee. We will be married for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake Temple. My friend and mentor Robert F. Fillmore, former counselor in the temple presidency, will officiate at the ceremony. While wedding planning has been hectic at times (we took engagement photographs just prior to me writing this), we are both very excited to start this next chapter in our lives. Many people, as should be expected, have asked to hear about our story and how I proposed. So, I thought as my first post of the new year that I would share it.
I have used Tinder, with varying degrees of success, for several years ever since my friend Shauntae Jarnagin introduced me to it. I had decided to give it up for awhile, but then I decided to start using Tinder plus, which gives you unlimited swipes. I figured the more swipes I had, the greater probability of my having some sort of success. In addition to getting unlimited swipes, you also have the option of "super liking" 5 people per day. This feature alerts the opposite person that they had liked you ahead of your swiping left or right. So, on November 2, 2016 I super liked Eliza, and she liked me back on November 4, 2016. Our story begins there.
I, being a straightforward and slightly arrogant sort of chap, made my intentions clear from our first conversation: I was looking for something serious, not just to have fun. Normally, this frightens some people, but Eliza was different; this actually led her to like me more. After talking for about a week, we agreed to have a date on the following Saturday. However, as the universe would determine, she was working in the Orem area where I attend school on the day of November 14, 2016, so we had our first date at Jdawgs in Orem (14 is my favorite number). We had a deep conversation that first date, and it ended with a passionate kiss. I had the feeling this woman would be very special, I just did not know how special.
On the following Wednesday we had our second date, and then that Thursday Eliza asked if I would like to spend Thanksgiving with her and her parents. I have never been in a relationship prior to this, but I did understand that if a woman introduced you to her parents, she was serious about you. I asked her what that meant, to which she responded "I think you know." I responded that I thought I did, but I was new to this sort of thing. So, she made it clear to me by asking "Tarik, will you be my boyfriend?" The answer, of course, was yes. I was a bit nervous, but after meeting her parents and other family members I felt comfortable around them.
After several weeks, it seemed very obvious that we would be progressing towards marriage, so we had a few chats about it and decided that was what we wanted. This shocked me, because I have been critical in the past of others getting engaged so quickly. But, if you approach courtship seriously and maturely, the evidence of whether it should progress will be obvious, and you will feel neither nervous or anxious about, instead you will feel calm about it. That was precisely how I felt.
I have never been a fan of making a big deal out of a proposal, but I asked Eliza if she wanted a traditional proposal (ring and kneeling) or if an agreement would be fine instead. She stated that she wanted a traditional proposal, so I swallowed my pride and ordered her a rose gold ring, which was her favorite kind. I then thought of how I would propose, and thought that since December 23 is the Prophet Joseph Smith's birthday, that I would propose on that day in front of the Joseph and Emma Smith statue in Temple Square. I called her father to ask permission on December 22, 2016, which with emotion he granted. However, I felt for some reason that I should propose that day. So, prior to going to work, I told Eliza I had something I wanted to show her.
As I approached the Joseph and Emma statue, I felt a swarm of emotions overcoming me, and I was not sure I would be able to get the words out. This came as a great shock, as I am normally a very stoic person. But, I managed to pull through and have the following conversation as Eliza and I looked at the statue:
Tarik: Why do you think the Prophet and Emma were able to have a happy marriage and stay together in spite of all that they went through?
Eliza: Well, I know that they loved each other very much and they loved God very much. They had to make a lot of sacrifices as a couple, and in the end I think it made them stronger.
Tarik: Could it be that they made a promise to each other that no matter what happened they would stand by each other?
Eliza: Yes, I can believe that.
Tarik: Can you and I make that same type of commitment?
Eliza: Yes, I think so.
Tarik: (kneeling and with tears) Eliza, since our first date I knew you were the one for me. I love you. Will you marry me?
Eliza: (Crying) Yes.
After this I put the ring on her finger, we embraced, and had hot chocolate in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. I then went to work, even though that was the last thing I wanted to do that day.
And there you have it. We continue to learn more about each other and love each other more as the days pass. And, God willing, we will learn to love each other now and throughout all eternity.
|Eliza and I at Six Flags (it was a little rainy).|