Marriage in the Modern World
The phone call no parent wants to receive — though not in the middle of the night and with no police officer on the other end of the phone, still, it came.
Him: Mrs. Pyper? Hello. This is Zach. Are you with Mr. Pyper?
Me: Yes. We’re on our way back from Ohio, Zach, but John is driving.
Him: Can you put him on speaker phone? I really need to talk to both of you.
We listen intently as he unfolds his plan for our daughter’s life.
We listen intently as he unfolds his plan for our daughter’s life–a life that he believes includes him. When he finally gets to the question we had feared for the last ten miles, John and I just looked at each other. We would have stared silently for a longer time, but John needed to keep his eyes on the highway. Oh why, now, would my cell phone NOT fail to lose bars? Why would this call be so clear? Where is that annoying static when you need it???
I’m not sure what John’s first thought was, but mine raced back to the day he proposed to me in the kitchen of my parents’ home some 27 years earlier. An engagement that my parents were neither anticipating nor happy about. A proposal preceded by only four months of dating. An engagement that came back to bite me. And bite it did — I could not use “But you don’t know each other well enough” as my first line of defense against his bold request.
Zach was the young man who, only five months prior, had taken Bethany on their first date to Senior Prom. The boy who claimed his seat, along with several of her friends, at her lunch table since their sophomore year of high school. Nonetheless, a boy whose name I had not overheard among the giggles of a teenage girls’ sleepover; never a mention that she had a crush, or a hint that he was anything more than a friend. And now, in the first semester of Bethany’s freshman year of college, he thinks it would be a good idea to call her his fiancée.
We thanked him for the respect and courage he showed in asking for our blessing, but the best we could say right then was that John and I would need some time to talk privately with each other before we could give him an answer.
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