The Valentine’s week saga


     In case you’re wondering, wedding planning is going well. We have most of the big pieces in place for April 21 except the caterer and florist, which ought to be officially in place by the time you read this. Things are starting to feel more exciting and (a bit) less stressful.


     But for me, Valentine’s week will live in infamy.


     On Valentine’s Day, which fell on a Tuesday, I learned I’d most likely been exposed to COVID at my bachelorette party over the weekend. I also had a sore throat and major mucus. And I wondered if I might have a low-grade fever, but my cheap thermometer said I didn’t.


     I didn’t tell Stephen about my COVID exposure. I was determined to go out for Valentine’s! Wedding planning had taken the place of most of our date nights lately, and now we had a reservation at a nice restaurant, not yet disclosed to me, that “discouraged blue jeans.” It’s a rare occasion for me NOT to wear blue jeans, let alone to enter an establishment that’s snooty about denim. I was excited.


     By late Valentine’s afternoon, I felt guilty about not revealing my COVID exposure to Stephen. So I told him — when we were getting ready to leave his house for dinner. Needless to say, he was a little frustrated.


     We decided to cancel our reservation, and I felt like the worst fiancé ever. Did I mention he’d had car trouble that day? If he’d known sooner that we needed to cancel dinner, he would’ve had time to go to a mechanic.


     By God’s grace, I’m marrying a merciful man. He accepted my multiple apologies and forgave me.


     The next day, I tested negative for COVID and flu, but got an antibiotic for sinusitis and started feeling better by dinnertime.   


     The day after that, we had tickets to see the new “Ant Man” movie at the Capri in Fondren. But Stephen hadn’t slept well the night before, and I was still recovering from sinusitis. So in order to give us both a break, he canceled our tickets, a couple hours before showtime.


     He’d told me he was unsure about going, but I’d interpreted “unsure” as 60/40. I’d had the mindset of Jim Carrey in “Dumb and Dumber”: “So you’re telling me there’s a chance!”


     So then we had to have a whole conversation about what the words “unsure” and “maybe” meant. You would think he’d just canceled my chance to tour the “Lord of the Rings” sets in New Zealand or something. I hadn’t even seen the previous “Ant Man,” for goodness’ sake.


     Finally, on Saturday, Stephen’s boss and his wife threw us a couple’s shower. Before the party, Stephen and I got about 90 percent finished (or what I thought was 90 percent) putting together our “pre-ceremony playlist.” I said, “You know, we could finish this after the shower … ”


     But after the shower, of course, I was in fun mode (the result of a great party). I didn’t understand how Stephen could go straight back to his laptop at the kitchen table. And why was he fixated on this one instrumental duo? And why was this taking so long?


     Never mind that I also loved that duo’s arrangements, or that I would’ve taken just as long on the playlist if I’d been doing it by myself. Once again, Stephen had to forgive me, this time for my impatient attitude. Once again, he was gracious.


     They say marriage is a magnifying glass to your flaws, but I’d say engagement is, too. Valentine’s week showed me how selfish I can be when given the chance, and how blessed I am in my choice of mate. God used Stephen to show me His grace.


     To be clear, Stephen isn’t perfect either. He’d tell you that himself. But I find that I’m able to forgive him more easily than I can others. Maybe that’s a tip for anyone who’s single and looking: Find someone who can forgive you, whom you can forgive right back.


Must-reads in this issue:

Our cover story on our 2023 Christian Leaders of the Future

Our Community Outreach article on Dallas Barbee, a different kind of barber

My Q&A with Pam Anderson, a Faith-Based Travel Specialist