I have been dating Erik for a total of 2.5 months. Erik is a resident artist at the Anderson Center, which is a beautiful landmark in Red Wing, that has a mansion, art gallery, studios, and a tower. I met Erik through my church in Red Wing. Erik started to get really involved in the church in August. After spending time with Erik, my pastor and his wife from my home church felt we would be a good match.
My Pastor told Erik that marrying me would be the best decision that he could ever make. Our first date was very romantic and we clicked right into place. The date lasted for a total of seven wonderful hours where we talked, laughed, danced, and enjoyed being with each other. The night ended on top of the tower looking over Red Wing during the December 2, 2010 snowstorm. It felt warm and peaceful inside as we looked at Red Wing like through a snow globe. That was the perfect start to our relationship that has been filled with adventure, fun, and joy. Erik has impressed me with his desire to keep our relationship pure, holy, and glorifying to Jesus. My first kiss and our first kiss as a couple will be on our wedding day.
Erik asked if I would be willing to come to Red Wing for Valentine’s Day and was going to make reservations at a local restaurant to make it really special. Valentine’s day arrived and I could barely contain my excitement for the evening. I was prepared with my presents and card to leave immediately after work for Red Wing. As I was heading out the door, Erik called to tell me that there had been some things at the Anderson Center that he had to take care of and had been working all day. He was so busy with everything that he hadn’t had time to make dinner reservations. He hadn’t even showered yet. Erik asked if I could take my time and get to RW at around 6:30, which would work better for him. Whatever!!!
When I got to the Anderson Center, I found my boyfriend looking like a homeless bum. He was wearing a grubby sweatshirt with paint stains and dirty jeans. He sat down in the chair and he looked tired. He said that his back really hurt and he just needed a minute to relax. He said that Valentine’s Day had just snuck up on him and it seemed to come out of nowhere (like the date isn’t exactly the same every year). I was super disappointed. I had made such an effort to get dressed up, come down, expecting a quality valentine’s day with my boyfriend and he was in grubby clothes and telling me that he had been too busy to prepare or plan anything. That did not make me feel really special.
I felt dumb that I had put so much effort into his card, his gift, and wrapping his presents. He said that he was going to change and then we would go. Luckily, he then looked really good, which made me feel a lot better. He said that money was kinda tight and wanted to use the gift certificate that my parents had given him to go to Applebee’s for our date. I was not impressed. But I told him that sounded great. He got the keys and we headed out to the car.
Lying on the passenger side seat of his car were the ugliest flowers I had ever seen. They were a small bunch of pitiful flowers. They were still in the plastic and had the 5-dollar price tag from Wal-Mart still on the outside. Very classy!!!! I looked at them and almost started to cry. Carnations, and I dislike yellow flowers, especially for Valentine’s Day. But I smiled at Erik and told him that they were beautiful.
Then he gave me my card. On the outside of the card was the ugliest pink cat candy sucker I have ever seen. It was raspberry flavored. Hideous. I hate candy suckers like that and it still had the 1.00-dollar price tag from Wal-Mart and taped to the card. I took a deep breath as I smiled and opened the card…hoping that Erik would at least redeem himself by making or buying me a really nice card with something really sweet and meaningful written on the inside. I pulled out the card and it was in the shape of a cat with a gaudy and glittery crown on it.
It was the most ugly, tacky and unsuitable card I have ever seen in my life for Valentine’s Day. It was a card that a dad would give his 5-year-old daughter for Valentine’s Day…. not a card that you give to your girlfriend!!!! I was really struggling. He didn’t even write in it. It was so disappointing and tacky. He just signed his name Erik with an XOX. I almost lost it and started crying but I was in such shock and extreme disappointment, that I just smiled at Erik and said thank you. We started driving towards Applebee’s.
Then at the stoplight, Erik checked his phone and said that he had gotten a voice message and that he better check it. He listens to it and said that he had to go back to the Anderson center. The head guy had noticed a light out at the tower and Erik needed to go check the circuit breaker. We turned around and headed back to the Anderson Center. The thoughts that were going through my head were what in the heck is so important that we have to turn around and go back. Erik apologized and said that he was really sorry. I told him that it was fine and that it was no big deal. Erik said that he felt bad because it was messing everything up. Well…. the whole night was a big mess so far, so it couldn’t get much worse. We turned around and drove back to the A.C. Erik parked outside by the tower. He went over to the tower to check the door, but it was locked.
I was really struggling in the car. I was so disappointed and in complete shock that our 1st Valentine’s Day, which I had such high expectations was turning out to be an embarrassment. I wanted to cry!!!! I was already planning the “talk” in my head!!! Proper etiquette is to NOT buy your girlfriend yellow carnations, ugly suckers, ugly cards, and you take the price tag off. Not appropriate gifts for Valentine’s Day. He came back and said that he needed to go through the underground tunnel and said he wanted me to come. He might need my help when he was looking for the circuit breaker in the tower.
We walked through the freezing underground tunnel and I just tried to be cheerful and thankful. I was just glad to be spending time with Erik. I just had to keep reminding myself “ I love Erik”. I just didn’t understand!!! How the man who wrote me poetic love letters, songs, hand painted romantic cards, and took me on creative dates could completely and totally drop the ball for our first Valentine’s day.
I was really struggling, but as we walked through the tunnels to the tower, I thought of our first date and how romantic, nice, sweet, fun, and wonderful it was. How wonderful Erik was when he came to visit me in the cites. We got to the base of the tower and Erik started looking around for the circuit breaker. I helped look for one. There was no box!!! Now I am just getting annoyed! He said that he had better go check the tower quick and that I should just stay down so I don’t slip and fall on the icy stairs. I just looked out the window at the bottom level, as I froze in the scary-dark base and thought about what I was going to order at Applebee’s. The excitement : )
I heard pounding from the tower and was wondering what the heck Erik was doing and why it was taking so long. Then Erik called down to me and said that he needed me. He told me to be really careful as I climbed the steps. I was ticked. What the heck. I am in a dress, high heels, and a dress coat. I don’t want to climb 80 steps to the top of a tower in the freezing cold. I wanted to go eat. I wanted flowers and a hug. I was really disappointed.
My expectations for a great valentine’s day were not being met, but I was dealing with it and going with the flow. As I started to climb the steps, I thought that least I would get some exercise. When I rounded the last bend, I saw tea light candles on the stairs and rose petals. I got to the top of the tower, looked into the room, and it was unbelievably romantic. There was soft music playing in the background and rose petals covering the floor. There were 2 dozen red roses, gold plates, and big chocolate X O X on the beautiful antique table. Erik had 2 large space heaters going to keep the room warm. There was even a present on my chair in pink wrapping paper J. I opened it and it was a ESV bible. He wrote an amazingly sweet note in the bible saying to Amanda, the Love of my life. That was so romantic.
He had sparkling apple cider and water bottles that he poured in cups to drink. We had a 6-course fondue meal. We started off with a delicious cheese fondue made with Brie cheese and apricots. He made a spinach, mushroom, and carrot salad with sesame dressing on top. Very tasty. Then poured oil in a portable fondue pot and we cooked steak and batter dipped vegetables. We really had a good time, just cooking the food and enjoying each other’s company. It was so romantic. The whole time we were cooking, I kept thinking back to the evening. How disappointed I had been to how overwhelmingly happy I was to be in our special tower with my Erik!!!
He told me how he had been planning this for weeks and it all made sense. Friends from my church had suggested he torture me with the horrible flowers, bad card, and sucker. Erik had to go to 3 grocery stores to find the ugly flowers. It blew my mind the amount of work and effort that he had put into the night. I was in complete and total shock. The room was so beautiful and it was so perfect.
After we were done eating the food, Erik went to the CD player and said we needed some upbeat music. He put on the same CD that he played when we danced on our first date. The song ended, and he bent down to restart the song- so we danced to the same song again. He pulled me close, hugged me and said that he loved me. I told him that I loved him too. I felt so cherished and happy.
The song ended and he bent down again. I thought he was restarting the CD, but he wasn’t getting up. I looked down and he was on one knee with the ring. He said “ Amanda. Will you marry me?” I was in complete shock. The ring was beautiful. I thought he was joking for a minute. I didn’t expect it at all. I just looked at him and couldn’t believe it was happening. I said yes and he said, “Well…pick a finger sweetheart”. What made the ring perfect is that God told Erik in August to buy a ring. He prayed and God told him what ring size to buy. It fit my finger perfectly. I am reminded of God’s passionate love, his unending faithfulness, and the power of prayer when I look at my ring! All glory goes to God.
Erik had spent the entire day getting ready for the evening. It was amazing to me that he would put that much effort, time, and work into making the night special. God is so good. I have prayed for a man who would love, cherish, and encourage me in my walk with Jesus. A man who is fun and likes to do things, but who I can also talk with and have meaningful conversations. He is a man of God that I am going to be able to respect, support, and help to do great things for God. Which is what I have dreamed of, prayed for, and hoped for so long. It was an amazing night and I look forward to the future. God has great things planned and I know that it will be quite the adventure.