There was no real debate in my mind as to who would be the first girl I would ask on a date once I had arrived home from serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I knew that Cebre was an amazing individual—filled with a love of life—spouting happiness wherever she walked, so once I heard of the Manti Pageant, I called her and asked her to come with me. The plan was for it to be a double date, with one of my best friends accepting the role to help me act normal, as this would be my first date in two years. As luck would have it, my friend dropped out the night before our date. But, despite having to fly solo, I felt like the date was a success. I mean, sure there was that little thing with the police officer as we were driving, but that was just a minor setback…
When we pulled up to Cebre’s apartment complex that night, I had the desire to ask her on another date, right then and there. After all, I had just arrived home from the mission field where the habit of scheduling specific return appointments had become ingrained in me. I fought the desire, thinking it wasn’t the right time and instead thanked her for the brilliant evening and wished her a goodnight.
Three months later, I asked Cebre on another date.
If you’re wondering why I would wait three months before asking Cebre on a second date, here’s the reason:
Cebre has this talent for being incredibly open, but incredibly closed at the same time. Her apparent openness gives guys the immediate impression that she is interested in them, when in reality, she is just that interested in everyone’s lives and willing to talk about anything and everything that is going on in her life.
It’s confusing but wonderful. Trust me, I know.
After three months of being close friends with Cebre—but nothing more—I decided that I liked Cebre enough that it was worth the risk of making our friendship awkward by asking her on another date.
We saw a musical together. It was fun, but I remember saying to a friend that night that I didn’t think I would take Cebre on another date. I made this decision, not because I wasn’t interested in Cebre, but because I was sure she wasn’t interested in me.
So I stepped back. We were still close friends and did a lot of things together, but I tried to create a little space—mostly because I needed it. It got to the point where Cebre sent me a text one day telling me that I was beginning to be a really poor texter.
But in reality, I wasn’t a poor texter. I was simply trying to move on.
Later, as December was approaching, my brother and sister-in-law gave me tickets to the First Presidency Christmas Devotional and told me to take a date. Instantly I thought of Cebre. I wanted her to come with me—I knew it would be something that she would love. For a while I fought the desire to ask Cebre and tried to brainstorm other girls I could take. A lot of girls came to mind as people that I could take, but Cebre was the only person that I wanted to take.
After a long internal debate with myself, I decided I would ask Cebre to come with me to the Christmas Devotional. As we were driving home from the devotional, I plucked up the courage to try my best to express to Cebre how I was feeling. I honestly don’t remember exactly what I said, but I tried to help Cebre understand how incredible she was, how much I respected her, and how I was interested in taking our relationship further.
In response, Cebre managed to speak a lot without ever actually saying anything. I left that night relieved that I had expressed myself, but more confused than ever.
My uncertainty over our situation only increased over the next few weeks. Cebre and I went on a few more dates, but every time, it was a struggle for me to give her a call and ask her on a date because she gave absolutely no indication that she wanted to go on more dates. There would be times when Cebre would treat me like a great friend and other times where Cebre would refuse to acknowledge my existence; completely ignoring me when we were around mutual friends.
If you were to talk to my family members or close friends about how I was feeling over those few weeks, you would be told that I was a complete wreck. I was both hurt and frustrated because I did not know where Cebre was at, despite my efforts to communicate with her. Throughout all of this, I tried to be patient because I firmly believed that Cebre was more than worth the stress and frustration I was experiencing.
After what seemed like our hundredth DTR, I finally felt that we had made headway. Cebre expressed that she wanted to work on building a deeper relationship with me. For the first time in the longest time, I felt that we were seeing eye-to-eye and I was at peace about the direction our relationship was headed.
I should have known it was too good to last. Shortly after I began experiencing this happiness, Cebre informed me that a close friend had spoken to her and had held his own DTR with her. She told me that he said that he wanted her to think of the possibility of them being in a relationship.
My heart dropped.
This next part of our story is quite personal, but I wanted to write about it because this is when I realized just how much Cebre meant to me. This experience helped me realize how much I loved Cebre.
Although I was not surprised by this friend’s actions, I was completely thrown through a loop. Cebre told me that she didn’t really want to be in a relationship with him, but her words didn’t sink in or ease my mind because I could hear a pain in her voice as she spoke. Her words simply weren’t convincing. Cebre told him that she would think about what he had said and talk to him in a couple of days.
Needless to say, the following couple of days were some of the most difficult of my entire life. I couldn’t focus at all in my classes or at work. I was constantly thinking about Cebre and the situation we were in. Despite my stress, I tried to keep my emotions as internal as possible because I knew Cebre, who is a sensitive person, was just as sad and frustrated about the situation as I was. I didn’t want to add to her pain or frustration by expressing how I was feeling, so I kept the vast majority of my feelings to myself.
After struggling though a few days, I decided I needed Cebre to know how I was feeling about our situation. Again, I don’t remember exactly what was said, but I shared my inability to focus in school or at work. I also shared that I cared about her and that because of this experience I was beginning to realize that I really cared about her.
She then brought a great deal of peace and joy to my heart as she explained clearly that she wanted a relationship with me, and that she was going to explain that to her friend, despite how uncomfortable and difficult it was for her.
The amazing thing about this is, that after all of that, Cebre still did not consider us being in an actual relationship.
I knew that Cebre moved slowly, but really?
Shortly after this, Cebre and I were on another date walking around the Salt Lake Temple. I felt that this was the perfect opportunity for me to ask Cebre to explain to me what she felt it meant to be in a relationship with someone because obviously our definitions of what it meant to be in a relationship were different.
As soon as I asked, “Cebre, how do you define being in a relationship?” I was given this look of complete incredulity. As we talked and talked, it was that night that we finally determined that we were indeed in a relationship. Hallelujah!
I remember bringing up marriage a while later by saying something like, “Cebre, is it too early to discuss marriage?” She replied “No” and then rather abruptly said, “I want to marry you Hiram.”
This reply surprised me. After all, we had taken months to determine if we were even in a relationship. I thought that it would take just as long for us to feel comfortable discussing marriage. However, because both of us were “cautious daters” once we agreed that we were in a relationship, things moved pretty quickly. We had taken so much time deciding if us being in a relationship was really what we wanted, that after reaching that decision it was natural for our conversations to end in discussions about marriage.
From there, we started hesitantly planning for a wedding. It was hesitant for two reasons: 1) Cebre really didn’t want to start planning a wedding without being officially engaged and 2) I had not met her family and I felt uncomfortable being officially engaged without meeting them and without asking Cebre’s father for her hand in marriage.
Understanding that, we made plans to drive to California to visit Cebre’s family for a weekend. But before we left, we spent a little bit of time looking at engagement rings. Cebre was absolutely adorable as we were looking for rings. At first, she was timid as she tried on different rings. But once she was assured that the rings wouldn’t have their feelings hurt if she didn’t like them, she really got into it and tried on all sorts of rings. Cebre narrowed the list of rings she really liked to thirteen and from there I told her I would pick one… I knew that it would be impossible for Cebre to narrow it down to one.
As we went to California, Cebre thought that the reason we were going was so that I could meet her family and ask for her father’s permission to marry her and this was mostly true. However, I had already spoken to her father over the phone and made plans with her mother to propose to Cebre in California so that her family could be there to celebrate with us.
Cebre’s mother told me of a wonderful lighthouse along the coast where I could propose. As we made the short drive to the beach with Cebre’s family, Cebre’s sisters kept looking at Cebre and I with huge smiles and laughter. They knew that I was about to propose and Cebre, who kept asking them what they were laughing at, had no idea.
Cebre and I walked to the lighthouse, where I got down on one knee and told her that I could not live without her and asked her to marry me.
It has already been an incredible journey.