Just as I was settling back into life on campus, lectures and coursework assignments, I got a call from Mr one day. He told me that he had gotten a call from my aunt, who had gotten a call from one of the coordinators in our church. Apparently, my name and Mr's name had been put down to attend the marriage preparatory classes without our knowledge. They were calling to check up on us to ask why we hadn't attended the first two meetings! Well we had no idea! Who wrote our names down on the list of people getting married? Till today we don't know. Anyway, my aunt had called Mr and persuaded him that we were ready to start attending these classes, as we had been engaged for over a year and we were serious about getting married in the near future. Mr was now telling me that he had agreed to the classes. We were to attend them once a month. They were being organised by my church in London. At first I was fuming. What? In the middle of my busy schedule already, you want me to be travelling to London every month for marriage preparation classes? Do they know that I am reading my books here? How am I going to fit this class into my time-table now?
Anyway Mr calmed me down and explained it to me that it was a requirement by the church if we were planning to get married soon. Plus he would have to attend as well, and that way we could meet up every month and hang out, since the classes were only about two hours or so. I asked him if he would foot my travelling bill and he said yes. Eventually, I agreed to attend the marriage preparation classes.
The plan was this: I would leave Nottingham very early, around 7.00am and get to London for 9.30, meet Mr at the station and we would attend the preparation class. Then we would hang out for the rest of the day. Around 8.00pm he would drop me back at the station and head for his town and I would jump back on my coach or train and head back to my town. Since he was paying for my tickets, it wasn't a big deal after all! So for the next seven months, once a month we both left out respective towns and headed to London on a Saturday morning. I remember telling my flatmate the first month that I was going to London the next day. She asked me when I would be coming back and I said - tomorrow. She must have been amused.
The first time we turned up for the class, we were asked if we had set a wedding date and we said no, we were just going with the flow. The classes were quite interesting actually. There were four other couples attending at the same time as us. Our tutors were a pastor and his wife, and sometimes the Senior Pastor and his wife came in to add to the discussions. They covered every topic about marriages, (such as: commitment, the marriage vows, dealing with in-laws, handling finances, forgiveness, sex, submission, handling conflict, love languages etc) and we had a question and answer session as well. As the classes were taught from a christian point of view, the teachings were a mixture of biblical references, practical applications and the personal experience of the writers of the course. Mr and I learnt a lot and it was interesting when we were asked practical questions of how we will apply the principles we were learning to our relationships.
While we were attending the classes, Mr and I started praying about the timing of our wedding. By the end of 2004, we were sure that God wanted us to get married in 2005. Looking at it from a human stand point, it seemed like such a crazy idea and almost impossible. I was in the middle of a challenging Masters course. We were in two separate towns far away from each other. My dad was still unaware of what was going on. And since I wanted a summer wedding, it meant we had less than 8 months to plan it all! Plus I had to write a 20,000-word dissertation about the same time as we were planning to get married. How was it all going to happen?
Let's just say that with God, all things are possible.