Family Life

Jeremy Roloff: My Marriage Proposal Story

posted: 09/02/14
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Check in with Audrey to see her thoughts about Jeremy's sweet proposal.
Courtesy of Jeremy Roloff and Audrey Botti

by Jeremy Roloff | @JeremyJRoloff | Instagram

I was in Santa Barbara, hanging at the beach with some friends on yet another perfect day in Santa Barbara. Routinely, someone asked me, "Jer, how is Audrey?" I smiled and replied with an answer that was noticeably becoming routinely lethargic. Then, someone asked me another question. "Jer, when are you going to ask her to marry you?" This had been asked before, but this time it was different. Maybe it was where my mind was at the time, the beach, hanging with other romantic couples. Or maybe, it was my heart saying, yes. It is time. In either case I excused myself, hopped on my bike and went for a long ride.

On my ride I asked myself serious questions, probing and inviting the actual reality of the idea of marrying Audrey. What would it look like? We are still long distance. When would it happen? Am I ready? Is SHE ready? Is there a better time? What about jobs, moving, expenses. The list went on, however I kept realizing that I wanted to answer all those questions with her. I just wanted to be with Auj and live with her, learn her and know her. Realizing that was my desire, it somewhat soothed all my worries. It didn't excuse them, but my priorities were definitely appearing to be lining up. And it felt good.

Read Audrey's version of the proposal.

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Audrey's engagement ring.
Courtesy of Jeremy Roloff and Audrey Botti

It was a big decision. I mean, we have never even dated in the same place. I asked Auj to date me just 10 short days before I left for Santa Barbara. And here we are, three long distance years later wanting to get married! What in the world! There is a certainty we have with each other though. A certainty that kept us focused while both living separate lives each in a thriving college town community. Decisions are hard for me. I usually want to know the outcome in order to achieve the least amount of casualties. But I remembered a phrase the Holy Spirit gave me a few years ago. "God doesn't want to make decisions for you, He just wants to show up and affirm it, or give you a new map" Basically, assuming I am kingdom seeking I shouldn't wait for complete safety in my decision. But rather just make a decision, trust, and go after what I want, even with uncertainties.

First things first, I needed a ring. I started asking around when my good friend and fellow photographer Josh Newton gave me a phone number to call. It was a ring designer. Perfect! Audrey and I of course have talked about getting engaged for some time now but never in an active type of way. We have never looked at rings together and we agreed to not do so. We liked the idea of me picking something I like, and knowing Audrey's style and personality, something she would love as well. I scoured the Internet and picked three different rings that I liked. I brought these images and a few personal notes to this designer and created a symbol that I would place on her finger just a few days later.

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Jeremy & Audrey
Courtesy of Jeremy Roloff and Audrey Botti

Then, I decided on a location. I went through a couple of options. However, in the back of my mind, I knew. It would be the place we met every time I would come home, the place I asked Audrey to be my girlfriend, the place we found ourselves stargazing waiting for the train to come, the place I threw our shoes up on a wire on our first date, boldly claiming, "we'll see what happens with us" and now the place I would ask Audrey to marry me. The train trestle -- it's "our spot." Most couples have a spot they often find themselves in, and for whatever reason, this was ours. Location: check. Next, I needed an idea. I came up with an elaborate, radical idea where I would build a sign out of rebar, string it with lights and hang it from the trestle. Have a buddy turn it on once cued. This would have been fun however, I realized not living on the farm with my welder and tools begged a few more problems and obstacles than I wanted to tackle. Then I asked myself what would Audrey love? She is a big writer and loves to journal, gets lots of energy from personal, intimate time and loves when I surprise her.

So here was the plan: I decided to pack a picnic, thermos full of coffee, a blanket, and my typewriter. Audrey and I have long talked about making a list of ways to love each other when married, or rather a list of reminders to help us when we are married. Being long distance, we would write letters. There is something about the effort and energy needed to write a letter that we enjoyed doing for one another. And occasionally I would type one out on my typewriter. So this wasn't some professional hipster battle move, but rather a parallel drawn between love and effort. Love is a moving target, it starts as a feeling and becomes an action. Actions take effort. So we would drive to the trestle, pack a picnic, and write a letter to our future selves, all things Audrey enjoys and would find endearing. At the end of our letter, when it was my turn to write, I would type this, "Speaking of marriage, Audrey Mirabella Botti. Will you marry me?" Then, I'd get on one knee, pull out her ring and verbally request her hand in marriage.

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Jeremy & Audrey
Courtesy of Jeremy Roloff and Audrey Botti

To be honest, I was in a little bit of shock. My hands were clammy and my heart raced as my mind worked hard to comprehend the glorious event ahead of me. This was a day that was going to change the course of not only my life, but our lives. I flew into town the day before, which is where I will pick up the story.

Audrey was busy with some friends, which allowed me a location scout day with my best friend Tye, who flew up with me secretly to capture the moment. Tye, my friend Bryan and I spent the day designing our camera angles and building blinds for them to conceal themselves behind. All day I existed in this euphoric state of mind, soaking in the emotions and pondering my love for this girl. It's an exciting time and I get stoked for other brothers' proposals now that I know what it's like. That evening I did not end up seeing Audrey as she ended up staying the night in Bend. (And good thing because we didn't finish our blinds till about 1am.)

The next day, the day of, I was waiting for her to get home so I could pick her up. I had flowers bought, the picnic packed, typewriter prepped and my mind somewhat calmed. *ChoooChooo* my phone vibrated with the sound of Audrey's text. "I'm home! Can't wait to see you!" it read. I looked at Roth and Tye, they hugged me for courage and went to prepare the cameras. Driving to Audrey's house was one of the most exhilarating drives of my life. Reflecting on our time together, dreaming of our future, and anticipating our night. The rush of emotions left me in a state where I was unsure how "normal" I was acting. I picked Auj up and we went back to my house as I stalled time a little bit until I got the "good to go" text from my boys. Once received, we headed to the trestle, Audrey completely unaware and oblivious to her future. We arrived and walked out to the spot I had picked out. Auj was unknowingly encouraging me as she tried to kiss me every twenty feet because she hadn't seen me in three weeks.

We sat down and started typing. Honestly, I could not think of a single thing to type that pertains to the purpose of our letter. My mind was blank and I struggled coming up with convincing, practical points to write down as my thoughts, emotions, fears, love and energy was elsewhere. Finally, it was my turn. I grabbed the typewriter, turned around and started typing, barely able to keep my fingers calm enough to do so. I was asking this girl to be mine for the rest of our lives. Asking her to accept me as Jeremy Roloff and walk with me through life's greatest peaks and lowest valleys.

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The romantic trestles.
Courtesy of Jeremy Roloff and Audrey Botti

Next thing I knew the ring was in my hand, words came out of my mouth and she was screaming "YES" while hugging me! It was an amazing feeling.

She was beautiful, the time was right because we chose that it was, and she agreed to embark with me on this #journeyofjerandauj. Time had stopped.

Audrey Mirabella Botti you inspire me. I want to be a part of your story and learn from you till i'm old and wise. So excited to exercise our vocation together and bring the kingdom.

"Real love, the Bible says, instinctively desires permanence." - Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage

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