Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Our Love Story Linkup

I'm notoriously into celebrating holidays small and large. And, I love responding to questionnaires! So I jumped at the idea of this linkup on From Mrs. to Mama's blog.

1. How long have you and your significant other been together?
8 1/2 years. Wow. That's getting frighteningly close to the 10-year/one-third of our lives mark. Eek! 

2. How did you meet? {What's your "love" story?}
We met Aug. 24, 2003--the day I moved to Nashville. Our orientation at Vanderbilt Divinity School began with a salad supper in the Refectory, which included some welcome talks from the deans and some get-to-know-you games. We met during a game of People Bingo. Matt approached me and we introduced ourselves. I could tell he was interested in me, so I decided to be coy when he offered to sign my bingo sheet. "I've already got five in a row," I said. "I don't need you!"

That was a Sunday night. We chatted at various gatherings that week, and at a party on Friday night, he asked if I wanted to "hang out" Saturday night. I assumed "hang out" meant pizza and movie at his apartment, but when he called to finalize the time, he said he was taking me to dinner at the Opryland Hotel. That was a "date-date," and it was a really great first date. It was while sitting on a bench in one of the hotel's conservatories that we discovered how much we had in common and really connected.

We spent tons of time together over the next six weeks or so, which then got overwhelming. We "took a break" from mid-October 2003 until March 2004, during which time I casually dated someone else and Matt and I became best friends. Our more-than-friends-ness became the elephant in the room by February, and the day I told Matt I'd broken up with the other guy and asked him to be my date for the upcoming Divinity School Gala was the beginning of the rest of our lives, since we knew that getting back together was "for good."

3. If married, how long have you been married? If not, is this the guy you hope to marry? {do tell}
We got engaged in November 2005 and married October 14, 2006. So that's almost 5 1/2 years now!

4. If you are married, where did you get married? Big or small wedding?  If not, where would you like to get married? And will it be big or small?
Our wedding was in Louisville at St. Paul UMC, with a dinner-and-dancing reception at the Brown Hotel. It was pretty big, and just fabulous!

5. Do you have any nick-names that you call one another? Do share!
Nothing in particular. Baby. Sweetie. Dear. We try to be intentional sometimes about calling each other by our names. It feels more intimate than nicknames sometimes, don't you think? 

6. Name 3 things you love most about your honey.
He's selfless, patient, and and loves me in spite of my flaws. (That's all one, that goes under the heading of "great husband!")
He is such a great father. He would do absolutely anything for his girls, takes Kate on special "daddy-daughter dates," and is very intentional in his words and actions with her.
He's a great pastor. Yes, I often wish he had a "normal job" (i.e. 9-to-5 with weekends free!) but I also really admire his work in ministry, the way he cares for people and helps people grow closer to God. It is not a job for the faint of heart!

7. Tell us how he proposed? Or your ideal proposal?
Matt hid the ring inside a matryoshka—a Russian nesting doll—since I love all things Russian. He brought it to my apartment as a "housewarming gift," since I was about to move into the duplex that we had picked out together to be our first home when we got married (so obviously, I knew a proposal was coming sometime!) As I oohed and ahhed over the gift and opened the doll's layers, revealing the story of the Ugly Duckling (a personal favorite and somewhat of an inside joke!) it suddenly dawned on me this might be his proposal. When I got down to the smallest doll that could still fit a ring inside, I tried to discreetly shake it to see if there was anything inside. I didn't hear anything, so I thought "ok, no, this isn't it." I opened it to see a princess-cut diamond ring nestled in tissue paper to keep it from rattling, since he knew I would shake it—just like he knew I would poke around his apartment for a ring and therefore hid it at his friend's place!
V-day 2011 in the Clarksville parsonage

8. Is he a flowers and teddy bear kind of guy for v-day, or strawberries, champagne, and rose petals?
Sometimes he has brought flowers home, and he makes sure we have wine in the house, but we usually just mutually decide to go out for dinner or to cook Italian food (our favorite) at home. When we go all out, our Italian feasts include caprese (tomatoes and mozzarella cheese), bread with dipping oil, pasta, and wine. Heavenly!

9. Are you a sunset dinner on the beach kind of girl, or pop a movie in and relax on the couch?
We're not huge beach people, though I do enjoy a nice dinner anywhere. We definitely enjoy curling up to watch movies or TV shows we missed. 

10. Tell us one thing you'd like to do with your significant other one day. If you could do anything? Go anywhere?
We dream of living abroad for a while, even if it's just a month or two. We want to experience another culture as residents as opposed to tourists, renting an apartment and going grocery shopping, etc. We think it would be great for our kids to experience another culture in that way as well. (And that is actually probably a less stressful way to take kids abroad than dealing with hotels and restaurants all the time!)

11. Tell us what you plan on doing on this Valentine's Day.
We're going out this Friday night—avoid the Feb. 14th rush! (Plus, weeknights are always busy for us anyway!)
Me on our V-day date, pre-kids (2008)

12. Are you asking for anything this Valentine's day?
No, we don't do gifts for V-day or anniversaries. Just cards sometimes. Last year, I asked him to write me a love note. After balking at my romanticism at first, he ended up writing notes to me, to Kate, and to "Baby Kelley #2," who we didn't even know for sure existed yet!—Valentine's fell during the few weeks between "trying" and taking the pregnancy test. Sure enough, Claire was in there, so now we have a sweet note for the baby book, showing how we loved her even before we knew her!

13. Give us one piece of advice of keeping a relationship strong and full of love.
Just sit and talk. In that precious hour or two between getting the kids to bed and hitting the hay myself (since I can't stay up with Rev. Night-Owl) we too often sit glued to our respective laptops, only interacting to share something funny or interesting we're reading. If we do try to do something together, we generally fall back on the evening entertainment from our pre-parenthood days, "should we watch a movie or play a game?" It really brings us together to just sit on the couch with no screens on and TALK!

14.  Show us a picture of what love means to you.
Family cuddle!!!
This whole exercise (rather, the attempt to illustrate it) has shown me just how hard it is a) to find photos of oneself from the pre-digital camera days, and b) to find photos of Matt and I together without kids from the days since becoming parents. Note to self: need to take more "couple" pics!

Happy Valentine's Day, all! 


EMU said...

Very sweet. Love that your hubby wrote a Vday letter to Claire before he knew for sure she existed. So very precious!

Wendy said...

I just found your blog from Kelly's Korner. I live in Chattanooga, so we're kinda close! And my maiden name is Kelley. Crazy, right?!? I hope you'll follow me back sometime. You're family is too cute!

College Dating said...

Great love story you got here! God bless you both and congratulations. :)


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