Robert doesn’t know it (Until now; thanks for being my #1 reader!), but this weekend was one of the best I’ve had. Not for any reason in particular, other than the fact that we got to spend it together. Something I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that the very most valuable and wonderful thing I have in my life is time. I honestly could be doing nothing special at home, but as long as I’m with loved ones I am happy. I’ve learned that “simple” doesn’t equate to “boring,” and that contentment is just as great as joy because it can really last for the long haul.
This weekend we just hung around the house and played games, ordered takeout, and took the dogs out for a few walks, but it was really great getting to catch up some after what has been a tiring couple of weeks. I loved getting to chat instead of watching a ton of mindless television, and we even went on a few mini adventures around town — my favorite being our outing to the restaurant where we celebrated our anniversary back in October. No matter how long we are together I always want to have regular date nights, because I think they’re so great for the heart.
At this point I’m really excited for our wedding still, but I am much more stoked for the entire lifetime of memories and love that is going to come after. Despite getting sick with POTS and having pain be a regular guest in my body, I am overall even more joyful now than I was before I got sick. I think this has to do greatly with recognizing all of the love and amazing people I have surrounding me. I feel so blessed that the everyday beauty in my life does not go unnoticed, and that my heart is content with all of the love that fuels it. All the adventures we have ahead of us are going to be a blast (I am particularly excited for our honeymoon!), but I am also so excited for the countless game nights and dinner dates we have in store for us. I feel so darn lucky to have this life, and I am working to appreciate every gift — big and small — that God has given me.
Robert and I have been meaning to update our wedding website for awhile now, as we wanted everyone attending to know a little about each of us since there will be people on both sides who don’t know us as a couple.
We talked about what we wanted to include — how we met, when we knew we wanted to marry each other, and what we want our future to look like — but after that we each went to our own computers and wrote. It was kind of hilarious to see how similar each of our answers were, so I am going to keep all of the content, even though it’s a bit redundant.
Whether you are a guest who is here for the first time to see who we are as a team, or you’ve been a reader since my Single in The Suburbs days, I hope you enjoy!
How We Met
Krista and I originally set our first date for a Friday evening. Unfortunately on the Friday that we had our date planned, I found out that I had been selected for a deployment I volunteered for. In addition to this, I was ordered to go on active duty immediately in Staunton, Virginia to help prepare the unit for the deployment.
Because of these life-changing circumstances and the fact I would be relocating immediately, I sadly canceled the date and went out for a last celebration with co-workers.
About two weeks later, there was an issue with funding my position and I had to return to Northern Virginia until the situation was resolved. I texted Krista that I would be home for a couple weeks and that I had been regretting not meeting her the first time. For whatever reason, Krista decided to give me another chance at a date.
We finally met at Ozzie’s Italian restaurant. I will always remember the moment I met her. I walked up to Krista (she was petting somebody’s dog), and I said hello to her. She looked up at me, said “hi!”, and immediately returned to petting the dog.
After finally accomplishing one of the hardest missions of my life –pulling Krista away from the dog — we had dinner. We shared a bunch of stories, had a lot of laughs, and then we went on a walk around the shopping center. I still remember the things we laughed at along the walk that probably wouldn’t make sense to anybody besides the two of us. We had an instant connection.
As those last couple weeks in Northern Virginia passed, Krista and I went on a number of other dates. Our connection got stronger every day, and all of a sudden I found myself wondering how I could get out of the move to Staunton (about two and a half hours from where Krista lived). I didn’t, but came back to NOVA every weekend, and my first stop was always Krista’s house. We spent the majority of every weekend together until I was deployed.
Robert and I were supposed to go out to dinner for our first date, but a few hours before we were going to meet up he sent me a text saying that his friends surprised him for his last day of work with a cocktail hour. I was actually relieved because I got to stay home and eat pizza with my family instead of making a bunch of smalltalk with a guy.
A few weeks later he messaged me to see if he could have a second shot at a date. I don’t know why I said yes to going out with someone who was getting ready to leave the country and had flaked on me once before, but it is one of the two most important times I’ve said “yes” to something. My third will be in September.
Our first date was the best first date I’ve ever been on. We went to Ozzie’s Italian restaurant, and I remember getting a text from Robert saying that he would be an hour late because of traffic. I was still at home, so I got to watch another episode of The Office before getting ready to go, but in hindsight this is hilarious because since then the tables have turned and I’m the one who is chronically late. You set the bar low, Robert!
Anyway, when I finally got there, I found a cute dog sitting underneath a bench right outside the restaurant. I was excited that Robert still wasn’t there because I got to play with the little fella! I was unintentionally a bit rude at our introduction — not because I wasn’t happy to meet Robert — but because the dog under the bench was irresistibly adorable. To this day he still sends me pictures of puppies when he sees them, and knows that by saying, “look, a dog!” I will always squeal in excitement.
We exchanged funny dating stories and learned more about each other, and by the time we finished dinner I didn’t want the date to end. We took a short stroll outside, and I was surprisingly disappointed when he dropped me off at my car to go home. It didn’t take long, though, for Robert to text me that he had a nice time, and my heart felt warm and full. Little did I know the guy I went with on my best first date with would turn into the man I would one day marry.
When We Knew
I remember the moment I first knew I loved Robert. It was when he was in Staunton, and we had been talking on the phone for a few hours after work — as usual. I had such a hard time not saying those three little words to him before we hung up the phone that night. I resolved to tell him the next time I saw him in person, but it didn’t quite work out that way. That is one of the stories I have chosen not to share, though, and is still one of the most heartwarming moments I’ve had.
I’ve had lots of moments throughout our relationship where I’ve felt like Robert was the one for me, so I can’t pinpoint an exact day or time. Once would have been realizing how much I missed him while he was on his deployment. An earlier moment was when he told me to listen to the song She’s Everythingby Brad Paisley. He told me that the song reminded him of me, and I forever have a beautiful love song that feels like it was written just for me. We were recently apart for a few weeks because Robert had military training to attend, and I played the song for my family when they were asking about our mutual love of Brad. I realized my mistake quickly as I started tearing up in front of everyone. A tear slipped down my cheek and onto the floor, and my heart missed the guy who has become everything to me, even though we were only apart for a short time.
Little moments that made me love Robert more than I could have ever imagined have happened when we were playing Super Smash Brothers in his Arlington apartment, the time I surprised him with a prank “birthday party” in November (his birthday is in March) and all he could do was turn red and take it while I laughed, when he reviewed a date with me for my blog, and every single trip we took together in his blue Ford F-150. I loved him more when he tried to win a Minion toy from the movie theater claw game, when he got Junior Mints stuck to his jeans from my movie candy stash and walked around the parking lot looking like a crazy person, and every time he cooked me dinner or sent a little green text. Robert is kind, thoughtful, caring, and absolutely hilarious. I knew my single life was short-lived after a few dates with Robert, and even though the timing wasn’t what I felt like I wanted, I quickly became grateful for every extra day I got to spend with Robert because I met him when I did. I wouldn’t trade any day I spent with him for the world, and feel so blessed that we found each other.
One of my favorite memories with Krista was the first time I told her I loved her. It was in-between her birthday and Christmas. We were hanging out in my apartment in Arlington, and I could tell that there was something on her mind. As she fumbled through her words, I could see where her conversation was headed, and I wanted her to know that I felt the same way. I told her I loved her and from that day, I was sure that she was the one for me.
During the entire time of us getting to know each other and beginning dating, the looming deployment was always on both of our minds. It sucked. It was something that I had wanted to do for a long time, but I kept feeling that the timing couldn’t be worse. However, I had an obligation, and I was going to do what I signed up for.
Krista was the most amazing girlfriend a soldier could have on a deployment. We talked at every opportunity we had, she sent a ton of care packages, and she was always there to chat when things were stressful. She kept me sane, excited, and happy for the duration of my 9+ months overseas, and I could not have done it without her. By the end of the deployment, I realized it actually could not have come at a better time. Our relationship somehow grew stronger, and there was no question that we were meant for each other.
The deployment was the most difficult thing I’ve had to do in life, but it was also so worthwhile. I love that we only got closer during that time, and that Robert still prioritized our relationship while he was 6,500 miles away. If you follow my blog you have probably seen the dozens of posts I wrote about him while he was away, and I have even more thoughts scribbled throughout letters and journals.
Our Future Together
I am so excited about our future together. One thing I love about us is that “quality time” is both of our top love language. This means we enjoy going grocery shopping and running errands together, and always make spending time together a priority. Whether we are enjoying a Blue Apron meal and watching Big Brother and The King of Queens, or going on a little adventure out of town, our hearts feel full at the end of the day because we spent it together. I can’t wait to move in to Robert’s home and make it just a little more girly. I think married life is going to give me a lot to write about, and I am ready to take the next step together hand in hand. Robert is my best friend, my partner in crime, and always makes me laugh — no matter what else is going on in life. If I listed every single thing I was excited for, I would have to write an entire book, but what I’m most excited about is having the other half of my heart by my side for the rest of my life. I know there are so many great adventures in store for us, and I cannot wait to see where our next step takes us.
I cannot wait to spend the rest of our lives together. There are so many things I’m looking forward to, it’s hard to come up with a list. I guess the first thing that comes to mind is all the small things that add up into one great thing. Cooking together, going on walks, going to the movies, etc. Then there are the larger things, like the many dogs she continues to tell me that we will have one day.
Krista is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I look forward to the many decades we will spend together.
I have a lot of new followers in this space, so I wanted to take a minute to re-introduce myself to anyone who is new to my blog, and share a few of my favorite posts for “Flashback Friday.”
First, this used to be called Single in The Suburbs, but now that I am engaged I finally changed the URL to reflect just me. This blog will always have some sort of dating and relationship aspect to it — because let’s face it, dating and love are my favorite things in the world to write about– but instead of sharing silly dating stories I’ll be chatting about a wider range of topics, with the occasional flashback or two.
My favorite things in the world are dogs, chocolate, the beach, my friends and family, and New York City. I like wearing soft T-shirts and sweats, but can’t help but love diamonds now, too. Current obsessions are The King of Queens, Fortnite, and Chipotle queso, but a few months ago I would have said Stranger Things, Mario Kart, and GF pizza, so things definitely change around a little. The Office is a constant in my life, as are chocolate waffle dates with my best friend. I love playing sports more than anything, but since I can’t be that active without passing out now, I enjoy watching other people have fun playing sports on TV. Robert is from Massachusetts, so I officially root for the New England Patriots, Red Sox, and Bruins, but I think my fantasy basketball team made me confused as to who I want to root for. I still am not obsessed with watching sports, though, and can really only handle a lot if I am fed good dessert and given the chance to talk a lot.
Now, on to my favorite blog posts.
Robert and I met six months before he was deployed for ten. This is the most vivid moment I remember from the deployment. To this day I can tell you exactly how my heart felt while he was gone, and how excited I was when he came back. This is one of my favorite posts I wrote about him after we had been dating a little while. Pieces like this still give me butterflies, and I feel so blessed to have written so much about the guy I have decided to spend forever with.
I am an ENFP on the Myers Briggs test, which means I love feelings, and I love writing about them. I think people who are creative sometimes don’t get enough credit for doing meaningful work, too, but if we didn’t have right-brained people, we wouldn’t have great television shows like Seinfeld and Friends!
This is the most descriptive thing I’ve written about pain. It was real, raw, and this is a day I will never forget. I don’t have as many terrible pain days anymore, and luckily when one does come my way I’m not as claustrophobic, because I know that my body can feel better again.
Lastly, I want to continue writing for my single readers, and this is my favorite piece of advice for dealing with a breakup. I don’t believe it’s typically healthy to stay friends with an ex, and I do think it’s important to move on so you can find the right person. An ex isn’t your #1 anymore for a reason, and until you find that person focus on your friends and family who all love you very much.
That’s all I have for y’all today, and I have a lot of catching up to do on here. Hopefully this gave you some sort of new material to read, and I hope you all have a wonderful Friday!
Today I am closing the chapter on our Corinthians Bible verse. Coincidentally enough, last night Robert remembered that he had gotten a gift for me while he was away at military training this month. While he was unpacking his cooler, I saw him put granola bars and M&Ms on the kitchen table, so when he smiled and put his hand behind his back and said, “I forgot I got you a present while I was gone,” I figured he was going to crack up and hand me a candy wrapper or something.
I walked over to him and giggled, anticipating the prank, but was really touched when he opened his hand and there was a silver heart-shaped necklace in it. It had a little cross where the chain held the heart, and I turned it over to find that there was a Bible verse on the other side. It simply said,
“Love Never Fails. 1 Corinthians 13:8.”
I was so surprised and felt my heart fill with warmth. Gift giving has always been a favorite love language of mine, and the fact that Robert thought about me enough to get me a gift while he was gone made me so happy, especially because it was something so perfect for me.
I am going to finish dissecting this verse today, but I encourage everyone to memorize it and keep it at the forefront of your life. You can love every single person you come into contact with, even in the smallest of ways, by using this as your definition for love.
Love protects. There is a reason people in love often say they want to protect their partner’s heart. Humans don’t like seeing others in pain, especially when it’s someone they really care about. By committing to protect someone’s heart you are making a promise to them. You are promising to never intentionally hurt them, to stand up for them, and to ultimately be kind and gentle with their feelings.
Love trusts. Trust is the very most basic foundation of a relationship. Without trust you can’t build any other sturdy elements of a true love story. Trusting someone is knowing they will always keep you in mind when making decisions — big and small — and that they genuinely care about you to their core. Trust shouldn’t be given easily, but once it’s earned it is often kept unless something happens to break it.
Love perseveres. This is one of the most important but difficult things in a relationship. Every single person is going to have trials, sometimes with their partner, and other times alone. I have no experience being married, but I would speculate that the trials we face alone could often be even more difficult on a relationship than those we face together.
I am a fixer. I hate seeing people’s hearts feel broken, and I would rather take any sort of pain from a loved one and have it for myself. It’s difficult watching someone you care about suffer in any capacity, especially if you cannot relate or do anything to help. I often think about the way my loved ones have to deal with my illness, which is a big reason I try my best to keep complaints to a minimum. It is so frustrating when you can’t fix a problem, especially if it’s hurting someone. The most beautiful thing in the world, though, is loving someone throughout all the heartache and pain the world throws at both of you. Perseverance and endurance through hardship is possibly the greatest indicator of a lasting relationship. Realizing the world is a very imperfect place is the very beginning of preparing yourself for an incredible love story. Staying strong and pushing through the pain and difficulties that come up along the way is one of the most amazing ways to love someone, and the maker of an irreplaceably beautiful marriage.
The collection of verses is ended in these three powerful words,
“Love never fails.”
True selfless and strong love doesn’t get broken, and only grows through all the trials and tribulations life brings. Every relationship has its ups and downs, however I believe if you base your love on 1 Corinthians 13, you can make it to forever with your person. This is why I believe that although it is cliche, this is one of the most lovely Bible verses to be read at a wedding ceremony.
I’m baaaaack! A lot has gone on in the week and a half I took off, but I’m ready to write again and update you all on some new developments.
It’s been crazy rainy lately and my POTS symptoms seem to get aggravated during changes in weather. Something interesting about POTS is that it affects a bunch of important organs, and has trouble finding homeostasis when even minor changes are introduced. My physical therapist takes my blood pressure and heart rate every single session — before and after and sometimes during my workouts — and it’s crazy to see that whenever I feel symptomatic my blood pressure is super low, and my heart rate is higher than usual. One cool thing about people with chronic illnesses is that we really know our bodies well. I can almost always pinpoint what is physically wrong with me because of the way my symptoms are behaving. We are going to start looking at the barometric pressure and my blood pressure throughout the day, just as a little test to see how they compare since both of us have noticed this trend. I can’t wait until POTS has been studied better and we can just look up a million and one facts about it, and one day there can actually be a cure.
Which leads me to my next point. I have been trying to be really cognizant of the blessings I have in my life lately. It makes every obstacle a whole lot easier to tackle, and I have felt more peace and joy by looking at the great things God has given me, rather than focusing only on the pain or discomfort. Today, for example, I saw a sweet little bunny outside on our front lawn. He was eating part of our flowers, but I sat and watched him until he was ready to leave before I walked past him. While I was sitting on the porch I saw a little red robin fly into a puddle next to our yard, and he started to fluff his feathers and bathe himself. These two little moments made my heart so warm the rest of the night.
As far as wedding planning goes, we keep making slow and steady progress. Robert and I got our wedding bands this week and they’re absolutely perfect. I keep putting mine on every time I go to his house because I love it so much! I am super sentimental, so I love that he picked everything out for me, but it’s also just so me. I love his too, and I think he looks super handsome with a wedding band. I wrote a little message to him in it so he’ll always be reminded of how I feel when he looks at it. 🙂 Despite all the stress of planning, I keep realizing how fast this time is going by and reminding myself that the primary feeling of this time of engagement should be joy. We have four months to go as of today, and I am so, so excited.
We only have two posts left about 1 Corinthians 13, and today’s is going to be a little lengthy, so hang in there!
“Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.”
Sadly, there is a lot of evil in the world, some of which isn’t even thought of being that way. We are going to keep this post a little simple, though, and focus on the Bible by remembering the seven deadly sins. Pride, envy, gluttony, sloth, greed, wrath, and lust are categorized as the “seven deadly sins.” These are all things that can possibly kill beautiful relationships. I could have a lengthy conversation about how each of these can completely destroy two hearts that are bound together, but today I am going to focus on the three that feel the most prevalent.
We don’t really use the word “gluttony” very often, but according to Dictionary.com it means, “Excessive eating and drinking.” When we think of this word, we think of someone who cannot stop eating, and Bruce in Matilda* comes to mind as someone who eats to the point of being gluttonous. Instead of using the traditional definition of gluttony, however, I want to dig deeper into the reason gluttony is considered one of the seven deadly sins. The key word in the definition is, excess. “Eating and drinking” is in no way a harmful behavior. We need to eat to survive, and a glass of wine can be a great treat at the end of the day. Anything in excess can be incredibly damaging, though, especially to a relationship. The most prominent things I can think of today that people enjoy to excess would be videogames, television, alcohol, or even work. It is heartbreaking just how many girls I see in wedding groups talk about how their future husband won’t pay attention to them because he is too focused on Call of Duty or another game of the sort. I have seen countless people asking for advice on how to get their loved one out of the house and to take care of them half as much as they do their Playstation or Xbox.
I had to sit and think of excessive habits before writing them on this page, and “work” was an interesting thing to include because many people would argue that if someone works hard, it can’t possibly be a negative attribute. A quote that has always stuck with me is,
“No one on his deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I had spent more time on my business.'” -Arnold Zack
Living in the suburbs outside of Washington, DC has been an interesting way to grow up because so many people here prioritize status, money, and power above relationships. Even in school we were always pushed to take as many high level classes as we could manage without breaking — and then some. We were encouraged to play a sport every single season and maintain extracurriculars that would “help us get into a good college one day.” Even in the younger grades I had several hours of homework after spending all day at school. Never once did my high school mention that spending time with family was important, or that having close friendships would be what remained after school was all done with. Doing something meaningful and productive in the world is so important, however the influence you have in the lives of the individuals you come into contact with on a daily basis is just as important.
Greed is something that is a really obvious detrimental trait in a relationship, as it is linked to selfishness. A lack of contentment is the easiest way to lead an unhappy life, and constantly wanting more for yourself will secure a spot with all the other people who can’t focus on the present and always just want more.
Lust is one of the most obvious relationship-destroyers. When I think of “lust,” I think of Hollywood, and I think of society’s normalization of objectifying women. Movies are filled to the brim with sex, nudity, and innuendos, and whether you like it or not, we are conditioned to think that sex isn’t always a private moment between two people who care about each other. It is something that we see every day in magazines, on television, and on unsuspecting webpages, and it is no longer considered “shocking” when someone poses without any clothing on for millions of people to see. Relationships fall apart every single day because one — or both — parties believe they can do better and find someone new and exciting to pursue. Lust is one of the deadly sins because love cannot be sustained through lust. Love is fed through hearts and souls, and a beautiful body is never going to keep a relationship happy and healthy. If anything, love gives a beautiful new set of lenses to view your partner through, and gives a healthy physical component through knowing what is deep down in someone’s heart.
*Side note: When I was a kid, we saw Matilda in theaters and had to leave because I was terrified of the chokey. In hindsight this was a kind of sick movie, hahaha!
“Love rejoices in the truth.”
Two of my favorite words in the English language are “love,” and “rejoice.” They both make my heart flutter with joy, and always have something positive attached. Truth is the key word in this sentence about love, though. “The truth” is the direct object of the sentence, which means it is the reason love is rejoicing. Your love is able to be excited because of having an open and honest connection. Trust is the very basic necessity of a strong relationship; without it there is no foundation to build love upon. Something I really love about my relationship now is that I haven’t ever questioned whether or not I am being lied to. I know my significant other is someone who is always going to be upfront and honest with me, and that has given me such an enormous level of security that I want every single person to be with someone that they first and foremost trust. The world is not a perfect place, which means the truth can sometimes hurt or be difficult to deal with, however love becomes much easier when it is centered around truth. True love doesn’t keep secrets and can grow and really flourish with truthfulness.
We will dissect each of these, and talk about why I think it’s important the verse ends with, “always perseveres.” Thank you for keeping up with this little segment, and I can’t wait to finish this chapter about a beautiful favorite wedding Bible verse.
You guys know I love subscription boxes. Since gift giving is one of my favorite love languages, it’s super fun giving myself a little present every month. Something New Bridal Box recently sent me one of their boxes to review and oh my gosh, they’ve got me hooked. This is the only subscription box that I’ve ever received and decided to keep every single thing for myself because I’m actually going to use it all.
This is what the box looks like when you receive it:
First, I unwrapped the travel mug that says, “Miss Mrs.” on the front. I’ve been drinking a lot of coffee and tea lately, so this is going to be a really nice addition to my wedding planning supplies. I love how bright and girly it is, and despite having a kind of rubbery lid, it doesn’t spill when you use it.
The next thing that caught my eye was a little white goody bag with a silk ribbon around it. I was excited to find a compact mirror by Pink Confetti Boutique that said, “bride” on the front. I’m a huge fan of the watercolor pattern that’s been making its way around the bridal circuit lately, and I am going to pack this in my little touch up bag for the day of the wedding. The boutique also included a 25% off coupon code, so I checked out their site and there are a lot of fun things for both bridesmaids and brides.
Third, I found a delicate sterling silver “Mrs” necklace in the box. It’s funny, but this is the first time I’ve really thought of myself as being a “Mrs.” I have thought about the last name change and everything, but I haven’t spent very much time thinking about the title change away from “Miss.” This little necklace made me feel giddy, and I am waiting to wear it until I have officially become a “Mrs” this fall.
Last, but certainly not least, I felt something thick and heavy wrapped in pink tissue paper underneath all my other goodies. I was so excited to find a “fiancée” sweatshirt at the bottom! It’s thicker than a shirt, but thinner than a normal sweatshirt, so I’m super excited to wear it throughout the summer. The only downside is that it’s a little big on me (It’s a size medium), however when you sign up for a subscription you can actually put in whatever size you are so it will be accurate when you receive your box. Since this was a sponsored post, I didn’t give my size, but I’d rather have this be a little on the bigger side anyway. I can’t wait to wear this over to the fiancée’s house later today to see what he thinks!
Overall, I highly recommend Something New Bridal Box. They have incredible customer service and replied to my emailed questions within the hour, and the shipping was faster than I expected. I loved every single product, and feel like it is a decent price for everything they included in the box ($44.95, but if you use my coupon code you can get 10% off that, and the price goes down more the more boxes you commit to when you subscribe!). I highly recommend purchasing a subscription for yourself or an engaged friend. It would make a wonderful gift at an engagement party as the packaging is beautiful so it’s already wrapped, and the gifts inside are high quality and super-fun for any girl who is getting excited for her wedding.
Want to try SNBB for yourself or to give to a friend? Use the code KRISTALAUREN10 to get 10% off your first purchase.