They first met in June of 2015. It was a few weeks into their summer-long mission trip in South Carolina. One Sunday afternoon, they ran into each other and started talking. “After our first conversation, [he] definitely caught me eye and I knew there was something special about him,” Kristen says.
At the end of the summer, they went back to their homes; he to Minnesota and her to Iowa. Towards the end of September, he came down to visit her for the first time. “We hadn’t seen each other for over a month since the mission trip had ended. We had just been talking on the phone and FaceTiming so I was pretty nervous. When he got here, he got out of his car and gave me flowers and had this sweet video he had made for me right before he had left South Carolina the month before,” she says. Chad adds, “I asked her to be my girlfriend the second I got there.” They spent the rest of the day walking around downtown Iowa City. “I was excited to finally be with her in person and to officially start dating.”
Chad moved to Iowa to be closer to Kristen last summer. “I knew Chad was special since the day I met him. But it wasn’t until this past summer that I for sure knew he was the one. He had just moved down to Iowa City and while the transition was a little shaky of being in the same place for the first time, there were just some moments that I was like, ‘Wow, he came all the way here just for me and I can’t imagine life without him.’ He is so selfless and caring and while I can’t pick out one definite moment of when I knew, it just kind of happened.”
Chad had known for a long time, perhaps giving him more reason to uproot his life and move to Iowa. “On my birthday about half a month [after meeting her], I wrote her a note about how I felt and that I knew she was the one.” He gave that note to her the day he proposed.
The proposal itself was a complete surprise to Kristen. “Chad and I had planned to spend most of the day together. He knew that it was a weekend where I didn’t have much studying to do so we cleared the schedule to have a nice date day before he started his job as a sheriff deputy. We made brunch together, watched our favorite TV show, and just hung out. We planned to go for a walk and then go out to dinner. I went home to change, and somehow Chad convinced me to wear nice clothes for a walk in the woods (I wanted to wear a tee and shorts) without me being skeptical at all. He picked me up and we went to the Coralville Lake. We were walking and reminiscing about when we first met in South Carolina when Chad asked to go off the trail so we could take a picture together. He always wants to take pictures and selfies together so his request for a photo wasn’t unusual, but being the rule-follower that I am, I didn’t want to go off the trail. Nevertheless, he finally convinced me and when we got off the trail a little ways, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I was so incredibly surprised–freaking out about how it was even possible because in the days & weeks leading up to it, he had intentionally thrown me for a loop so that I would be surprised.”
Chad fills in a little of the backstory, “We had planned to get engaged in summer 2017, even though I wanted it to be sooner. One day she told me she was ready to be engaged and in two weeks I had to plan everything. I had to figure out how to use Pinterest to figure out her dream ring, find a photographer [to photograph the proposal], and talk to her dad. I did it all in that timeframe and told her that I wanted to go for a walk before dinner. I brought her to the lake and pulled her off the trail saying we were going to take a picture. I then said I wanted to make her bucket list come true (she had told me the first time we hung out on the mission trip that her bucket list was to get married and have kids) and I got down on one knee and proposed.”
Kristen & Chad are two of the sweetest, kindest souls. It is clear that Chad adores Kristen and that she flourishes in that love. To witness the two of them together is to see pure, gentle love. I have loved getting to know them and am so excited to celebrate with them this summer at the start of their marriage.