Natalie and Ryan met on the first day of the 6th grade (y'all - how adorable is that?!!). Natalie said, "I liked Ryan from day one, he was kind and very cute." But like many 6th graders, they needed some time to bloom & mature. The next year, after hours chatting on AIM (remember those days?!), they started dating. Seventh through ninth grades they went to the movies, Friday night football games a few dances... and then, their sweet relationship ended quite amicably before tenth grade. They stayed friends through high school but went to separate colleges after graduation. After college graduation, they both took jobs back in Atlanta & during the Snow-Pocalypse of January 2014 they saw each other again & started rekindling their friendship.
I love how Natalie described it - "I never really "fell in love" with him, because I already loved him for exactly who he was all along. By November of 2014 we sort of just fell into dating. Since then, we have just been taking the natural path of most relationships- deepening our friendship and learning everyday how to imperfectly imitate God's perfect love for us."
For their two year anniversary, Natalie and Ryan planned a trip to the mountains of North Carolina. Ryan played it cool trying to dissuade any ideas that Natalie may have had that he was going to propose that weekend. Their first morning in the mountains, Ryan & Natalie rose to watch the sunrise, and Ryan decided it was time to give Natalie the non-tangible anniversary gift he'd been saving. He said, "I know how much you like words of affirmation, so I have tabbed some verses that remind me of you. Read them out loud in order and after each of them, I am going to tell you why they remind me of you." She wasn't aware that he was going to propose until she came to the final tabbed verse - Genesis 2:18 "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." Ryan took the Bible from her hands & read Ephesians 5:25 "Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." Then, getting down on one knee, Ryan asked Natalie to marry him & she said 'Yes'!!
Natalie, what about Ryan do you love the most? - "His kindness. He is a naturally kind person, he is extremely patient and slow to anger. His ability to forgive. His steadfastness. He grows but does not change from the core of who he is. His faithfulness. His faith is unwavering and humble. A quiet and strong faith. He is unique as can be... to the point where he is difficult to describe to people. He can fix anything. He makes me laugh. Always. Even when I am frustrated with him, he is making me laugh... which often leads to more frustration and then more laughter. He is comforting and assuring."
Ryan, what is it about Natalie that you love the most? - "Faithful and Disciplined- she has a lot of discipline in what she does. She does quiet times and reads and studies the bible and is really good about keeping up with it. I am not as good at self-discipline so I admire this a lot (I get easily distracted). Lets me be myself - I guess how it should be in any relationship - she lets me be myself. I can 100% exist as I am with my habits (except picking food before its ready) when I am around her which is really nice. She mostly lets me exist without commenting or trying to propose changes to anything except when she tries to convince me not to ride motorcycles. Comfortable in Silence and Not Conforming - she is really her own person. Doesn't need social media, doesn't need constant talking or to be around people all the time which I also like so it works well. I like that both of us can go places and kind of just do various things and enjoy each others company even if we are not talking. Of course I love talking to her obviously, but as someone who is also not always talkative its nice to be able to do our own things because it creates a good balance. Selfless and Servent Leader - she is really good at thinking of other people and serving. She always thinks to buy co-workers gifts and stuff, and will do nice things for you when you need it or not. She does not ask for very much in return except words of affirmation. Funny - for a girl she is funny.... sometimes. Organized - she is really good at planning and organizing and cleaning, and for some reason she seems to enjoy it sometimes. It's beyond me but I like it a lot because she always thinks of things on trips and stuff that I as a guy would never consider to bring."
Natalie & Ryan - Can't wait for your wedding in April!