The engagement. In some ways, it was a beautiful time in our relationship as we stepped closer each day to becoming husband and wife. In other ways, I shudder to think of that time in our lives because that was also the most difficult time we experienced. We were not only engaged and in a whole new stage, but I also had to leave at the end of the summer to finish up one last semester of school.
The morning we had to say goodbye to each other is one of the hardest days I can remember. Yes, I realize I am overly dramatic about this because we were not in any kind of hardship at the time, and (heroic) men and women say goodbye to (future) spouses for much longer when they are deployed or even if they travel further for college or work. But for us, it was incredibly difficult. I still can't think about that morning we had to say goodbye without feeling emotional. After a lot of tears and trying to figure out a way to do things different, I drove 5 hours back to Virginia Tech to end my college career.
In all honesty, we were both terrible at long-distance relationships. I was much clingier than I am now, so I wanted a constant channel of communication. Nathan, on the other hand, hated even carrying his phone with him and did not want to feel like he was on call. That made for a lot of frustration, confusion, and tears (on my end).
The other difficult part was that I expected the wedding planning to take all of my time and mental energy, and it simply didn't. I planned a very simple wedding and after a few weeks of hard work, most of it was done or could not be touched until about a month before. I ended up working a part-time job for some extra money and also for keeping myself occupied over those months.
It was not all terrible - I made and solidified some really great friendships during that time - but it was difficult to feel like our relationship was completely out of my control. Nathan is an extreme introvert, and in all honesty (I say this with kindness!) he is pretty terrible at carrying on a conversation over the phone, which he would freely admit.
I'm thankful this all ended happily, but we weathered some tough things during those months. Since we had not even dated for a year before we got engaged, there was so much we still had to learn about each other. We learned a LOT during the engagement - and vowed never to be separated again!
The thing that kept us grounded in the end was the joy of the past and the hope of what was to come. We knew we would be happily married in just a few months, and we were fresh off the amazing proposal of just a few months before. Of course we had bright spots and great times laughing on Skype or spending time together in person when we visited, and those moments simply reminded us of the reason we got engaged in the first place. And so, 6 months and one week after we got engaged, I woke up the morning of my wedding truly excited - and a whole lot more grounded than just a few months before.
Up next: Our wedding day!
Each week I'm including some pictures of the first few years we were together. They aren't professional or perfect, but I cherish them so much, just looking back at the people we used to be.