Before we were dating (Marcello’s Version):

It’s funny how I used to think how it would be great to marry someone I was friends with first, without ever knowing we’d end up married.

Julie and I met in 2000 after I became a friend of her family, and at that point, we were like brother and sister.  It NEVER crossed either our minds we could or would ever date.  For years we occasionally talked and saw each other, no big deal.

Somehow around Julie’s Junior year in college (2006-07), we went from brother and sister to friends.  We, along with her cousin Ernie and friend Janice, would sometimes get together to  talk, eat, do movie parties, break-dance, etc., and we laughed a lot.  Again, who would have thought we would EVER date!

Julie moved out of the country in 2007-2008 to serve an LDS Mission in the Dominican Republic (Julie’s Mission Blog), so for about two years we didn’t even see or talk to each other. But, come April of 2009, when I saw her again for the first time, things began to change between us.

It was actually April 4th, 2009 when I saw Julie again.  She and her cousin Ernie came and visited me at one of my General Conference house parties, and it was so fun to see her again.  We did some catching-up, and joked around, and I was, strangely enough, finding her somewhat attractive.  But, to date her??  Come on! No way!

I somehow mentioned to my mother that Julie came over, and I hadn’t seen her in a loooong time, and my mom the next day had a dream about Julie and told me I should start pursuing her and for me “not to mess this one up.”  (I guess my mom knew my track record for dating a lot and being overly commitment phobic. haha.)

It took a while to become convinced I should even pursue Julie, so I kept dating other gals, while wondering if maybe there could be something there with Julie and I.  I kept wondering that until the end of the summer when she and I began dating.

So, what happened that summer?  Actually, nothing much until July.  Until about May, Julie was going to school and living about 2 hours away, so we didn’t really see each other.  We would IM or talk on the phone occasionally, but not much more than that. During this time, Julie started feeling  like Heavenly Father wanted her to move down to Lehi, UT – 15 minutes South of me :) – to find a job, which didn’t completely make sense.

Moving to Lehi was a difficult decision for her because her mother was dying from pancreatic cancer and only had about a month more to live.  Logically, she could stay in Logan, work, and take care of her mother.  She struggled with the decision, but alas she followed what she felt was right, and moved down south to Lehi.  (She is so good!)  Her mother ended up passing away on June 16th, 2009.

By this point, Julie had a job commitment and a place to live in Lehi, which kept her down in my area just long enough for us to start spending more time together come the beginning of July (about a month before she moved back to Logan to finish her schooling).  Neither of us were even really trying to date each other up to that point.  It’s funny how things work out.

Before we were dating (Julie’s Version):

Haha, well we had never ever considered dating, that’s for sure. ;D  He used to hang out with my sister and my cousins and I would see him once and while when he’d come to visit, hang out or at conference get-togethers, hard to remember exactly when.  It was always fun when he came around! ^_^  But the first time I recall was on Thanksgiving day when he came for dinner in year 2000 (no, I guess it was at Bear Lake, July of 2000).  It seems he was like my distant brother or cousin, something similar.  Everyone loved him and thought he was pretty awesome – not just pretty.  haha, okay well, he’s always been real good lookin’.  ^_^  Other than the random occasions I really didn’t see him much…

Until this past summer of 2009 – I had decided I needed to earn some extra money and was wondering how I should go about it.  One thing led to another and I had the distinct impressions I needed to go out of town to work.  (I think Marcello already explained this) My mother’s health was decreasing rapidly due to pancreatic cancer and I thought it best to stay in town to work so I could be with her, but the Lord again told me I was to go.  Twice I had second thoughts with my logical reasons to stay – but he said no.  So I went.  Blindly.  I stayed with my friend Peggy and after a couple weeks of job searching the Lord lead me to a good place.  All summer I worked there and never really hung out with Marcello.  The first time I saw him after my mission I think was Conference weekend April 2009. Yeah, so it had been a couple years – I was sure glad to see him!  I had always looked up to him, thought he was an overall awesome guy – and I felt really special to have been his friend.  :]  We joked around like we were brother-sister.  Yeah, always good times with that guy.

Dating (Marcello’s Version):

Because soccer is the greatest sport in the world, I like to say that Julie’s and my first date was July 6th, 2009 when we went to kick around the soccer ball at a local park.  What a romantic beginning, eh!  ;)    She would probably disagree. :(

Anyway, back on track…  Up to that point, we were still just casual friends, but I was intrigued at my mom’s prodding to date her and kept thinking “what if?”  So, the soccer “date” was my way of checking her out more and getting to know her better.

I found out a few things that day.  First, she doesn’t quit.  She hadn’t played soccer since grade school and spent about 45 minutes trying to just juggle the ball 7 times in a row.   Second, she is more fun than I remembered her being.  Third, I should never challenge her to a wrestling match in public.

After 45 minutes of me sitting down and watching her try to juggle, she was exhausted, and I figured she was easy prey to pin.  So, without warning, I picked her up and took that girl down.  That lasted maybe 3.2 seconds before she flipped me over and had me pinned in front of a whole heap of soccer moms who were at the park watching their little children practice.

I kept imagining to myself (after 5 minutes of trying to buck her off and feeling like gum completely stuck to deep shag carpet) how entertaining those moms must have found my grief.  So, I bucked, and pulled on the grass with doubled effort and even got loose a few times, just to get instantly pinned again. :(

Sadly enough, sometimes even Superman must submit to Kryptonite, so after about 30 minutes of wresting Lex Luther on the soccer field, I decided to “let” her win.  SO embarrassing!  A woman beat me!  In front of soccer moms!! That was just the beginning of her abuse. haha.  I’ve learned, she always wins. :)    ~ I hear that is a good lesson to learn before marriage anyway. ~

In all reality though, I would say our dating took its real jump start on the weekend of July 23rd-25th, 2009.

I had organized a camping trip with about 50 of my friends to Zion National Park, and I took my little brothers Christopher and Christian with me.  I didn’t expect Julie to come, but when she arrived, my heart jumped a little, and strangely I was excited and nervous at the same time.  That surprised me.

She and I spent the whole weekend together and laughed and played so much.  My brothers absolutely LOVED her, and that was really important to me.  We went swimming, caving, hiking, and it felt comfortable and natural.   There were a few times, as we crossed a river, that (as a gentleman) I “had” to help her not fall on the mossy stones by holding her hand.

Well, by the end of the weekend, we kissed for the first time, and as we did, we were laughing and we were BOTH so surprised.  It felt so natural to kiss her, and it was fun!

After the Zion trip, Julie and I spent most every day together, even though we weren’t exclusive, but on August 12th, after almost 3 weeks of dating, somehow, not planning to, we started talking marriage.  WOW!  WEIRD!  CRAZY!   Julie and I both struggled to EVER commit to anyone, and we were talking marriage??!!

We had gone hiking earlier that day with friends and family, and we had our first falling out.  So, frustrated, she and I stopped the car, got out, and sat on the grass in front of a Zion’s Bank near a busy street.   We talked and talked and worked out our misunderstandings, and before we knew it, we were talking about the possibility of marriage and the need to explore that path to see if that was a good thing or not.

So, now came the tough part, breaking it to our families!  But, it wasn’t as tough as we imagined.  Her family had known me for so long, that they liked me, and when my family met Julie, they instantly fell in love.  I was amazed as my dad would call her his “Little Angel” and my mom instantly thought of her as her daughter, and my siblings and their spouses would write back and forth with her on Facebook, etc., even before they met her.

Over the next 1-2 month’s time, Julie and I had soooo much fun.  We went on road trips, visited family, went caving, had little fun dates here and there, talked on the phone late at night and read scriptures together, and laughed a lot.

During this time, I remembered a piece of advice my church Stake President had given over a year earlier on getting married.  He said, “Just go find a gal you are attracted to, that you have fun with, who loves the Lord, and get married.”  That seemed like good advice, and so Julie seemed to fit the mold.   So, on to my engagement story…

Dating (Julie’s Version):

So at the end of the summer my stay in Lehi was coming to an end and Marcello and a group of singles had planned a trip to Zions National Park and he had invited me to come along.  I was totally game for it and my cousin Ernie and I drove down to join everybody there.  It was awesome to get to know a bunch of fun people, hang out with my cuz and meet Marcello’s younger brothers – not to mention how great it felt to finally get a break from work!  I was truly among the best of friends. =)  We all had a blast out there and Marcello and I were getting along really well.  It was funny how we started to kind of hold hands, longer and longer, and by the end of the trip we had kissed once — *gasp!   I thought – “what is happening??”… “this is weird — but I like it!!” It was so strange that everything had happened the way it had to bring us together like that.  We had been prepared years ahead of time!  How cool is that?? ;)

I’ve had the most rewarding experiences having Marcello as my new future companion.  I look up to him in so many ways it helps me want to become better as a whole; he is such an example to me!  We’ve been learning to work together as a team (planning a wedding has been great for that!), to find ways to better love each other, and how to show that love.  We’re discovering our true selves (good AND bad ;) ) and adapting to our differences.  What a wonderful experience!  Working on a relationship isn’t always easy – but that’s how we grow!  It can only make you stronger. ^_^  The greatest relationships are those that have struggled the most AND stuck with it.  I’m so excited to begin our new family and watch it flourish as we come closer to each other and most importantly our Heavenly Father.

We had had a good number of fun little dates and really enjoyed our time together laughing, joking around and having deep talks.  Marcello had already mentioned the time when we even started talking marriage in front of Zion’s bank.  Both of us were terrified of marriage before – yet thinking it and feeling it seemed so natural and right…  For so long (well… not nearly as long as Marcello ;) ) I had been confused and my mind clouded about guys and relationships – but at that moment for the first time I had felt completely calm and my mind was totally clear.  The sweetest feeling of peace came over me and I was happy for the first time.  I couldn’t stop smiling as we discussed our potential future together, our ambitions and desires.  The feeling was so strong tears of joy had filled my eyes.  I believe that was the moment I had actually fallen in love with him…..  :)   I never thought it was possible to find the perfect man for me, maybe he didn’t exist, or I had to seek him out in some foreign land.  The Lord knew I was so stubborn that he’d really have to hit me with a brick so I’d know for sure.  I would never get married unless I knew I was going to be happy.  (Well, who wouldn’t after all?)  And here he was… all along. ^_^

The Engagement (Marcello’s Version):

Well, Julie and I were having so much fun from July through September, so I mentioned to my family that I may marry this woman.  I told them that Thanksgiving Day, in front of the whole family, would be a good time to propose, and they got excited.  That’s when things got tough.

I knew I was commitment phobic, but on the 1st day of October, I had an intense anxiety hit me, and I felt like I could barely breathe.  I’d never had anything so strong like that; I didn’t understand it.  I kept getting on my knees and praying and pondering to see if Heavenly Father was trying to warn me or if it was just my own fears or some other opposition, and I couldn’t figure it out.

It felt like someone was stepping on my chest, and I almost called Julie to end our relationship, just so the horrible feeling would leave, but I pushed through it.  She luckily didn’t call me and I didn’t call her that night, and I finally fell asleep, exhausted.

The next day, Julie drove from Logan to spend General Conference weekend with me, and as soon as I saw her, I felt happy and excited to be with her again.  That was an interesting contrast.  So, over the next few months, the anxieties came and went, and I learned to identify and work through my fears.  I guess that is what I get for enjoying my single life for so long. :)

The Saturday before Thanksgiving (after about 4-5 days of almost constant anxieties), I called Julie and for about 4 hours I unloaded everything I could think of that was worrying me.  She, as she always does, patiently listened to me, and assured me that she loves me and will always be there for me.

I gotta admit, her constant faith and patience strengthened me.  In all our dating, and through ALL my ups and downs, she was constant, full of love, understanding, full of character, and not worried about us working out.  She knew we were doing the right thing, and didn’t doubt it.  (I don’t know how she did it.)   She is a rock!

On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, I asked my Stake President at church for a priesthood blessing because the next day, Julie, her dad, and I were driving to Lake Tahoe to spend Thanksgiving break with my family.  I was still a bit nervous, and he blessed me that if I get a go ahead from Heavenly Father to ask Julie to marry me, to do it, but know that afterward, I would be bombarded with doubts again, and that I would need to work harder to live close to Christ in order to push through it.  So, the next day, I left for Tahoe.

Thanksgiving was in four days, and surprisingly, the anxieties were gone all those days.  Julie and I got along great and had a lot of fun with her father and my family, and then, Thanksgiving came around.  I did a lot of praying and pondering that day, and I still felt peace about asking her, so I did it.  Gulp!  I was a bit nervous, I gotta admit, but not anxious, thankfully.

How did I ask her?  My old roommate Tom Durham and I put together an interactive DVD of funny and embarrassing pictures and videos of Julie.  Julie had NO idea I would be proposing to her, so that made it even funnier.  My whole family and her father were in on it.

As the family was together, cooking the meal, I announced that I wanted them to get to know Julie better, so I had made a fun DVD of her for them to watch.  I put the DVD in and pressed play as I left the room to supposedly go buy butter at the store.

As they all flipped through the menus, my family and Julie rolled in laughter watching Julie act like a monkey on video, or pretend to be a model, etc., all put to fun music.

As the DVD played on, there came a point where I came onto the DVD and talked about choices we all make, and then, on the television screen, I asked her the hypothetical question “Would you marry me?”  At that point she finally figured out what was happening, and everyone laughed even more.   The DVD went on to have her dad, my dad, my mother and my mother’s husband, and then whole family give their thoughts about Julie and I possibly getting married.  Everybody was in agreement.  So, it was time for me to actually ask her…

So, I reentered the room, dressed up in a tuxedo, holding a big bouquet of roses, and I sang her a song especially written for the occasion.  She loved it, and I got down on one knee, and asked her for her hand (and the rest of her) in marriage.  Luckily she said YES!.  It was a great day!  And as the music kept playing we all started dancing. :)

The Engagement (Julie’s Version):

Coming soon…..