Good Morning Everyone!! I have another finalist to share with you all today! Courtney and Ryan are High School Sweethearts! Both Courtney and Ryan gave their side on the story of how their relationship has grown over the past 10 years. You can read the highlights from their story below...
"Our love story….almost 10 years of love, where do I begin?! I guess one would call us the true definition of “high school sweethearts.” In today’s world, with so many relationships starting via the internet or social media, that term is often looked down upon or with a negative connotation, I mean how could you know at ages 14 and 15 that you want to spend the rest of your life with one person?! Well, I guess we will tell you how...."
Ryan: "We knew of one another because we went to a small county school where everyone knows everyone and their business. We had met a few times in middle school for brief moments. I asked her out (she said yes, obviously) and we had our first date. I asked her to be my girlfriend that night (I even kissed her on the first date, who does that...). She did not mind, but was caught very much off guard. Anyways, we found each other. Our love took flight and grew like "wildfire". We remained together through high school, and college. Yes, like most couples we hit a few rough patches along the way, but our love persevered. Throughout those years, a question lingered in the back of my mind. We wanted to be married after high school, but we made the choice to wait because we knew the life we wanted would require a tremendous amount of schooling to be successful. Our aspirations and dreams were plentiful just like our love. And, of course, our parents wanted to make sure we finished school. I attended college before her because she was a year younger than me. After she graduated, we attended the same university.
My dreams were coming true and hers too. Eventually, we both made it to graduate school. And again, we both found each other just wanting to be done with school so we could start, what we called "our real life"......
The weeks after purchasing the ring, waiting for it to arrive, and keeping it a secret once I had it was the toughest. I had asked both of her parents, who were like second parents to me at this point in life, for their blessing, and they both said yes of course, but we want to make sure she finishes school before the wedding, and I promised I would make sure that happened. I had planned a weekend trip out of town to go up to the Natural Bridge, and to see some of the sights she and I had always wanted to see. We planned it for the weekend of our nine year anniversary.
As we were walking we heard wedding music playing and we noticed a wedding was about to begin right under the bridge. I thought to myself, "Oh great I won't be able to propose". The area was not closed off yet, and the music made it even more romantic. It was almost as if God had planned it for us. I asked the young attendant to take our picture. I slipped the ring box out of my pocket, got down on one knee, and asked her to marry me. One simple question, with one simple answer, Yes!"
Courtney: "Apparently Ryan pointed to me, and told his teammate, “that girl right there, I’m going to marry her someday,” his friend laughed and told him “yeah, okay man, whatever you say.” I was a little taken back when I heard, but it was flattering. One day, Ryan walked me to one of my classes. He invited me to his game that night. He gave me a sweaty hug at the end of the game, and from that night on for the rest of the weekend we talked for hours on the phone. He first asked me to be his homecoming date, and then asked me out on my first date! I was terrified! I had never been on a real date!
He kissed me at the end of the night, twice, after assuming that I was his girlfriend, (what was he thinking?!), but I liked him so I agreed, thinking it might last a month or two and then I would just date someone else…wasn’t that what was supposed to happen in high school? WRONG! We both fell head over heels for each other, and our love lasted through high school, as we both attended the same college, with some rough patches as we were both growing together as a couple and separately as people. We broke up for about 3 months the summer after my freshman year of college, and at the end, we realized we were the only people we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with. We thought in high school that we wanted to be married as soon as I graduated. Well, college changed that and then we thought, okay as soon as we graduate from college we will get married! Well those plans changed when Ryan decided to attend graduate school for his Master’s degree and I decided to pursue my Doctorate in Physical Therapy after graduation. I knew he wanted to marry me, and I wanted to marry him, but it felt as though our lives were never going to “start.” With all of our friends getting married and having children, it got more and more tough, but we told ourselves we had to wait until we were in a place financially and logistically to be able to get married.
Here we are present day…. Our wedding is planned for September 30th, 2017. That date is so special to us, not only because I will thankfully graduate in May of 2017 and hopefully have a career by then, but also because it will be our 11 year anniversary. We are having our wedding ceremony in a church in a town nearby and then our reception will be at a barn venue in our hometown, so representative of where our love began and the kind of people that we are. We have truly grown up together, developed together, grown stronger together, and are so proud of each other. I know it sounds cliche, but we really are each other’s’ biggest fans in life and we often know each other better than we know ourselves. We are so blessed to be able to spend the rest of our lives together not only as husband and wife, but as best friends. Why are we deserving of this gift? Well, we hope that we can help spread the word of how great true love, hard work, and dedication can lead to a lifetime of happiness. We are so looking forward to our wedding day when that becomes official, in front of all of our family and friends. This gift truly would take some of the stress away from us and our family that comes along with the wedding day and process so, that everyone in our lives who have helped shaped us as people and a couple can enjoy and celebrate such a wonderful day with us. All love stories are beautiful, but ours is my favorite."
If you think this couple is deserving of our giveaway, please visit our Facebook and Instagram and like and share their post! Votes will be accepted through September 15th!