Marissa and Bradley
How We Met
I (Marissa) moved to Pittsburg, KS in August of 2015 for my first job as the Children’s Pastor at Family Life Assembly of God. Brad attended church at FLAG; he also served on the worship team and in the kids ministry that I would start leading. Through mutual friends and similar interests, Brad and I formed a quick companionship. He was, as I called him, “Bradley Buddy.” After only a few months of being friends and a massive bonding session of singing Rent one night while driving back from Arkansas, our close friends started suggesting that we date. When we went to kids camp together as coaches, we were asked multiple times if we were dating; one woman even thought we were married! And of course, all weekend at kids camp, our kiddos would ask if we were dating. His boys got a kick out of telling me that he liked me. I always vehemently denied any feelings or attractions, listing a myriad of reasons it would never work: he’s too young, he’s going away to school in just over a year, we don’t like each other like that, we’re not THAT similar. We were JUST friends, I thought.
Brad brings hope to any man who has ever been friend-zoned. When I say I vehemently denied it, I’m not exaggerating. I would actually get mad when people suggested we date; I was so tired of hearing it. Little did I know, Brad wasn’t exactly on the same page. (Okay, I kind of knew for like two months; our friend let it slip that he had a crush on me. But, to hear her tell it, it fizzled out after not too long. Spoiler: it didn’t.) Since we’ve started dating, Brad has explained the timeline of his feelings for me. When we first met, he had a crush on me, but it wasn’t much of anything since we didn’t really know each other. As we started becoming good friends and hanging out more one-on-one, he realized he really did like my personality, more than just a crush. Then, when we coached at kids camp together, he knew he could see a real future with me. Other than that two month period, I was blissfully unaware of Brad’s feelings for me…or my feelings for him. Around Easter last year, Brad and I were hanging out a lot. And a lot of it was one-on-one. When my family came to visit, he actually spent a ton of time with us. He was waiting to go to a game night and didn’t want to drive all the way back to his house, so came over for what was supposed to be a few minutes. He ended up staying to eat dinner with my family and even did the dishes after we finished – impressing my grandma greatly with that act. All weekend long, I saw him banter with my dad, get along with my siblings, and impress my mom.
And all weekend long, I fielded questions from my grandma about our relationship status. I held fast to my cries of “We’re just friends!” Until one of the last days my family was in town. I told my sisters that I didn’t have feelings for Brad…but I maybe could. They were supportive and SO excited – even more than I was. When I mentioned my maybe-feelings to my mom, she just said that it was a good match and she could see it. But a day later I was back to my claim of “just friends.” It was a momentary lapse in judgement. I definitely didn’t like Brad. I definitely DID like Brad. I just had no idea yet. After Easter, we continued to build a strong friendship. From there, we went to kids camp as coaches together. After we got back, we were hanging out almost every night. As friends, of course. One night, Brad and another mutual friend were over at my house. I was cleaning and packing since I had to leave town for a wedding early the next morning. When my friend and I had a few minutes alone, she hinted that Brad might REALLY like me…did I maybe like him back? After a denial-filled conversation, I finally admitted that OKAY maybe I did! From there, I couldn’t stop gushing about Brad, and talking about my feelings, and spending time with him. Months of pent-up feelings came pouring out of me and I realized that I could see myself marrying the guy. But that was crazy and the only place I was admitting that was my prayer journal.
Eventually, Brad and I told each other we liked each other and 2 days later we had our first date: stargazing and pizza. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I had been gushing to a friend about my recently discovered feelings for weeks. In my excitement, I forgot to tell her that Brad had told me he liked me. Instead, I just told her that we were going on a date. She asked what we were doing. When I mentioned we were going to be swinging by Walmart on said date, she kindly tried to explain that maybe it wasn’t a date (not knowing we had shared our feelings with each other) and I shouldn’t get my hopes up. The whole duration of our date / Walmart run, I wasn’t totally sure, but I was PRETTY sure we were on a date. I figured I would cut to the chase. I told Brad that I didn’t like “talking.” We were either dating or we were just friends. So which was it going to be? Brad, in the most sweet and bashful tone, answered my question with one of his own and asked if I would be his girlfriend. (Okay, so we were on a date. Glad we got that cleared up!) I said yes and two days later I was meeting his entire family at his birthday dinner.
Things clipped along at a pretty good pace from there. We were spending just about every possible moment together. Not only were we dating, but we were each others’ best friend. We couldn’t get enough of each other. Our planned timeline of getting married after pharmacy school became WAY shorter, much to my excitement. At various points in our relationship, we’ve looked back and said it feels like we’ve been dating forever. Our relationship has been the easiest thing in the world. While we’ve fought and struggled and grown, like any other couple, we’ve always come back to each other and the fact that we don’t want a life without the other person in it. Our next step was the most natural thing in the world.
how they asked
Brad’s proposal was better than I ever could have dreamed it would be. Every last detail was planned around me and our relationship. But before I get to talking about the proposal, I need to talk about the week leading up to it. The week prior to the best day of my life was…not the best week of my life. I was suspicious that Brad would be proposing that weekend and I was a bit of a brat all week long. I got my hopes up and I was excited for a proposal but there were a few moments throughout the week that I truly was sure it WOULDN’T be happening. So when Brad would push the subject of going for brunch on Saturday while I wanted to do something else, I would get annoyed and frustrated with him. Friday night came and I was CONVINCED it definitely was no longer happening that weekend. So convinced, in fact, that even as the proposal was beginning I still wasn’t totally sure it was happening. But happen it did. When Saturday morning – the day before Easter – came, I was running late, as usual. But at this point in time I truly thought we were just going for brunch, so it wasn’t a big deal. We started off and we were heading in the wrong direction for brunch. I was slightly suspicious that SOMETHING was happening, but I still didn’t think it was a proposal. I asked him where we were going and he said it was a surprise. I then clarified “But I’m getting food, right?” and he assured me that there would be food, yes. We carried on and I tried to guess where he was taking me.
After awhile, I figured out that we were heading out to his grandparents’ farm, where we had spent many of the early days of our relationship. When we got there we said hello to his grandpa who was outside and Brad said we were going to take the 4-wheeler out for a ride. Mind you, he had “dressed up” for our breakfast and I was in a white dress with white wedges! We weren’t dressed for 4-wheeling! But I’m generally up for spontaneous ideas, and I knew there was some sort of surprise awaiting me. We 4-wheeled out to his grandparents beautiful swimming pit – where we had spent our first day as a couple.
On the way up the hill leading to the swimming pit, Brad kept getting stuck. It took 3 tries for him to drive the 4-wheeler up the hill, but eventually he did, and no one even had to get off and push! I was getting a kick out of his efforts, though. We parked the 4-wheeler near the pit and Brad helped me off of the 4 wheeler and led me to an open field. He told me that his grandparents had planned an Easter egg hunt for me, since he knew this was my first Easter without my family (and therefore my first Easter without an Easter egg hunt) and my love for celebrating holidays. Although I may have been oblivious about the proposal, I figured Brad was the one behind this egg hunt. This was the sweet surprise he had planned for me!
We started gathering the eggs and opening them and I found an assortment of candy or notes that read: “You are kind,” “You are beautiful,” “You are my world,” and “I love you.” As we went along and gathered eggs, I mentioned to Brad that we should have brought a basket because we weren’t able to hold all of the eggs! The eggs seemed to be leading in a line, and at the end of the trail, Brad pointed out a basket on a blanket.We started walking over to the basket and found one more egg near the edge of the blanket. Brad took all of the other eggs from me and set them down on the blanket and told me to open the last egg. Inside was a note like the others. It read: “Will you marry me?” At the same time Brad got down on his knee and opened a golden egg that he had converted into a ring case!
I didn’t say yes or no, but I was shaking and laughing and quasi-crying and I just kept saying “Are you kidding me? Are you serious? Is this a joke?” over and over again. I shakily knelt down to kiss and hug him and he had to remind me we had to put the ring on. We had a sweet moment and then Brad pointed out our photographers who were literally right beside us.
I was a little too wrapped up in Brad and our moment to notice. (Shout out to Andy and Laci for waiting for me in the trees and hot weather while I was running an hour late to my own proposal!) We took a few pictures with them and headed back to the 4-wheeler.
As we were getting on the 4-wheeler, someone mentioned I never actually gave Brad an answer. He teasingly asked if I could say it, just for his peace of mind. I told him “Yes! Obviously!” and we took off towards the farm. The 4-wheeler wouldn’t make it up the first hill again, and this time Brad did get off and push. We made it back to the farm, where his grandparents and our friend Mariah were waiting for us. We celebrated and talked over sandwiches (this was the food I had been promised and was waiting for!). Eventually, we left the farm and drove around to visit our friends and Brad’s family. In between stops, I called my family and friends. We spent the afternoon sharing our excitement with the people we love. It was the perfect end to a perfect proposal!