The Illies Love Story: 7 Years of marriage!
Seven years ago today I married my best friend and the love of my life! SEVEN YEARS! How can it have been seven years already?! Crazy how fast time flies!
Today I wanted to share with you OUR love story!!!
The Beginning Of Our Love Story
Eight years ago my husband and I met while we were in college. He had been attending for “Farm Management” and I was going for “Professional Photography”. One of our mutual friends, whom I’ve known since high school, invited me go over to another friends house to play cards with them that night!
My husband happened to be there and was sitting at the opposite end of the cards table.
I know most people don’t believe in love at first sight, but I do because I’ve lived it! As soon as I laid eyes on him sitting across the table from me I knew in my heart that there was something special about this sweet, shy college farm boy. That he was meant to be a part of my life somehow and we hadn’t even said hello to each other yet!
Over the next few weeks we spent as much time together as we possibly could and we got to know each other! He’d hang out at my apartment before and after class, I’d hang out with him in his hands on class while I wasn’t in class myself, we’d eat lunch together, and he’d invite me to ride along in the semi with him while he taught others how to drive it all the time!
After only two weeks of knowing each other on April 1st of 2009, we were hanging out at my apartment before class and he shyly asked me “What should I tell my friends about us? Can I call you my girlfriend?” My heart melted!
The Love Story of the Next 3 Months
Over the next three months our love story unfolded! We continued to spend as much time together as we could and getting to know each other! We met each others families, he surprised me with tickets to go see “The Phantom of the Opera” play at the Orpheum in Minneapolis, and we would spend time together even while we both worked on the farm on the weekends!
A month and a half after we had started dating we graduated from college and after two months we were already talking about our future together! Yes, you did in fact read that right!
On the day of my birthday on May 29th when we went to see “The Phantom of the Opera” play we went shopping at the Mall of America. We got a hand drawn drawing of us together, shopped for clothes (because we all know how much girls love clothes!), and we went to see the engagement rings at Kay Jewelers. No, I’m not kidding! Haha!
Little did I know that after that day he went back in to Kay Jewelers to buy my ring and I had NO IDEA until one month later when he proposed to me on the Fourth of July!
Our Proposal Love Story
On July 4th, 2009, only three short months after we had started dating, my husband proposed to me!
We were at my parents farm that day enjoying some time off together for the Fourth of July. He told me he wanted to go riding horse together!
So we went down to ride but we had a little mishap happen. I had him ride my main horse and I rode my other horse because he needed someone light on his back when we went riding since he was older. Well, long story short David got dumped off of my horse and landed REALLY hard on his shoulder. I was worried about how hurt he was so I took us back home.
At this point I still had NO IDEA he was planning to propose to me or that riding horse was all a part of his proposal plan. So he had to improvise! Haha!
This part still makes me laugh! We were sitting in my parents living room on the couch in our PJ’s (I know right! Haha!) when he came back into the room from grabbing his guitar. He pulled out his phone, showed me a photo, and started to sing a song for me!
The photo on his phone was a photo of the ring and after he finished singing his song, he asked me to marry him.
I was so shocked and was really wishing I hadn’t made us come back home, but regardless, I said “HELL YES”!!!
Three short months and I was engaged to the LOVE OF MY LIFE! I couldn’t have been more excited!!!
Wedding Planning and Our Wedding Love Story
After we told our shocked/excited families and friends, I jumped right into starting to plan our wedding! Being a wedding photographer myself, my first priority was our wedding photographer and I literally chose our wedding date based on her availability! My mom will NEVER let me live that part down!
We DIY’d quite a bit of our wedding and held it a short nine months later on June 19th, 2010! We got married at the one place that will always have a piece of my heart! My parents ranch!
Growing up I spent as much time as I could down there in the pasture and the woods riding my horse or working the cattle! It was the one place that I could go to just THINK and relax. So it meant the world to me to be able to get married there. My baby sister got married down too and I’m sure my little brother will too some day!
On our wedding day we were surrounded by our family and friends! It was SO BEAUTIFUL! There was also plenty of farmer shenanigans that happened! Including us riding in on a trailer to the ceremony, doing funny photos with shotguns (not my idea!), and of course riding horse in my wedding dress like I had always dreamed of!
Our Love Story Now
In the last seven years of our marriage we have been through SO MUCH and overcome so many challenges!
We both had started originally working on the farm with my parents for a few years, we built our first house together out in the country in Minnesota, I went full time with my photography business, he decided farming wasn’t for him anymore, and then my husband decided he wanted to join the Marine Corps.
So we uprooted from where we were and from our original life plans so we could chase his dream of being a Marine!
The next year was the hardest year of my life. I struggled with everything being in the military entailed and knowing he’d be gone for months at a time. But we overcame it!!!
The three months he was in bootcamp we had NO communication except for writing letters to each other and to be honest, it REALLY strengthened our marriage! I’ve now just started to include “Love Letters” into all of my KIP Engagement and Anniversary sessions because of this! You can read about it HERE!
When we seen each other for the first time in three months for his bootcamp graduation, it was incredible and is still one of my favorite memories!
Fast forward to today and a couple of moves in between, we’re now living here in Southern California where I’m absolutely LOVING living our life here and everything California has to offer!
Even though I struggled with the thought of David becoming a Marine, I’m so thankful that he is able to chase his dream and for all of the traveling I’ve been able to do because of it!
What We’ve Learned About Marriage So Far
In our seven years of being married, we’ve learned a LOT about marriage and about what it takes to keep our marriage strong, even through the toughest of times!
Below are some of the things we’ve learned so far!
- We learned that marriage is about compromising on a lot of things and learning to work together instead of against each other!
- We learned to really prioritize our time together and to make each moment count because being in the military he could be gone for MONTHS at a time.
- We’re learning to prioritize traveling and experiencing things rather than just spending money on collecting materialistic stuff.
- We’ve learned to never stay mad at each other and to actually apologize if we know we were wrong.
- We learned that I wasn’t always the best navigator when taking trips because I get distracted by all the pretty scenery way too easy! I’m better now though!
- We’ve learned to live life with a positive attitude instead of complaining about everything that went wrong.
- My husbands learned that he’ll never win when it comes to whether or not we’ll be getting professional photos done when I want to! Haha! I told him this before he married me too!
- I’ve learned that life isn’t all about working 24/7 and that when my husband gets home from work that I need to stop working for the day to spend time with him.
- We’ve learned that going out to eat three times a week wasn’t ideal for our budget!
- We’ve learned to tell each other how we feel or about the struggles we’re facing instead of bottling it up. (mainly me who needed this!)
- My husbands learned that I’m not the only one who should be doing the house work and that he needs to pitch in to help too!
- We’ve learned to take turns cooking meals and not fight about it as much!
- We’ve learned to do things we both love doing and not just one or the other. We both take turns doing something that the other wants to do too!
If you’re engaged and working on planning your wedding, I’d love to connect and hear about YOUR love story too!!!
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