Five years – half a decade! – ago today, on October 1, 2016, Rob and I were engaged! The last five years have been filled with more joy and love than I ever imagined or thought possible, and I am deeply blessed to have been married to this man for 4.5 years now – and a million more years to go! Our engagement anniversary simultaneously feels like it happened just a year ago… and other moments, it feels like a lifetime ago. Through the ups and downs of life, the exciting milestone days and the everyday routines, through the joys and sorrows, in the abundant love and the fleeting tiffs, in every moment, I am so grateful for Rob and the man that he is. He is the best husband, friend, and lifelong partner I could ever imagine, and I am incredibly blessed to be Rob’s wife and to share this life with him.
In honor of our five year engagement anniversary, I thought it would be fun to share our engagement story and reflect on it.
Rob and I met online on Coffee Meets Bagel in March of 2016. He was about to take a break from online dating for a while (luckily his friend convinced him to stick it out for one more week!); I was pretty thrilled that Rob was my very first match on the very first day I signed up for the service. Within half an hour of being matched with one another, Rob had asked me out on a date for the very next day! I loved that his profile showed his faith and that he said he was one of the nicest guys you’d ever meet.
(Funny story: Before meeting Rob, I wanted to learn his last name, since I happen to have a brother-in-law named Rob. My Rob wrote back, saying that his last name was Shaul… which is nearly identical to my maiden name, Scholl. What are the odds?! I have loved being Stephanie Shaul for the last few years; only a slight departure from my maiden name!)
Our first date was wonderful with easily flowing conversation, and a second date was planned before the first even ended. Rob and I have been inseparable since day one, knowing that wherever our relationship was headed was GOOD. Countless dates were spent walking around the lake, cooking, playing tennis, taking road trips, enjoying picnics, visiting family and friends, hosting game nights, throwing dinner parties, watching football, and trying new restaurants. Early on, it was clear to us both that we wanted to be together forever.
After being single for so much of my life, learning to find contentment in singleness, trusting in the Lord’s perfect timing and wisdom, trying to wait patiently, and living life to its fullest through all of that, I sometimes had to pinch myself that I would get to marry Rob and spend forever with him! Loving Rob is such a gift, and we are so grateful to have found each other. And if you’re doing the math, you’re correct: we dated for six months, were engaged for six months (October 1, 2016 – April 1, 2017), and got married one year after we met (on April 1, 2017!).
Everyone asks if I was expecting Rob to propose when he did. I did, and I didn’t, all at the same time! We had talked at length and prayed about getting married, and we knew for certain that we definitely wanted to marry one another. Rob and I had discussed a general timeline (I am a planner, after all!), and how we might accommodate our own wedding in the midst of all of my wonderful clients’ weddings already scheduled for 2017. Although I expected a proposal sometime in the last three months of the year (around the holiday season), I was absolutely not expecting it to happen exactly when it did.
There were only two things I had mentioned in passing to him about a proposal: I wanted it to be private, and I wanted to be totally surprised. On October 1, I worked a 12+ hour day in Chapel Hill at one of my weddings, then drove home to Raleigh. As soon as I pulled up to my home (yes, still wearing my vendor apron from the wedding, and yes, it was 11:50pm), I saw Rob outside waiting for me. He was wearing my favorite shirt that I got him for his birthday, but I was still completely oblivious.
Rob immediately came over and got down on one knee, pulled out a diamond ring, and said the sweetest things in the world. I was still in shock and a little speechless, asking him “wait, what?” a couple times as he told me how much he loves me, how excited he was to spend the rest of our lives together, and how much he wanted me to be his wife. By this point, I was shaking and crying (happy tears, of course!) and beaming! I remember saying “yes, yes, a million times yes” when he asked me to marry him. Rob got up and we were simultaneously laughing, crying, and hugging each other when I remembered that I hadn’t actually looked at the ring yet. I told him he still had to put the ring on my finger, and it was perfect. Classic, timeless, and dainty: exactly what I wanted.
We went inside, relishing in the fact that we were officially engaged! I made him tell me the entire story behind ring shopping, asking my parents, and planning our proposal. We were in Ohio the weekend before our engagement for my grandmother’s funeral, and my mom and dad happened to be alone in a room as Rob was walking by. He was able to ask them in person (something I have always wanted!), and they joyfully gave their blessing. He also called my sister, who is my best friend besides Rob, to ask for her blessing, which is a touch that I especially love.
As for my ring, Rob and two of his good friends went shopping the afternoon I headed off to the wedding (the day of the proposal!!), found the perfect ring for me, and have lots of fun stories to tell about the ring-buying process.
I couldn’t wait any longer to share the biggest news of our lives with our families! We knew that my sister and her husband (funnily enough, also named Rob!), my parents, and Rob’s parents were all awaiting a phone call that night, despite it being 1:00am! I accidentally called my sister before my parents, because she had texted me most recently and she popped up on my phone first, but it was so, so much fun basking in our engagement and virtually celebrating with those who have been our biggest supporters and encouragers.
Rob came back over to my apartment the next morning so that we could share our engagement news with everyone, and we made countless phone calls that day (over 60!). I’d always dreamed of what it would be like to be proposed to and get to share this news with loved ones, and it was even better than I had imagined. The incredible, overwhelming joy and excitement from everyone was so humbling, surreal, and touching, and we are eternally grateful to have so many people who love and celebrate us deeply.
We called dozens and dozens of people that day, got to see several friends in person to surprise them with the news and celebrate (their reactions were priceless!), and couldn’t stop calling each other “fiancé” all the time. We celebrated with dinner at our first date spot that evening after church, and then we got dressed up and went out for a fancy dinner and champagne the next evening. It was such a whirlwind and so incredibly amazing.
That wonderful day was five years ago today, and I love reminiscing on how elated, giddy, and in love we were – and still are. It really is a little surreal that it’s been half a decade, and I have to say: the cliche is so true. I fall more and more in love with my husband every passing day; something I didn’t know was even possible. Our marriage is home. It is warmth, comfort, joy, unparalleled love, abundant laughter, gentle, adventurous, selfless, sacrificial, and peace all in one.
Rob is the answer to every prayer and is the biggest blessing in my life. In all things, our prayer is that our marriage glorifies Him, and praise Him from whom all blessings flow!
“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
And if you’d like to read more, here’s when we announced our engagement, the story of how we met, our engagement photos, ALL about our wedding & wedding planning, our third wedding anniversary & thoughts on marriage, our fourth wedding anniversary, and a marriage Q&A!