In David’s words, here’s how their engagement story went:
“Anyssa and I have been friends since we were very young. In fact, our parents were even friends before we were even born. My earliest memories of Anyssa and I were probably when we were in the neighborhood of three or four years old, playing at her house, or library story hour, or something like that. I am told we went trick or treating a few times also. I remember going to bible school with her during the elementary years and becoming good friends into high school. The funny thing is, we were always just friends, hanging out at peoples’ houses and spending time together in groups. I always thought she was very pretty, but it just never happened in high school. There was, however, a short time I developed a crush on her during my senior year (her junior year). I never told her how I felt, probably because I was too nervous. I do remember writing lyrics to a song that a band I was in wrote together. Our singer thought the song was about God, because the first line said, “All my life I knew you, but I never noticed you, at least not like that.” We love God in this relationship, but that line was about her!
When college came, we kind of went our separate ways. We never had any falling out and we kept in touch here and there, seeing each other at Christmas parties and summer bonfires, but we weren’t good friends like we were in high school. For a few summers, we did work at the same summer job: a warehouse where it was entirely too hot and not much fun, but a lot of our friends worked there with us. The summer after I graduated college, I worked there with Anyssa and I also started to attend her church. So, I was seeing her quite a bit. We started to hang out with friends in groups and even a little bit on our own as well. At the beginning, I didn’t think anything of it; we were just old friends re-connecting. A little into the summer though, I could tell things were different. We were spending a lot of time together and we both realized that we had developed feelings for each other. We went through some dating phases, holding hands and having a first kiss, and having a really fun time. I loved spending time with Anyssa that summer. She was so much fun, and there was always a beautiful smile on her face. It went on like that the whole summer, us being together, but not really officially. That fall, I was set to move to Pittsburgh to attend graduate school to get my masters degree in counseling. I told her that I didn’t think long distance would work and we “mutually” decided to just be friends.
Well that didn’t go so well. By Thanksgiving, I had realized I had truly made the biggest mistake of my life. Due to so many circumstances, I knew that I wanted the long haul with Anyssa Bell. She is truly an amazing person who is beautiful, funny, outgoing, and has a love for God that makes me want to do the same. I figured we could just jump right into a relationship over my Thanksgiving break: WRONG! It wasn’t that easy. Things had changed and she said she was hurt from what happened over the summer, me never committing. There are a lot of other details, but the moral of this story is never give up. When I came home for a month for Christmas, I knew that my goal was to make Anyssa my girlfriend. With some persistence (and flowers) we became official on New Years.
The next year was the best year of my life. We spent so much time together and I am so incredibly grateful. The grace that she has walked into my life with is absolutely remarkable and I can truly say I am one of the luckiest people of the face of the earth. We made many trips and had many meaningful conversations and we grew closer to each other and closer to God as well. We were even baptized together in September. I knew then that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.
On New Years Eve, our one year anniversary, I started to get ready for what I was planning to do that night. In our hometown, there is a part near the river, which is unofficially called the duck park. We went there a lot in the summer to hang out. Actually that was the first place where I think both of us recognized our feelings for each other over a year ago. That morning (with some help) I decorated the pavilion of the park in Christmas lights and other things to make it look memorable. A while earlier, I had given the ring to a little five year old girl named Addison, who Anyssa has been involved with since she was a baby. Addison goes to our church and she is very important to Anyssa, in that she has babysat her and spent a lot of time with her and her family. I was hoping Addison could hold on to it. That night, we went to eat and then had plans to go to the duck park (since it’s her favorite place) to throw a message in a bottle into the river holding our New Year’s resolutions. At dinner we both wrote them down, but didn’t show them to each other. When we got to the park, she was wondering what was going on with lights in the pavilion, but I think she realized I was up to something when she noticed rose petals leading up to the pavilion. When we got up there, I said, “This would be a great time to propose, but too bad I don’t have a ring.” Then, out of nowhere, Addison came running up to us and gave us both and hug, and then handed me the ring. I told Anyssa I loved her and wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. Then I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. She said YES and it made my night a whole less stressful. I was so grateful I almost forgot the last part. After some pictures where she was crying and I was probably crying, we made our way down to the river. She read me her resolutions, where there were about ten. Then I read mine. Remember we didn’t show these to each other during dinner. I only had one: Marry Anyssa.
We’re planning on getting married October 18th, 2014. We didn’t want to wait to spend our lives together. We’re both very excited for the life ahead and grateful we can spend it together.”