February 20th (tomorrow), holds a pretty special place in my heart because it marks the day Kyle and I were engaged 3 years ago! In February, since we are celebrating love and relationships I wanted to share our love story with you.
I met Ashley through our time working together at Pine Cove camps. We became pretty instant friends and although we both went to different schools, we loved to meet up in the DFW area for holiday breaks. The Leafgren home is a place of hospitality so we always ended up there, and I remember meeting Kyle for the first time when he was in high school and had just had his wisdom teeth out (HA!). The sparks weren’t immediately flying as there was a little age difference and he had an ice pack around his face, but fast forward several years and Ashley’s plan for Kyle and I to end up together worked out. I always told her to have him call me when he graduates college, and that’s pretty much exactly what happened!
Ashley and Trey got married in May of 2014 and at that point I was single and weddings were kind of a place where I always met someone or at least got a date out of it. I’m not trying to be funny, they were the place that I always wanted to meet someone, because if my friends loved their husband surely they would have some great friends and hello double dates! Weddings are the absolute best way to meet people.
Anyway, after some middle school antics from some of our friends (shoutout to the Montgomerys) it was discovered that Kyle and I would both be mutually interested in going on a date after the wedding. At the very end of the night, Kyle got the courage to ask for my number and honestly the rest is history. We started dating pretty quickly and then unfortunately he left for South Africa for a month. It was definitely a struggle to hit it off so quickly with someone and then have them leave for a month, however I do think this was such a great time for us. I loved watching him serve in South Africa alongside one of his best friends and mentors and also it gave us time to really pray about whether we wanted to pursue a relationship or not when he got back. Of course absence makes the heart grow fonder and Kyle surprised me by coming home from Africa a day earlier than he was supposed to at a birthday party for Ashley (her and I we’re both surprised that night, and it was perfect, ask us about that story another time).
We dated for about six months before we knew we wanted to make this thing official and here comes the engagement story because that’s really what this post was intended for.
I have a reputation for being a pretty easy going and carefree person. I like to go with the flow and if you know anything about the Enneagram I am a nine so you’ll know I’ll do whatever I can to keep the peace. However I do have my moments, and our engagement day was most definitely one of those. To put it pretty simply, I was being a complete and total brat because our dinner plans had changed and being the very resourceful person that I am, I had already made a plan to hit up a cute shop before dinner and I already had my mind set on what I wanted to order from said restaurant. After a month of eating very clean, I was ready to treat myself!
The plans shifted on me and took us to the home of Trey’s grandparents in Farmers Branch, TX, and not that I don’t think they are the sweetest family in all of Texas, but I threw a little bit of a fit that I wouldn’t be getting my way this night and that the plans were out of my control. Meanwhile, Kyle was dancing in the car trying to cheer me up, but it wasn’t working. I remember wondering why he was so dang chipper. We pull up to the house and see the most beautiful old tree with hanging lights and a table with the most beautiful flowers I had ever seen in the distance and I immediately thought it was for someone else. I was so excited that we were going to witness someone’s beautiful engagement, and of course my bad mood was lifted, until he started walking me towards the table. Immediately I knew, I had just been the biggest brat in the entire world and this was the day he was going to propose and that beautiful table had been set just for me. Of course I said yes, and Kyle had hired a professional photographer and videographer to capture the whole thing so we can relive it any time we want. I think I watched the video every day for a month, and I still absolutely love it.
If you’re looking to have the most perfect engagement for the special person in your life I recommend you hire Ashley Watten, she planned the whole thing beautifully with Kyle. It definitely helps when you marry your best friend’s brother because she knows the colors that you love, the flowers you love and exactly the little things that make your heart soar, like twinkle lights in trees. We had an engagement party with our families and our best friends, and it was such a dreamy night.
Eight months later, we got married. Our wedding was the best day and really the best weekend of my life hands down. I can’t think of anything else I love more in this world than to have all of our favorite people in one beautiful white barn. It felt a lot like heaven to me that day and I felt the love of our Heavenly Father the whole day. The acoustics in the White Sparrow Barn are so dreamy and we had one of our favorite worship pastors singing some our favorite hymns and worship songs during the ceremony. I loved being able to worship God and his unfailing love for us that special day. Our wedding day still brings me to tears and I am unbelievably thankful to our family and friends that were there to celebrate with us and pray with us and of course dance with us. Can we get a redo pretty please?! Not because it wasn’t amazing but I just want to relive it, all of it!
Now onto marriage. We of course heard all the things: marriage is the most wonderful thing you’ll ever experience, and it’s going to be hard and it’s going to be fun, and most often people told us the first year of marriage would be the hardest year of our lives. Y’all, don’t tell people that! First of all, it’s terrifying to a newly married couple, and second of all, everyone’s experience is so different. If you’re engaged, please take everything everyone says with a grain of salt. Our first year of marriage was cake. We lived in a small 700 sq ft apartment on the 3rd floor, like probably many of your newly married friends and we loved it. I mean I’m not going to say we didn’t argue here and there because we did and marriage quickly revealed to me a lot of my selfish desires, however I remember we would lie in bed at night and say if this is what’s hard about marriage we can definitely do this. We were good at this whole marriage thing, and we were thankful. The first two years honestly were amazing. We moved twice in those two years, I started a brand new career and Kyle’s responsibilities at work had grown, yet praise God we grew together. The Lord kept us close and for that I could not be more thankful.
We just started year three and as much as I want to say that it has been just as easy, I would be lying. Year 3 has been hard. We have prayed through finding a new church family and home and we still have felt very uncertain about where that is. We both have taken on more responsibilities at work and now a new blogging adventure. And we have walked through a year of praying for a baby that has left our hands and our front room empty. The added stresses on our marriage have left us short with each other and y’all, we communicate and handle conflict very differently. I am a verbal processor and when something is wrong or I’m in a conflict I want to fix it and now. Kyle however is an internal processor and in the middle of an argument he needs alone time, and isn’t ready to talk for a little while. Again, I’m a nine on the enneagram so peace is a big motivator for me, I want arguments to end quickly so that it’s over and I don’t feel like I have any unresolved arguments and can quickly get to a “happy” place. I normally will avoid conflict at all costs, while Kyle won’t shy away from a disagreement or a healthy conversation with someone he doesn’t see eye to eye with. Conflict makes my skin crawl, but I’m learning from many people that conflict brings intimacy, so it’s something that we are working on. What I’m learning is that conflict can be loving, and if you want grow closer to your spouse you have to be willing to lovingly call them out in areas that they may be blind to and be open to constructive criticism as well (I'm working on this, big time).
Although marriage is hard and there are days when we are more short with each other than others, I never want to take advantage of the fact that we get to wake up next to each other. I never want to take advantage of the fact that I have someone to drink coffee with in the morning and wine with at night. And, I really never want to take for granted that I am married to a man who loves Jesus with his whole heart and seeks to know Him more each day and prays that over me as well. I am grateful for a man who seeks to lead me and guide me and my heart towards Christ when I am so prone to wander.
In conclusion, year 1 and 2 were easy and we were pretty naive to not fully realize some of the challenges that we would face. Now in year 3 we are realizing how much more we have to learn about ourselves, each other, and the Lord. When we are closest to the Lord, and when we are chasing after Him together that is when we are loving each other the best. Recently our pastor encouraged us to examine ourselves in our marriage and the areas that we need to grow in rather than just praying that our spouse would grow the ways that we think they "should." This past week on Valentine's day (we aren't huge on this hallmark holiday, but we do love a good date night) we celebrated each other, our marriage and the areas that we are both growing in, and I'm so thankful for the example of grace and love that Kyle is to me.
Thank you for reading our story today!
If you’re looking at any of these photos and wondering about any of our vendors I thought I’d share them with you because they are ALL amazing and I would recommend them to any and everyone! I truly think we had the best wedding team in all of DFW!
-HMH Productions: engagement & wedding videography
-Everly Alaine Florals: engagement flowers
-The Three: proposal photography
-The White Sparrow Barn: wedding venue
-Holly Viles: wedding flowers
-Dyan Kethley Photography: wedding photography
-Goldie Design Co.: wedding banner