Some people spend their whole lives searching for love. Others get damn lucky and meet their partner at the climbing gym. Julia+Rob were so much fun to shoot, and they were kind enough to answer a few honest questions for me about love and relationships. In my quest for beautiful, honest moments, I come closer and closer every time I meet a couple like these two.
Was there any sort of crush, immediately?
R: Oh yeah. I thought she was hot as soon as I saw her.
J: But he didn’t ask me out! I had to ask him out.
R: I’m still a relatively shy guy, when it comes to women. I mean, not anymore. It doesn’t matter, now. But I was always awkward. So, yeah. She had to ask me out.
J: And I did. And we’ve been together ever since. Here we are, six years later.
R: That’s how you have to do it – meet the girl and her dad at the same time. Get any intimidation or anxiety about meeting the father out of the way.
"But I waited five and a half years, just to make sure."
Tell me about the proposal.
R: That is a good story. There was a lot of conversation with my family about how this was actually going to go down. I kept trying to figure out a good time when we could do it, with family in town. My family’s down in North Carolina. Julia’s brother is in Colorado. My family was coming up for Thanksgiving, and I said that’d be perfect. That way, we could all celebrate together. I went through a hundred different scenarios. I wondered about maybe going on a walk together, with the dog or something, and then I’d propose on the steps when we got back. You know, with everyone inside, knowing what was going on. But I hadn’t made any final choice about how it was all going to happen. I got the ring, and then had beers with her father, who I think kinda knew it was coming. We were actually going climbing, and I suggested getting a beer beforehand. I said there was something I wanted to ask him. I explained a bunch of the scenarios I’d come up with for how I might propose. I came home that night and was super anxious about it. I had the ring on me and ended up hiding it in a backpack in the basement.
J: His mom told him to put it in his underwear drawer. And he was like “She does my laundry!”
R: So, I came home from work the next day, the day before Thanksgiving, and I just thought “This is it. It’s gonna happen.”
J: And my brother unexpectedly came in. He was sick, so he wasn’t supposed to, but he decided to at the last minute.
R: So, I was going to wait for her to walk downstairs, and I was going to propose in our living room, together with the dog. I don’t want to go with the cliché of a woman taking too long to get ready, but she actually took a long time, with the guy being incredibly anxious, waiting. I pretty much wore out our hardwood floors, pacing. I finally couldn’t wait any longer, and I just went upstairs. She was in the bedroom getting ready, I had the dog with me. So, I got down, the dog sat next to me, and I took Julia by the arms – I said something I don’t remember; it wasn’t what I’d rehearsed.
J: I don’t remember, either. I think I literally blacked out. Even though I knew it was coming.
R: But I did get down on one knee.
J: And I did say yes. Right away. And then we went and spend the entire weekend celebrating with our family. It was a lot.
J: I think he knew I wasn’t going to say no.
R: But I waited five and a half years, just to make sure.
Advice for young lovers... How do you make it last?
R: My advice is just have fun with it. You’re gonna be with this person for the rest of your life. If you put up some image during the dating process, it’s going to be hard to keep up for very long. You just have to be yourself, and have fun with it, and the right person will be out there.
J: I think that you need to take a step back anytime you want to say something negative to somebody. Obviously, when you spend a lot of time with someone, you wind up nitpicking little things. I love him to death, but he drives me nuts, and he knows this. We fight in the car, all the time. We’re terrified of each other’s driving. I really think compromise is huge. Relationships depend on it. One thing I took away from watching friends date in college was that they fought constantly over stupid things, and said nasty things to each other that –if they’d taken a step back—they wouldn’t have.
How do you think marriage is going to change things?
J: I think it’s a formality for us.
R: I wouldn’t call it a formality. That’s an expensive formality.
J: No, I mean, it’s a celebration of us together. But we’re already totally connected. We already own a house together, and that’s a pretty big commitment. We’ve already been married in most ways, for a while.
R: I love being with her. I hate being without her. And when I see her after being away, even if it’s just a day at the office, I know she’s the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. We’re not religious, so it’s not a sacrament. But just being able to say we’re committed for the rest of our lives is what it’s all about, and we get to throw a cool party.
J: That’s the fun part.