The story of our love began when we were introduced by a mutual acquaintance at a party on John Street in DeKalb, Illinois during CornFest weekend in August of 2008. After talking through the night I walked Natalie to her car and she gave me her number. I waited an inappropriate amount of time to call her, but she still agreed to take a walk with me when I asked. We walked and walked and talked and talked. The rest, as they say, is history. We were mad for each other from the beginning.
We were inseparable. Inside of four months we were living together. We locked ourselves in through that harsh Illinois winter of 2008 / 2009 and focused entirely on being in love. It was then, is now, and forever will be like nothing either one of us has ever felt or experienced. We both have come alive by loving one another.
We fixed up my little downtown apartment, painted the entire place, and made it ours. We had planned to live there for years. Natalie was contemplating graduate studies at Northern Illinois University, and I was very secure at my job. I had been working for Direct Response Web Solutions, Inc. for three years as their Creative Director and Natalie was the Volunteer & Crisis Intervention Coordinator at Safe Passage; both in DeKalb. Eventually we wanted to leave Illinois together, but we did not know when.
We took long walks around the Lagoon. We ate veggie burgers at The Junction. We worked out together. Natalie quit smoking. We talked about marriage, children, family, existence, the past, the future, and the fulfillment we want from this life. We talked and talked and talked and talked.
We cooked meals together. We hosted together. We became roommates, best friends, lovers, life partners. One cannot work to their full potential without the other. We make each other better people. We challenge each other everyday. We adore one another, and will everyday for the rest of our lives.
Now, if you will humor us, we would each like to say a few words about the other in our own voice:
"I was almost certain that true love didn't exist before I met Natalie. Now I know that it does, and it is the only thing that really matters. She is everything I was always looking for in the past, everything I love about the present, and everything I look forward to in the future.
These past two years have been the happiest of my life. Sometimes I feel like a fool for believing that I knew what happiness was before I loved Natalie. We are truly best friends. We have a blast together. There is no one I would rather spend my time with.
We are a team in every sense of the word. We work well together. We struggle well together. We overcome together. I reflect everyday about how lucky I am to have her. She is my light; my one; my dream woman.
I promise to always love you and take care of you Natalie; until my last breath. This is a choice I am making of my own free will and with complete confidence. You are my everything; for always."
"Before I met Justin, he was first described to me as 'morally upright' by our mutual acquaintance who would eventually introduce us. I was interested by this. What does 'morally upright' mean?
I soon found out that Justin says what he means, sticks to what he says, and refuses to compromise and denigrate his character or values. He is a man who knows what is right and does it. When he is uncertain of what is right, he seeks proper council. He has made a commitment to seeking the truth; when it is uncomfortable, at odds with his desires or even when it is just plain in his way.
It was the recognition of these qualities in Justin that allowed me to know I could trust him and believe in him. These beliefs are what allowed me to fall in love with him; to know that he deserved my love. I fell very fast and very hard, and I fall further every day.
Justin is honest, intelligent and honorable. He is patient, understanding and has a wonderful sense of humor. Justin has every quality I could ever want in a man. I am so grateful every day that I have found someone so wonderful, caring, compassionate and reliable to spend my life with.
He is the love of my life."
In late 2009 the recession turned on full blast. Due to state budget cutbacks for social services, Natalie lost her job and was out of work for some time. Business and morale slowed at DRWS. Frustration began to mount, and we needed to make a strong move.
During such a recession, where could they possibly still be spending money and hiring people? Washington DC! : ) The truth is Natalie and I are both complete political junkies, I have always wanted to marry my web design skills with work that has real impact in people's lives, and Natalie wants to continue her education in political studies while working for a non-profit. The nation's capital was the perfect fit.
The move has turned out to be such a blessing. We love our Glover Park neighborhood more than we ever could have imagined. DC is such a liveable city filled with young people and culture. I am working for LiveHealthier as their Principal Web Producer. We are experiencing explosive growth. Natalie works as the Residential Coordinator for Shelter House and plans to attend law school in the fall of 2011.
All of you have been a part of making us who we are and getting us to this point in our lives. We want you all to know that we could not be what we are without you. Thank you for supporting us. We love you all.
We have been creating things, taking on challenge, and building a mutual dream together since the day we met. We look forward with hope and joy to the remainder of our years in each other's arms, building our life, building our family and creating a world of love and happiness together.
Thank you for taking the time to read about our love. Thank you for joining us in our pledge of commitment to a lifetime of love together, through anything, until the end of our time.
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