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Morningside’s happily ever afters- Part 1

By Claire De Roin–

This is part one of a three-part series on engagements and marriages during college. 

Writing research papers. Bridesmaids dress fittings. Working between classes. Reserving a venue. Staying up late working on homework. Wedding cake tasting. Studying for final exams.

True love is hard to come by, but some people believe that engagements should be left for after graduation. Most engaged college couples disagree.

Kathy Martin, Morningside’s Director of Church Relations, has performed a few student weddings and offers some insight. She advises pre-marital counseling.

“Couples aren’t going to change their minds about whether they’re going to get married,” she laughs. “It’s good to talk about some things: how to disagree, how to communicate, family.”

Martin urges students to be realistic about their wedding expectations.

“If you’re having to contribute, then you need to have a nest egg or a pretty good job lined up. Weddings are very expensive. Be realistic about bringing together two families in the middle of a college experience when the schedules are very tight and the stress levels can be high,” Martin advises.

Kathy Martin is not discouraged, however. She has seen students get married and have wonderful relationships. Martin, herself seems to be a bit of a romantic. She smiles and looks at a bright bouquet of flowers on her desk.  The colorful flowers, sitting in a pick-up truck vase, were a gift from her husband for their second wedding anniversary. After telling the story of her wedding at the pergola, she continues. “It’s not only important to love somebody. Couples must be able to laugh at themselves and enjoy each other’s laughter. A sense of humor goes a long way in a relationship.”

THE COLLEGE SWEETHEARTS

RA training brought Kelsey Kleinhesselink and her future fiancé, Austin Todd together.

“We were at the ropes course waiting in like to do the zip-line and we were talking about our nerves,” Kelsey says.

Kelsey and Austin dated for a year and a half before Austin popped the question in January of 2011.

“He proposed to me the day before my 21st birthday in the snow in front of the pergola here on campus.”

How did Kelsey’s friends and family feel about the engagement? Happy, for the most part.

“My family might be a little stressed. My sister got married in August, my brother gets married in October and I get married in June!”

Kelsey doesn’t feel like her engagement is keeping her from anything at Morningside. She is living on campus. Austin is living at home while he student teaches.

“I still do everything I would do if I wasn’t engaged. I go to MAC events and hang out with friends.”

Tessa Baker and Joe Sievert

THE LOGICAL SURPRISE

Tessa Baker was completely surprised on Christmas Eve of 2010 when she woke up to an engagement ring from her boyfriend, Joe Sievert.

“He had set the ring out the night before,” Tessa says. “I was sort of confused when I woke up.”

She woke up her boyfriend and asked what the ring was for, and he popped the question.

“Of course, I said yes,” Tessa says. “We spent the rest of the holiday together.”

“We had not even gone shopping for rings, but he picked the perfect one for me,” Tessa says. “We had gone to Las Vegas right before Christmas so he told everyone he got my ring in one of the machines in the casino.  He likes to be funny.”

Joe and Tessa started dating in high school and came to Morningside together. “I think it helps that we came in as a couple,” Tessa adds.

The couple plans to be married on August 11, 2012, the summer after both Tessa and Joe’s junior year.

“We decided to get married then because I am in nursing school and will be studying for the NCLEX after our senior year and didn’t want to plan a wedding and study at the same time,” Tessa says. “I knew nursing school would keep me busy this year so I did a lot of preliminary planning last summer as far as reserving places and I will do the final planning at the beginning of next summer.”

Tessa adds that she isn’t stressed by the wedding planning at all.