by Charles and Grace Krouse
First impressions from passing each other at church
[Charlie] Hey this girl is cute, but wow, she asks a lot of questions.
[Grace] He wears weird socks, and he doesn’t say anything. I wonder if he would help me with my Ironman training?
14 months later…
First time we rode bikes together
[Grace] Do you want to go for a bike ride? (I got his number from Ernest, one of his groomsmen, and finally texted him. In my mind, I really thought it was just a friendly gesture.)
During the first months of riding together
[Grace] Man, I am so slow at riding and literally dying and out of breath. But Charlie keeps coming back to ride with me! (I was totally oblivious of what was happening, even despite our post ride meals together. I thought he was just hungry after a "hard" bike ride, so obviously why not eat together? It seemed normal to me.)
[Charlie] Yeah, she's slow, but I'll keep riding with her. She seems different, and she keeps coming back, despite how much she is suffering on the bike.
After a few months of riding bikes together
[Charlie] You’re gorgeous, and you love God. Do you want to go on a date with me?
[Grace] Let me think about it. (In my head, I thought that I friend-zoned him. If I say no, he won't ride with me anymore. But I want to stay friends. Why couldn't we just stay friends?)
2 days later...
[Grace] Yes, I will go on a date with you.
[Charlie] (Finally! That was the longest two days of my life.)
A few weeks later, on the first date
[Grace] It is about time; I’ve been waiting for this date for a month! (We couldn't figure out a good time for our first date, because of our schedules, so it took 3 weeks before our 1st date. I tried to hint at him after several rides, but he never picked it up. So, I finally asked him very bluntly, are you free on March 9 to go on our date? He just needed a little nudge. For our first date, he chose an Ethiopian restaurant, and in my head, I thought... what in the world is he thinking?)
[Charlie] I was thinking that she seems adventurous and fun. An Ethiopian restaurant seems different, unique, casual, and fun. Good thing that Grace is willing to tolerate me and my crazy ideas.
Stuck in COVID quarantine
[Charlie] Grace is probably the only girl in the world who I could impress by riding a bike. Now that we are stuck in quarantine, we have nothing to do but exercise together and play board games. This quarantine couldn’t work out any better for me!
[Grace] Ugh, I can’t travel to exotic foreign countries. And the hospital situation is a mess. Plus, everyone is scared of me because I work in the ER. Quarantine couldn’t be worse! (But Charlie still wants to be around me despite my work exposure to COVID. Okay, he's not scared of me. He tolerates my crazy work schedule and work stories.)
Cycling while stuck in COVID quarantine
[Grace] Look at those calves! And that butt! That’s my man. But really, he's freaking killing me.
[Charlie] She’s so slow. Good thing she is beautiful, funny, and smart! Not to mention that she loves Christ, she’s patient and kind, and she keeps coming to ride with me. I’m so lucky! This girl is something special and definitely a keeper.
Hiking in Arkansas while still stuck in COVID quarantine
[Grace] At least something good came out of quarantine. I got a COVID dog! (After driving 8 hours home with Charlie, I knew that I could marry him. I didn't get sick of him once during the trip, and I thought... well, this is a very good thing.)
[COVID Dog (aka Charlie)] Woof woof!
Attending weddings and hiking while stuck in COVID quarantine
[Charlie] Grace is an incredible woman. She loves the Lord with all of her heart, and she makes me strive to be a better man in every way. I want to marry her!
[Grace] Charlie is an amazing man. He loves the Lord with all of his heart, he’s humble and patient, and he pursues me well. I hope he asks me to marry him!
Hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains
[Charlie] (Reading engagement poem) … Will you marry me?
[Grace] YES! (I was so excited, and I did not remember anything at all about the poem until the last line. Thankfully, he wrote it down for me so that I could read it back later.)
Still cycling while in COVID quarantine
[Grace] Riding bikes is great when I ride with Charlie and it's a beautiful day outside. I hate riding in the cold right now. I really don't like cycling that much, but oh, it does feel great when I can ride faster than the boys! (Charlie says he's dying but he's really not dying. He's just being humble and can cycle 2 times a month and still ride 30 mph with a heart rate of 100.)
[Charlie] (panting and out of breath) Now, I'm the one dying.
March 27, 2021:
[Charlie] I do.
[Grace] I do.