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VPSA News: Jeff Loftus + Paige Stevens

VPSA graduates, Paige Stevens, 17, and Jeffery Loftus, 18, are engaged to be married. Loftus proposed to his dearest on Oct. 17, 2015. She said “yes!”, and here’s their story:

Alexis Castro: How long have you known each other?
Paige Stevens: A little over four years

AC: How did you two meet and when did your relationship start?
Jeff Loftus: We first met at the EOTYG in the lobby. The first year we knew each other we didn’t talk. We really got to know each other more so the next year when she went to the gathering with my family as Hannah’s [Loftus’ sister] friend. The next year after that, gathering of 2013, we started interacting. In November or December of 2013 we began talking over the phone.

AC: What attracted you to each other?
JL: I was attracted to Paige because, obviously, she’s beautiful. But also, I noticed her personality around other people in the gathering of 2013, and as I observed her, I realized how fun and genuine she was while interacting with other people.
PS: There wasn’t an initial, defining moment, when I thought, “Oh, I like Jeff.” But, instead through his YouTube videos I was able to see his sense of humor and better understand his personality. Getting to know him at the EOTYG, I fell in love with his family.

image2AC: What was your early relationship like? What would you consider the pros and cons of a long-distance relationship?
JL: The relationship began in the beginning of 2014, when we both knew we liked each other. We began dating in March of 2014. Her parents were very involved and before I started dating her, I FaceTimed her parents and first asked them. They sent me emails, and I first had to meet with her dad before we began dating. Her parents proposed the idea of courting. They wanted no physical activity (no holding hands, kissing, &c). It was really challenging. A month into dating I went on my gap year, circumnavigating the globe, and we were away from each other for five months – I left in June and got back right before Thanksgiving. The crazy thing about long-distance relationships is that time goes by so slowly – like I will go visit Paige, and then come back to Minneapolis and it’ll be two days later and we’re just like, “how has it only been two days? It feels like three weeks or a month or something.” So that’s real fun.
PS: My parents were very involved and one of the main reasons for the significant physical boundaries was that my parents wanted us to focus on getting to know each other without the physical aspect of the relationship getting in the way. If you start off by kissing each other, you become immune to some of their negative qualities. So we first wanted to get to know each other. We were on the opposite corners of the Dakotas- it was nine hours of driving. One of the pros of long-distance dating was that with the way that we were dating, it made having physical boundaries a whole lot easier. Also, communication. We learned that very well with long-distance. You can’t just hang-out and see them in a group of friends, you have to maintain your relationship through conversations every day, and we got to know each other very well that way. You have to actually talk and ask questions over Skype, and not just go to the movies. The con is the long-distance – you don’t get to go on normal dates, like a walk in the park, or whatever. You don’t just get to experience everyday life with the person.

image3 AC: Jeff, how did you propose to Paige?
JL: I kept the tradition of getting her dad’s blessing before proposing to her, so a week before that we were talking and were reading a book together called, “What He Must Be” by Voodie Bacham. It helped me realize my role as Paige’s future husband. After that, her dad gave me his blessing. I was coming up with ideas over the whole week. I told Paige that I was coming up on Saturday of that next weekend, but I actually came up on Friday of that next weekend and stayed at one of her friend’s house and left at eight in the morning to get a bunch of supplies for that night. There’s this place called Rhombus Guys and they have this rooftop patio, and Paige was going to eat dinner with one of her friends. I talked to her friend about them going and arranged that at 6 p.m. they would go to Rhombus Guys and I would have everything set up on the rooftop patio. And so the entire day it was so cloudy, and cold and windy, so I’m on the rooftop praying and having my family pray and it was amazing, at like four or five the sky cleared, it was warmer and there was no wind. It was amazing. Six was sunset time and Paige got there and her other friend who worked there said, “It’s really busy in here, do you guys want to go upstairs so that you can talk?” So they walked upstairs and went onto the patio and closed the door behind Paige. When you turned left on the patio, I had this row of candles leading her to a back area where I had this canopy thing set up and I wrote her a song on the ukulele and played it for her. I actually only like got it right four seconds before she walked up there so that was pretty crazy. I messed up while I did it, but I got through it. Then, I got down on one knee and proposed to her, she said no, so we’re still working on – just kidding, she said yes and we celebrated with friends after.

AC: Paige, what was your response and reaction? (Obviously, I know you said yes, but what was going through your mind?)
PS: Jeff has a different side of the story than I do. I was the one experiencing it and he was the one doing it. I was going to go meet my friend for dinner, and I had a book that I was reading and there is a coffee shop next to the pizza place. So I parked my car and was going to go read my book, and like Jeff said, it was really cold outside so I was looking forward to going inside and getting a warm drink. As I’m walking up this hill to go to the shop, I saw Jeff’s car, and of course I was naturally freaking out. And this is kinda creepy, but I know his license plate number, and I looked in the car and I was like, “yup, that’s Jeff’s car.” So I called him and asked him about the car, and he said that he had just gotten back from some parkour club and that he had hurt his knee and he was going to stay home that night. And I was like really? Because I had seen his car and knew he wasn’t at home and he ended up hanging up on me, and I don’t know what he did in that time. Jeff then called me back and said, “Hi sorry, I’m just walking around the park and I’m just going to go meet your dad in a couple minutes. I was going to surprise you later in the day.” And I was like oh, okay, Jeff surprises me a lot so it was a good explanation. So I bought it, and go to this coffee shop and was like, “Jeff’s in Fargo, but I’m not going to think about that.” And then, while sitting down, one of my friends walks in and was like, “Paige! Hi!”, and then a minute later another friend walks in, and then just consecutively 5 friends walk in one after the other, and all look at each other and make up this story as to how they all planned to meet there, and I probably should have been offended that I didn’t get invited but I didn’t think of that. Then, my friend who I was having dinner with that night walked in and we went over to get dinner, and from there its kinda Jeff’s story. I have blonde hair, so I didn’t really pick up on any of those clues along the way, and Jeff did a great job of covering up his trail. When I got to the patio, Jeff was there with his ukulele, and playing and singing on the ukulele is a very Jeffery like thing, so it was perfect. He sang me a song and proposed to me. I said yes, and from there it was a whirlwind of an evening. It was really, really beautiful.

AC: And of course, what are your plans for the wedding?
PS: We plan a little every day. We don’t have much set, but we know that it’ll be in Fargo. Every day, we’re like, “We can go down to the courthouse and get this over with and it’ll make it a whole lot easier.” I’m sure that every person getting married thinks of that at several points, and right now we don’t have a specific date set, but we’re thinking late May or early June and that’s basically really all of the wedding details we have right now.

image4 AC: What kind of dating advice can you offer to other students who may be pursuing an online relationship?
JL: If the person doesn’t text you back, don’t get mad at them. When on my trip, I even got to the point of, “oh my gosh, she’s not Snapchatting me back”, and it’s really strange but when your only means of talking to someone is texting, realize that they have a life and are busy and have friends, so be patient with them.
PS: People don’t have every second of every day and you can’t always want texts and always want snapchats. Also, on the issue of trust. Trust is very, very important. It is even more so in a long distance relationship. Trusting the other person is a very big deal. It is really important that you work with a person that you are in a relationship with and set up boundaries. Be complete open books with each other and make sure that the other person knows that they can trust you in every situation. And, don’t start liking a person or even thinking about having a relationship with them before you meet them. People are so different in person than they are over a computer or text message. You only see the best of a person, not their worst. You don’t get to see their interactions with other people. Even meeting them at the EOTYG is very important. Guard your heart until you meet them, because you can’t really get that full spectrum of the person until you meet them.

This is such a lovely story that had me smiling the entire time I wrote it. I pray for a blessed relationship between Paige and Jeff and wish them all the best!

If you’d like to watch Jeff’s YouTube video on the proposal, check it out HERE.

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