Engaged to be Married: Jen & Khoa

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Jen and Khoa at Brooklyn Bridge, New York City

In the spirit of the most romantic month of the year, I reached out to couples who are engaged to be married to hear all about their intimate story. I love love, and I think it’s really special when you find someone who you love so strongly that you decide to share your life with them. In this Engaged to be Married feature, I speak to Jennifer Li (26) and Khoa Nguyen (38) to learn more about their eight-year long journey together. We talk about how they fell in love, when they decided to get engaged, the juicy proposal dets, and their thoughts about wedding planning. Without further ado, listen to what this couple has to say before saying “I do!”

Read Jen & Khoa’s story below in this special Engaged to be Married interview.

When was the moment you knew that you wanted to marry each other?
Him: There wasn’t an exact moment, it’s many things that happened during our relationship, also the fact that she hasn’t run away yet either! One of the special moments was when she was so mad, she said “I want to throw a refrigerator at you”. I thought “Wow, I really like that fiery spirit. She must really love me to throw a fridge at me.” Hmm… now that I’m thinking about it… I may have had that confused for hate. Ah well, we’re here now. As weddings take a lot of time and effort, I waited until she finished school to propose.

Her: I think the moment I knew I was going to marry him was seeing how he treated others, even strangers that we didn’t know. He was extremely kind and is the type of guy that would offer the shirt off his back to someone just because they needed it more than him. He also really surprised me when we got our dog Tucker. He cared about him so much and has never lost his temper (even when Tucker ate our TV remote when we were out). At that point I knew he would one day become an amazing dad and that’s when I knew I had to marry him!

What is the thing you love the most about your partner?
Him: How adventurous, caring and independent she is.

Her: Khoa is, no-question about it, the most patient person I have ever met. His patience never seems to run thin and I really admire that about him. He’s encouraging, loving, extremely goofy and easy going.

What was the proposal like?
Him: As we’ve been dating for eight years and living together for five, there was no question on what to expect. By now, it’s a given she’ll say yes! What I needed to figure out was the timing. It was the christmas holidays and I knew she didn’t want a proposal in front of the family, so I needed to get it done before then. Originally, the plan was to take a day off of work and have a fun day with her and pick the right moment. We were planning to do christmas photos for our dog at the christmas market during the day, so I was aiming for that. As we know, plans don’t always work out. It turned out she had to work that day, the day we were supposed to spend together. So instead I opted to propose the night before she had to work. It was a surprise and unexpected to her as she knows I’m a procrastinator and she didn’t believe that I even bought a ring.

Her: Khoa is a really funny guy, he likes to play pranks on me and his family all the time. On the night of the proposal, he acted all casual and asked me, if he had a ring, if I would say yes or not. He then proceeded to pull out some of my old jewelry boxes and had me open them. Of course they were just filled with my pandora rings. By the third box I was tired of the same joke and told him I was going to bed and that’s when he pulled out a box I had never seen before. I was like… hmm this guy is such a prankster it’s probably just another old ring box! But to my surprise he opened it and it was the ring of my dreams!

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Taking a hike with Tucker in Tobermory, Ontario

What is the biggest concern on your mind in regards to wedding logistics?
Him: Biggest concern is probably finding the venue, as that’s our first step. We’re still really early on the planning.

Her: I think my biggest concern is just being able to get the the venue and choosing a date to get started. Khoa and I are both extremely laid back people and are not “bridezillas”, but I am a little afraid we are being too chilled for this event.

What emotions do you feel when you think about getting married?
Him: I’m a happy go lucky person, mostly positive vibes, and I’m not a religious person. The emotions I’m feeling towards the marriage is mix of accomplishment, growth, and excitement towards our future together.

Her: I feel really happy and somehow the engagement has made me feel older and more responsible. I have caught myself multiple times just smiling at the thought of our engagement. I am slowly realized that finding someone you love enough to promise the rest of your life to is not an easy thing. Being able to find the man I am going to marry at 26 has been such a blessing and I can’t think of anyone else I want to do this with other than Khoa. I am excited to see what’s in store for us in the next couple of years!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers about relationships/marriage?
Him: Like all relationships, we’ve had ups and downs, but here is what I find works with our relationship.

a) Communication
b) Be yourself, all of yourself, no matter how strange or weird you think you are. Don’t hold back
c) Understand your partner’s view
d) Ability to adjust as a couple
e) Don’t be hung up on the relationship status. You do you. Your partner likes you for a reason

If you’re putting all your effort into the relationship and feel that it still doesn’t work, then accept that it wasn’t meant to be. With millions of people in the world, there will be another.

Her:
Relationships and marriages are not easy… it’s not always fairy tale endings and what you see in Hollywood films. They take work but at the end of the day if you love your partner you will make it happen effortlessly. Appreciate the small things your significant other does for you and reciprocate the love. There’s a quote from a Justin Bieber song (Khoa’s favourite singer) that says: “the grass ain’t greener on the other side – it’s green where you water it” and I think that is extremely true. Work on your relationship and grow together instead of selfishly thinking about yourself. Think of you and your partner as a team and work on bonding every single day. People ask me all the time after dating for eight years – don’t you lose the spark? I can honestly say no because both of us spend a lot of time trying to surprise each other. It can be a chocolate chip cookie from our favourite bakery to share after dinner or a raptor tickets for the evening. We love surprising each other and I think that’s a really important element to our relationship.

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In front of the Cloud Gate Sculpture At Millennium Park, Chicago

Thank you so much Jen and Khoa for taking the time to share your intimate story! I am really happy for you both, and it seems like you’ve found your perfect half. I’m excited to follow what’s in store for you guys, and I wish you the best of luck with your relationship!

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