How 5 Springfield Couples Popped the Question

February 12, 2018

It’s Valentine’s Day and we’re feeling nostalgic! We asked for some help from some of our friends in Springfield to tell the stories of how they proposed to their significant other. Warning: some of these stories might bring a little tear to your eye because they’re so darn sweet! Proceed with caution!

Thank you to the folks in this article for sharing the stories of how they found love this V Day! 




This is a good, long story. Jeff was living in a small town in Iowa when we met. The first time I visited Jeff, he rented out the small town movie theatre for just us and we watched Say Anything. Cut to 4 and a half years later as Im READY for him to propose… but we hadn’t talked about it so I thought it was still a long way off. The Moxie had just opened and unbeknownst to me he rented it out to watch Say Anything. About an hour into the movie when it comes to the famous scene where John Cusak’s character is outside with a boombox over his head, Jeff had spliced himself in the scene doing the same, same outfit and boombox—then the text, “Michelle will you marry me?” came onto the screen. He got on one knee and I freaked out!




I think it is so important when you are parents of young children to find ways to be intentional about spending time with each other outside of the times you are co-parenting. We realized the importance of this pretty early on after our first son was born, and decided that one thing we could do is have me join the Mystery Hour team in some capacity since Jeff was spending a lot of nights and weekends performing or filming for the show. It was a great move and eventually led me to being on the writing team, which I still am part of. Of course we know our situation is unique with The Mystery Hour allowing for us both to work on it together- but I’d recommend that every couple find SOMETHING that they can do outside of parent their children together that’s enjoyable for them both.



Michelle: I love Jeff’s ability to inspire others with the way he sees people and in general, the world around him. He tends to pick out the most unique and interesting attributes about people, and has this great way of highlighting and calling attention to them in a way that makes people feel known and cared for. He’s definitely my biggest cheerleader and is so good at doing that for others as well.

Jeff: I love that Michelle can be both silly while remaining completely on the ball as well”



Told by Marty and Shallina



Marty: Shallina and I met in Leadership Springfield and later served on an early advisory panel for The Every Child Project as part of a pilot project.

Shallina:  Working and volunteering alongside someone will tell you a lot about who that person is. He asked me out for a drink after a board meeting, and that was my last first date.  I never looked back.



Shallina:  How did he propose?  In the most touching, loving, meaningful, thoughtful way I can imagine.  He invited the girls and I over for breakfast one morning, and during the meal, he got down on one knee and went around to each of our 5 children individually, telling them how much he loved them.  He asked each child if they wanted to be a family, presenting them with a ring he had made and had personalized for them.  He ended with me, telling me how much he loved me, our children, and how he wanted us to be a family.  He asked me to be his wife, and I said yes.  Our kids actually clapped and cheered when I did.    Our family is what matters the most to Marty and me.  And the proposal so wonderfully reflected that.  Now, June 21st is not (just) a wedding anniversary for Marty and me – it’s our family anniversary and we celebrate it as such, together, every year.

Editor’s Note: We’re not crying, you’re crying.

Marty: It’s an experience we will always remember and we celebrate our family anniversary each year.

Goodnight _0011



Marty: The top priority in both of our lives is our relationship and the relationships within our family. Our daily connection is intentional… but it is rarely convenient, easy or without conflict.  We communicate candidly and we support each other unquestionably. There are no cracks in the foundation and we have long forgotten whose kids are whose. This is our family culture and that culture drives how we handle everything we do as a strong couple.


Shallina:  Constant honest communication.  Also, Marty and I are very intentional about 1:1 time with each other.  Like many people, the majority of our every waking hour is already spoken for before the day even begins.  That pace is overwhelming and frankly, unsustainable without times where you just get off of the roller coaster and recharge.  For us, that looks like intentionally scheduling time for each other just like we schedule everything else.  It might be big – like a trip, or even small, like a date night.

Goodnight _0114




Marty: Just one thing? She is the best person on the planet. If you know her, you’ll agree with me. The absolute best person in all the ways and that’s why I love every minute of my life with her and our family. I love that I can be vulnerable with her and my heart is in the hands of the most amazing person I’ve ever met.

Shallina:  Marty is the best person I know.  Yes- he is extremely smart, funny, charming, driven, talented, creative, and asks THE. BEST. questions…  I love all of that. He is home to me.  And somehow, I am the lucky one who gets to call him mine.





Brittany and I are awful at remembering to take pictures, especially of ourselves. So, we had arranged for a family friend to take a few couples pictures at the Nature Center, which is where we went on our first date. We had the pictures in the works for months, but due to the crazy inclement weather, it kept getting rescheduled. On our first date, I gave Brittany my coat when it began to rain as we walked through the Nature Center. So, as we approached that same point during our photo session, we reminisced about that wonderful cold date, and I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. It was this same spot years between that I had pictured myself spending the rest of my life with her and also the same place she agreed to become my wife.

Editor’s Note: Good work, Danny. 


Remember that a strong marriage rarely has two strong people at the same time. It’s usually a husband and wife taking turns being strong for each other in the moments when the other feels weak.



The biggest project we have is raising our son! He is a busy body and our biggest blessing. Our little blessing is also a bit high maintenance. We discovered during Brittany’s pregnancy that our son had Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which is also known as brittle bone disease. This skeletal disease has no cure and predisposes individuals to fractures throughout their lifetime. Due to our son’s condition, we have become extremely passionate about raising awareness about Osteogenesis Imperfecta, seeking out research, therapies, and equipment that can help improve the lives of those with OI. Each May, there is a day known as Wishbone Day to help raise awareness for this rare disease where we will be celebrating everyone with OI.




Sean: I had a grand plan.  I was going to take her to dinner on her birthday and package the ring as a birthday present.  The one thing I didn’t consider… my inability to keep secrets from her. When I got home from the jeweler I found it nearly impossible not to tell her immediately.  A few hours later, I could barely contain myself.  I turned to her and said, “All I want is you.”  Then I gave her the ring.  She said yes.  It was fantastic.  Nearly 10 years later, I still can’t keep a secret from her.

Karina: I loved the way Sean proposed. It was super sweet and I wouldn’t have changed a thing!  



Sean: That’s a tough question.  Honestly, our routine is pretty sacred.  After the birth of my son, I made it a priority to reduce my after hours commitments.  My favorite part of the day is coming home from work and asking my family about their day.  Work never comes before them.

Karina: We’re respectful of the time the other person needs and aren’t afraid to ask the other for help. But I’m big on getting out and spending time together as a family, as well as getting time together for just me and Sean. It’s important to have time for just the two of us.




 On our wedding day, the men of my family pulled me aside and told me one thing:  Karina is in charge.

Editor’s Note: This is always good advice for any man. 

Karina: Never go to bed angry. Usually one of us will come to our senses and we’ll talk out whatever the issue is before going to sleep!



Sean: Her ability to make me laugh.  My sense of humor is a bit crass.  Somehow she makes me laugh without ever telling a dirty joke.

Karina: His ability to make me laugh! Sean can be like a big kid sometimes, and he’s an awesome dad to our son.

Additional note from Karina: Along with our four year old, Eliot, we have another baby on the way! Baby Dixon #2 is due in late July.

Editor’s Note: CONGRATS!


Told by Brad


Cara moved to Springfield in September of 2002 and I was still working up in the Chicago suburbs. At first, there was no plan for me to move with her. We met and started dating back in 1996, so everyone thought our engagement was long past due.

We splurged on the cost of a weekend trip to San Francisco in April 2003, and met out there on a Friday night.  We spent the first part of Saturday down on the wharf, Alcatraz, all the fun tourist stuff Then drove north on Pacific Coast highway hitting a couple of Sonoma Co vineyards, but I was trying to race the sun to our destination on the coast of Mendocino County. We rented a white Thunderbird convertible, and since the drive was windy and hilly, Cara had to drive and didn’t know why I was pushing so hard to get to the hotel before sunset. We checked into the Surf & Sand Lodge as quickly as possible and raced for the cliffs overlooking the beach and sunset.  I proposed there up on a ledge/cliff overlooking the Pacific at Sunset.

We spent Sunday slowly making our way back to San Francisco, stopping at Glass Beach and the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. Then we stopped for dinner in Sausalito with her brother, who was the first one we told about the engagement. W found out later that she rummaged through my suitcase at least once Friday night or Saturday morning on the trip looking for the ring…and didn’t find it, so she thought it “wasn’t happening” on this trip. Luckily she didn’t think about looking in the socks wrapped up inside my extra pair of shoes 😉

Editor’s note: Good thinking, Brad!


I flew back with her to Springfield on Monday morning and used Monday and Tuesday to interview at a couple of local architecture firms and look for a new place to live. Then I put in my notice at my firm in Illinois later that week and started to make plans to join her in June.

We got married in June 2004.


Shared Google Calendars is a life saver




Have Fun!


Brad: In addition to Oak Grove Commons (hopefully in the coming months), we are assisting Old Missouri Bank on their new location in Mt. Vernon, working with Community Partnership of the Ozarks on the Affordable Housing Center which is renovating the old Pepperdine School into new offices for their program partners and continued projects with MSSU. And looking to grow our team here in Springfield/Joplin as well as our new office in St. Louis area.

Cara: Project Red Zone – aiming to reduce home fires, injuries and deaths with smoke alarm installs in targeted areas.

What’s one unique thing you love about Cara?

She keeps me centered and focused on the most important part of life: our family. She does way more than her fair share of keeping our little family going that has allowed me to do everything I do professionally.

What’s one unique thing she loves about you? 

She says that I am the voice of reason in a house of chaos. She loves that I am involved in all aspects of the kids’ lives, from sports to school. And that I not only attend but enjoy the “girly” things like dance competitions. And that I run errands…she hates running errands






Posted in All Things SGF

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