The train rides home from Chicago helped Clay realize how madly in love he was with Lily.
She was living in the Windy City, working at an internship, and he found himself dreading the return trips to Indiana after their fun weekends together. “It was so difficult to get back on that train that’d take me home,” he says.
Lily, too, hated to see those Sundays come around.
“I remember him leaving, literally feeling like my heart was getting tugged out,” Lily recalls of that summer of long-distance love. “Normally I’d be embarrassed to cry in front of people I don’t know, but at the train station, I was always so emotional.”
College sweethearts who met at Purdue University, Lily and Clay both acknowledge they grew up—and became even more compatible—as their relationship progressed through their years of school together.
“I feel like we each have grown since we started dating,” Clay says. “We can see the subtle changes in one another. She has definitely made me a better person.”
Lily laughs at how two people who began dating as opposites—he a serious engineering student with a penchant for T-shirts and jeans and she a social butterfly with a flair for fashion and high heels—slowly morphed into sharing mutual interests. “As we became more involved, I found myself learning to stay in on a Friday night and he learned how to dress to impress.”
Nowadays, the two say their favorite memories stem from sharing new experiences together—be it dining at new restaurants, taking dance lessons before their wedding day or traveling someplace different, like the tropical island of St. Lucia, their honeymoon destination.
The pair debuted their newly acquired ballroom skills during their first dance together as husband and wife on their wedding day, August 4, 2012.
As Lily twirled before Clay for the first time in her strapless, intricate gown, “seeing that look on his face made me feel like the prettiest woman in the world.”
And to Clay, she absolutely was. “I was blown away by how gorgeous she looked.”
The smile he shared with her in that special moment is the same that greets Lily at the end of each day of their new lives together.
“Now being married, I am so thankful for every day I see her,” Clay says. “I smile ear to ear on my way home from work to our apartment, filled with happiness that every day means getting to be with her.”