Happy Friday! This week’s Feature Friday is a married couple who we found ourselves closely relating to on a number of topics (homebodies who like staying in, drinking wine, and marathoning Harry Potter.) They describe their adorable honeymoon, how they knew they were the ones for each other after a relatively short amount of time, and Doug shares his cookie recipe that may or may not be the reason Nick said “I do.” Check out this crazy cute couple’s story below…
Where are you from? Doug was raised in southern New Jersey, and Nick is originally from Rochester, New York.
Where do you live? We live in Pennsylvania, in a small suburb of Philadelphia.
Instagram handle: Doug is @psychdrdoug, and Nick is @nrcornpops333
Age: Doug is 34; Nick is 25
Doug, left. Nick, right.
On a romantic, unforgettable honeymoon: Nothing can compare to our honeymoon in Disney World! Nick had never been to Disney as a kid, so Doug was very excited to see Nick experience it for the first time, especially since Nick loves Disney movies so much! We had so much fun exploring the parks, and we got to wear “Happily Ever After” badges for our honeymoon, so all of the Disney cast members were congratulating us everywhere we went! Our favorite day, though, was when we visited Magic Kingdom. We wore matching t-shirts that Doug’s sister custom-made for us. They had the Disney castle on the front and said “Hubby” underneath, and on the back, they had a Mickey head with the words, “And they lived happily ever after,” along with our wedding date. We were wearing them while browsing in one of the stores for Mickey ears to wear around the park when a Disney cast member approached us and asked us to be the Grand Marshals for the afternoon parade down Main Street! We were totally caught off-guard, but we agreed, and we’re so glad we did, because it was the most magical day. We rode in a beautiful antique car at the front of the parade, waving to everyone in the park, and we were announced as “The Roberts Family” to the audience, which was the first time we heard ourselves publicly recognized as a “family.” It was an incredibly special moment, especially seeing all the support and cheers we got from all the visitors as they saw that we were a same-sex couple. When we reached the end of the route, we got to watch all of the characters in the parade, and we had our own assigned photographer who captured so many wonderful pictures of us with our favorite Disney characters. We even got special Mickey ears that said “Grand Marshal” on the back, and the Disney employees treated us like royalty for the rest of the day. It was an incredible experience that we will never forget, and we can’t wait until the day that we have kids and can take them on a Disney vacation, let them wear our Mickey ears from that day, and tell them this wonderful story.
On the power of dating apps: We met through a dating app. Neither one of us expected it to amount to too much, since Nick was only home on a break from school and Doug recently got out of a long-term relationship. But, when we first met, something immediately sparked, and we knew this was something we both wanted to pursue, even though it would be difficult with Nick going back to school (5 hours away) in a few weeks.
On long distance relationships: Looking back, it was 100% worth it, but at the time, it was really painful. Nick and I grew really close quite quickly, and to only get to see him once every month or two, it was so hard to say goodbye each time. But going through that, especially in the beginning phase of our relationship, really helped us to build a solid foundation for communication. We learned how important just talking about your day with your partner is, no matter how mundane it seems to you, because when we were apart, our intimacy came through talking and sharing everything with each other. Since we were separated physically, we learned how much emotional connection just talking to each other can foster. And now, I feel like honest and direct communication is one of the strongest parts of our relationship.
On knowing they’re the one: Doug: I don’t know if I can put it into words. It was more like an emotional experience at first. When we first met, there was just a feeling of comfort and familiarity. Then, as I got to know Nick more, I found out how incredibly kind, patient, and loving he is - not just with me, but with his family and friends. I saw the kind of person he is, and I began to picture our life together. I became giddy thinking about how wonderful a father he would be to our children, and that for me sealed the deal. I saw no reason to wait to begin the rest of our lives together.
Nick: It might sound cheesy, but bare with me. The first time I looked into Doug’s eyes, I was struck with this unique sense of importance. It wasn’t love at first sight or anything like that. It was jolting, strange, and oddly comforting. I could not understand how this complete stranger felt so familiar. I had to find out what role this person was supposed to play in my life. I made every effort to develop our long-distance friendship through Skype and silly Snapchats. My best friend quickly became my love. I could completely be myself around him, just like he could with me. Even when we couldn’t be together physically, he gave unconditional love, support, and cookies! And in time, I realized who Doug was from the start - why his presence was enough to put me at ease, and why it felt so important that I know him. Doug is my home. He always has been. And with him is my favorite place to be.
“I could not understand how this complete stranger felt so familiar. I had to find out what role this person was supposed to play in my life.”
On an intimate, fried chicken-filled wedding: We had a fairly small wedding. We got married in a local restaurant that had started to branch out into hosting weddings, and we kept it to just our immediate families and some close friends. Nick comes from a very large family (he’s one of 8 siblings!), so it still ended up being around 50 people, but it was really nice to have a smaller, more intimate event, where we could actually spend time with everyone there throughout the night. The restaurant was in this vintage industrial building in Old City, Philadelphia, and it was just bursting with character! And for us, the most important thing about our wedding was having really delicious food. The restaurant we chose specialized in southern comfort food, and it was unbelievable. We are the only couple we know that had fried chicken at their wedding, and we have exactly zero regrets
On different, complementary personalities: Doug: I’m very Type-A. I get worked up and anxious easily, and my patience easily runs thin. I also get super competitive (just ask any of my friends who have had a board game night with me!). Nick is so much more relaxed and patient, especially when I get all worked up.
Nick: Doug is very structured, disciplined, articulate, clever, competitive, and socially conscious. I am more relaxed, emotionally expressive, patient, and domestic. I am also more direct and lack the social graces of my husband. Our different and complementary personalities help to balance us as individuals. We are both very much homebodies, and prefer staying at home watching HGTV or marathoning Harry Potter and drinking wine than being out with other friends.
On the #1 thing they love most about each other: Doug: Nick is the most endlessly kind person I have ever met. He has so much patience for things that I lose it with, and it is a wonder to see how he treats everyone he meets with such kindness and understanding. It’s a quality that I strive for, but usually fall short, and I so admire it in him.
Nick: Doug is extremely attentive to his friends. He jumps at the chance of supporting them and always communicates his love and empathy extremely well. He is the kind of person that you would want on your team for moral support and for his competitive spirit. He is a helper and a fierce advocate of justice.
On knowing it’s all worth it: Nick: My family has not always been receptive of “homosexual lifestyle choices.” That was the phrase I heard growing up. I could be gay so long as I didn’t act on it. Very soon after I started dating Doug, I was confident that I was going to pursue a relationship with him, and I was prepared to accept whatever backlash came with that. Without question, Doug was worth it. I lost a lot of close relationships that I had formed at my conservative college, many for the sole reason that I was openly married to a man. My mom, grandmother, and one of my siblings refused to attend our wedding or celebrate our marriage in any kind of way. However, they still treat Doug with respect and a kind of familial love. I am relieved that my other six siblings and their families have fully welcomed us as a married couple in my family. I’m hoping our roles as Uncle Doug and Uncle Nick will help prevent this kind of backlash for future generations.
On something they wish they would have known when they were younger: Doug: When I was younger, especially after I first came out, I was in such a rush to try to find “the one.” I didn’t always make the best choices when it came to who to date because I wanted to be in a relationship so badly, I was willing to overlook some pretty bad qualities. I would have told my younger self to just slow down, not be in such a rush, and just enjoy being yourself. You don’t have to be with someone to be happy.
Nick: I wish I knew the importance of self-care. Growing up, I often isolated myself and went out of my way to avoid causing anyone else any kind of mild inconvenience. I’d sacrifice sleep for schoolwork or for projects I was working on, or just because I didn’t feel like going to bed. I’d forget to eat, then gorge myself at other meals. And I’d only exercise in gym class. I was sick a lot of the time and felt really crappy all the time. I easily fell into depression. But I took none of the steps to improve my health until I got older. Daily exercise, eating regularly, spending time building meaningful relationships, discussing uncomfortable emotions, and maintaining a normal sleep schedule have all immensely changed my life for the better. My mood and sense self-worth improved drastically once I started setting aside time for a full-night’s sleep. Everything else flowed from that. I gained more confidence and motivation for better relationships and started making other better decisions for maintaining my physical health. In short, I would have told younger Nick to get some sleep.
On the importance of chocolate chip cookies: I think my cookies are actually one of the big reasons Nick decided to marry me! When we first started dating, and Nick was still in school, I sent him a care package with a bag of homemade cookies, and I think that hooked him, right then and there!
But, in all honesty, I can’t take credit for the recipe. It’s actually the chocolate chip cookie recipe from The New York Times, and it is a lot of prep work to make them, but they are so worth it! Here’s the link, for anyone who wants to try it:
One tip: I use the Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips when I make them, since they’re a little bit easier to find!
On their biggest inspirations (who else ;):