Love knows no limits-or locations

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Posted Thu, Mar 25, 2010

Flowers, catering, locations and colors: all part of the wedding scene and all decisions that require discussion. But not for one local engaged couple; the decisions are up to the bride.

 Not for reasons that she has to be in control or he has bad judgment, but instead because her fiancée has lived in Saudi Arabia for 75-percent of the time they have been together.

 Carly Nelson, a 21-year-old student at University of Colorado at Denver met her fiancée two years ago and the minute she saw him across the room, she was so confident that he was the man she was going to spend the rest of her life with. They didn’t meet at a bar, a wedding or get set up on a blind-date. It was merely at a small gathering in Golden, where she quickly learned that his name was Ryan Decker and he was a student at Colorado School of Mines.

Mines students aren’t known for their capability to sweep girls off their feet, but the spark between Ryan and Carly was how she says, “So encouraging. That feeling right then and there showed me that we could overcome any obstacle.”

 But what obstacle would get in the way of two college students who fell in love at first sight? The answer all lies in one word: opportunity.

 In dating Carly for just four months, Ryan was set to graduate in the spring of 2009 when he got offered a wonderful education opportunity. After obtaining a degree in environmental engineering, Decker was contacted by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia to study to get his Master’s degree. He would get paid to do this, and was guaranteed a job following the completion of this program.

 To an engineer, this opportunity seems like a no-brainer to accept. That is, of course if it were local. And the love of your life didn’t still have two years left to finish school in Denver.

 “I wasn’t about to hold the man I love back from something like this. The two most important parts of our relationship are love and respect. I couldn’t love him well if I didn’t respect and support this chance of a lifetime,” Nelson said. “As miserable as I knew I would be without him here, I knew it would be better in the long run.”

 So Decker set out to Saudi Arabia in August of ’09. Skype was the only way of communicating with Nelson, and the four months dragged on without being able to hold his love.

 Nelson continued on with school and work, just as she did with him here. “If my life were written down while he’s gone, it looks about the same. But it’s not. There’s something missing in me,” said Nelson about his absence. Not everything was negative while he was away.

 “I learned how to let God define me. As I loved Ryan more and more every day, even if it was telling jokes over Skype, I still learned how to serve my community and really focus on what my heart needed.”

 And then December came where Decker had two weeks to spend back home in Colorado until he left back to school in Saudi Arabia. He knew what he wanted to do. All he had left was obtain permission from her father.

 Carly’s dad, John Nelson was just as confident in this relationship as they were. That being said, he still is a firm believer in tradition.

 “I knew he was the perfect boy for my girl the first time he came over to dinner…The only test I had left was if he would ask my permission for her hand,” John said. “When he asked me, I knew he just went from a boy to a man; a man who gets the luxury of taking care of my Carly for the rest of his life.”

 The engagement went perfect. Carly said, “I always told myself that I wasn’t going to cry when he proposed, but it felt so right that my tears couldn’t stop.” This fairy-tale of being together again came to a close when he departed back to Saudi Arabia in January.

 The wedding date: June 13, 2010. Ryan’s return from Saudi Arabia: June 8, 2010. Mr. and Mrs. Decker’s departure date back to live together in Saudi Arabia: June 25, 2010.

“Most people think I am going to stress over wedding plans because my fiancée is so far away. Why would I do that? I can’t control the uncontrollable, and this is what we want. So I’m just going to do my best in planning this by myself, whether or not he’s there to hold my hand in the decisions,” said Carly in a confident, bubbly tone. “Moving out to Saudi Arabia might be the riskiest thing I’ve ever done, but adventure is what we desire in our relationship. This fits us.”

 If love is what it takes, then Nelson and Decker have it set. They have shown perseverance in their relationship and have all the confidence in the world that it is going to work.

 “Yes, it might not be the most common of relationships, but it’s what we’re doing so we’re going to make it work. And have fun in the process!”

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