Advice,  Couples

Changing Circumstances, Steadfast Relationship: Stevie + Alex Hernandez

I think it’s safe to say that Stevie + Alex’s journey panned out differently than they imagined at the start.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

These are two people that most of you young whippersnapper’s probably don’t know at all + that’s quite understandable. I myself only overlapped with them at King’s for one year. But they’re two people you don’t forget easily.

Meet Stevie + Alex Hernandez!

Graduation Year: 2018 (?) (it’s complicated, I’ll explain)

Majors: MCA (both)

Houses: Reagan + Barton (respectively)

Total relationship length (so far): 4 years

Their story is a bit of a whirlwind + tragically, the beginning coincides with a couple of very important endings.

The two met during their first year at King’s + that March, Stevie reached out to ask about house elections. Alex explained that she hadn’t attended because she was out of town due to the recent passing of a very dear person in her life. It turns out that Stevie had also recently lost someone close to him + this sparked a conversation between the two about grief. Through this encounter, they began to talk + grew to be fast friends as they supported each other through a difficult season. After two months + an ambiguous first date (to the Cloisters + Taco Bell [a classic combination]), Stevie + Alex started dating. A mere seven months later, they were engaged.

But the adventure was truly just beginning for the two of them.

The following April, Alex had a health crisis that forced her to return home. After the end of the semester, Stevie followed. He got a job at Starbucks + rented out a cottage proximal to her family’s neighborhood so that they could remain close. Alex returned to vocal coaching + even worked as a guardian on the national tour of Les Misérables (yeah, did I mention she has a super cool job?). The plan up until this point was to return to King’s for their final year + get married. But that’s not what happened.

Stevie + Alex were offered guardian jobs on the School of Rock national tour + after prayer + deliberation, they decided to accept. They bumped the wedding up to October, transferred to an online degree program, + spent the first 6ish months of married life traveling with 16 pre-teens. “Not exactly honeymoon goals,” they wrote, “but it was honestly wonderful.”

The two are now settled back in Connecticut where they live with their sweet bébé, Asa!

The thing that has always inspired me about Stevie + Alex is the amount of change that they have patiently endured. They bonded over grief in New York + planned to graduate as normal, but circumstances brought them back to Connecticut, then to an early marriage + a job that took them all over the U.S., + then back to Connecticut. Their lives certainly didn’t follow the timeline that they expected them to. But I think they’re living proof that our own plan for our lives oftentimes isn’t the best one (+ certainly isn’t the most exciting one). Over the past four years, it has been an absolute pleasure to watch these two go through many different types of experiences together – both joyful + painful – + I look forward to whatever comes next for them!

So I – of course, as I do – asked them some questions about King’s + relationships + I wanted to share some of their replies!

How would you describe the dating culture at King’s? What’s your favorite/least favorite thing about King’s dating?

“King’s is so small + so intellectual. This can be a tough combination. Everyone feels like they know each other really well + everyone has an opinion. This can be intimidating for couples who aren’t sure if they have the ‘approval’ of the majority. Sadly, it’s also a perfect climate for gossip, which we definitely experienced a good amount of. We didn’t exactly broadcast every single life curveball that led to the decisions we made, so people ‘filled in the blanks’ + made some premature judgements. That said, the support post-grad is great! Once people aren’t too close for comfort anymore, it becomes a little easier to just respect everyone’s journey and celebrate the victories.

We’ve already talked a lot about the downsides, but the nice thing about a small community is having so many opportunities to do things together at school! As corny as it sounds, we really just enjoyed being best friends at King’s. It was also nice to be able to go seamlessly back + forth between time together + time with our separate friends without having to go far.”

What is the best/most memorable experience you have had at King’s as a couple?

“Any class together with Doc. He’s a hero, Papi.” (This one got me good.)

What advice would you give to others on how to make the most of their relationship while at King’s?

“Alex: Do your own thing! Your relationship is ultimately between the two of you + God. Seek wisdom from the right people + don’t let your mind get crowded out by expectations of what a King’s relationship is supposed to look like.

Stevie: Take advantage of being in a place where things are open 24/7 (okay, not in the Fidi, but still). Eat Times Square waffles in the rain at midnight. Have a ‘lunch date’ in Lincoln Square at 2 AM. These are some of our favorite silly memories!”

What’s the best relationship advice you’ve been given?

“Alex: Someone once told me, ‘If you’re gonna fight, fight naked.’ I don’t know if that’s good advice, but it made me laugh. Recently, someone told us to find an older couple who has what we want someday and ask them to pray for us. I thought that was cool.

Stevie: ‘A secret from your partner is a secret with the devil.'”

What advice would you give to single people today to help set them up for a successful relationship in the future? (This is my FAVORITE response)

“Stevie: Don’t look for the perfect person. Christian dating culture promotes the idea that there’s this perfectly crafted robot out there for you and that if someone doesn’t check every box, they’re wrong. This is so backwards. That said, the right person will love the truest version of you. Focus on being who God intends YOU to be, not the person you think someone will fall in love with.

Alex: What he said. Also, the perfect timeline doesn’t exist. Don’t feel like you HAVE to be dating someone by a certain time to fit the mold (or on the other end of the spectrum, worry that it’s too soon just because it’s sooner than your peers). Be prayerful, seek solid advice, + then roll with it! Life would be so boring if everyone’s story was the same.”

How incredibly true! This blog definitely wouldn’t exist if everybody’s stories were the same. So I – for one – am very thankful.

And I’m also very thankful for Stevie + Alex who spent nap time answer all of my questions! These two are incredibly delightful, good-humored, + quirky people (I mean this in the best way) + sharing their wisdom can only make us all better people. What a joy it is to celebrate + feature them here!

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