Steve grew up in the sweetest place on earth – Hershey, PA. He has 4 brothers and 3 sisters. He served a 2 year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the Nevada Las Vegas West Mission. Steve graduated from BYU-Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and then from Utah State with a Masters of Accountancy with an emphasis in Tax. After graduating, he moved back east to work in the DC area for PricewaterhouseCoopers as a tax accountant and got his CPA license. After nearly 6 years working for PwC, he changed jobs and started working for Verisign (they basically run the internet), where he is still working. Steve loves being active and being outdoors. His brother got him into Spartan races, and he has now completed his 15th Spartan race, the most recent near Huntsville, UT.
Liz was raised in the mountains of Huntsville, Utah. She has 4 brothers and 1 sister and some pretty amazing parents. She graduated from BYU with a bachelor’s degree in Communications, with a Print Journalism emphasis (print was still a thing back then). She served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Curitiba, Brazil and loved it so much she’s been back to visit 3 times. She also graduated from the Professional MBA program at the University of Utah.
She has worked for the Church for the past 13 years. She is currently working in the Church Communication Department as a product manager and content strategist. She consults on major messaging campaigns for the Church, manages Temple Square marketing and communications (including all the communications about the Salt Lake Temple renovation), and is also developing a new content and messaging strategy for the home page of ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
She loves the outdoors (camping, hunting, hiking, fishing, biking, skiing), traveling, gardening, reading, writing, playing with her dog Ginny, and spending time with her nieces and nephews. She also fancies Steve Meilstrup (pronounced MILE-struhp) quite a bit and intends to marry him on August 13, 2022.
Our Story: Steve’s Version
How We Met
In January 2021, I moved to Utah from Virginia. It was Covid and I needed a change of pace while work was remote. In early August I felt like I should get back on the dating app Mutual again (it’s something I’ve been on and off of over the years.) Shortly after getting back on I matched with Liz. When I saw her profile I thought she seemed like a smart, intelligent, fun, beautiful, well-rounded woman. Within a day or two of matching with each other, I sent Liz a message and asked her what books she was reading. And she responded (it’s really surprising that not everyone does), and responded with a follow up question (also odd that not everyone does that either.) We had a couple messages back and forth so I thought “Well, she seems like a fun person and is able to keep a conversation so I should ask her out.” And I did. And we set the date up for the coming Saturday evening to go get ice cream and go for a walk at Wheeler Farm. But when I looked at the weather forecast Saturday morning there were thunderstorms likely that evening, which wouldn’t be good for an outdoor date. So we changed the location to a dessert shop called Auntie Rae’s in Holladay.
Auntie Rae’s is a cute house that had been converted into a dessert shop. We got some treats and found a little area in the back of the house to sit and chat. One thing that seemed a little different compared to many other first dates was that the date seemed more relaxed and it was just a good conversation. One thing we found out is that we had actually previously been in the same company at a friend’s gathering. The friend was starting a political campaign and she only invited a handful of people that she could trust to get thoughts and opinions. As another friend described it, knowing that we were both there accelerated the trust between us. The date lasted for about an hour. I knew I wanted to go out again. While I didn’t know that it would lead to everything it has, I felt like this had a good possibility of leading to something.
After the first date I waited a day or two (let’s be real, it was probably the next day), and said that I enjoyed our date and wanted to go out again. So we went on our next date a couple days later. And then went out again. And again. Our fourth date was to the Utah Symphony playing the score to Return of the Jedi. I noticed that it looked like Liz had her hand available to hold, so shortly into the movie I made a move and held her hand. At the end of the evening I wanted to see Liz again soon, and so we were able to work out a time the next evening when Liz had a brief window of time. We went on a walk around her grandparents’ neighborhood. Then after the walk we were just talking for a little bit, and I thought (it wasn’t the first time I thought this), “I want to kiss Liz.” It felt natural and just right that we moved in and had our first kiss. The next date, which was our 6th date, I told Liz that I really liked her and wanted to date her, and so we were officially dating at that point. We had a lot of great experiences on our dates. Some of our dates were hiking, symphony concerts, kayaking, service projects, axe throwing, puzzling, shooting, Christkindlmarkt, Beyond Van Gogh, snowshoeing, skiing, ice fishing, among many many others. All of them helped us to get to know each other a little better in different ways. I really enjoyed seeing and experiencing all the things that Liz loves to do and trying to keep up with her. For example, I had never gone skiing before even though I thought it would be fun to try, but she got me out on the slopes. And even though I thought many times I was going to crash hard, Liz was supportive and patient and helpful. I have tried many new things because of our dating, and I have loved broadening my sphere of experiences.
One evening shortly before Christmas we were at Liz’s home and I had been feeling like I wanted to tell Liz that I loved her. I was a little nervous because I just wasn’t exactly sure how she would react or if she would feel the same way. But I decided that I needed to tell her and let her know, regardless of whether she said she loved me back. So I worked up the courage and told Liz, “I love you.” I remember that she said that she was pretty sure that I was going to say that and had also been thinking about it and she had just that day felt like she could say it too, and so she also told me that she loved me.
I have heard from many people that it is wise to go on a road trip with someone that you are dating to get to know them in a different way. So we decided to go on a road trip between Christmas and the New Year to Arizona (less chance of having issues with weather….). We visited my sister and her family and then spent some time in Page, AZ going to Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and some other hikes. We had to cut our trip a little short, however, because of a snow storm that was coming through Utah when we were planning to drive back. We left early in hopes that we would beat the storm, but we got stuck driving in the snow storm while in southern Utah. It was a stressful drive back, as visibility was low and in some areas the roads were not in great shape. But through it all we made it back safely, and our relationship still intact.
During our dating we both had our times of anxiety, worry, or concern. But early on we talked about past relationships and why they didn’t work and what we could do to make this one work. We both were intentional to make it work. And we have tried to be open with each other and let each other know where we are at and concerns we have. Having this open communication has helped me to feel confident in continuing to move forward.
During our dating we would occasionally talk about where we were in our relationship and our thoughts on marriage. And the discussions gradually turned from if we get married to when we get married. There wasn’t a definitive moment that I can pinpoint that was when I “knew” I wanted to marry Liz. But there had just been a gradual increase of love and desire to be with Liz because of her goodness, kindness, thoughtfulness, love, generosity, and the incredible person that she is. I just knew that Liz was the kind of person that I would want to spend my life with, and that she would also make me want to be a better person.
As we were talking about getting married and looking at rings, wedding dates, etc. it also happened to be around the time Liz was going to go to Washington D.C. to help with the invited guest portion of the D.C. Temple open house. I had also wanted to go back to see the temple open house and take some of my co-workers through. So we coordinated our trips so that we would be there at the same time. Liz had also mentioned that she would be ok if we got engaged in D.C. or in Hershey as those are places that have meaning to me.
On Sunday, April 24 we went to church, and then went to a couple of places around town. It was a peaceful day, but I was also nervous because I had wanted to propose that day and not wait a couple more days until after she was done with her work assignment. So thinking about the proposal and not wanting to mess that up was running through my mind most of the day. In the evening we went downtown to the monuments, as I love the monuments best at night. We went to the Lincoln memorial (my favorite) hoping that by some miracle there wouldn’t be anyone there (there were tons of people) but we walked around it for a little while to take in its grandeur. We then made our way down to the MLK memorial near the Tidal Basin. But between all the people there and no lighting around the Tidal Basin that wasn’t a good location for a proposal either.
I had known that chances were that most monuments would have a significant number of people, so in the back of my mind I knew that the DC WWI memorial was hardly ever visited, which also (not coincidentally) was just across the street from the MLK memorial. I wanted to propose in a more private setting without a crowd around, which can be difficult to do in downtown D.C. As we were walking to the memorial I think Liz was thinking something like “Why are we going here?”, but I just kept charging forward to it since I knew that was going to be the place I would propose. The memorial is a small (for D.C) rotunda, and as I was working up the courage to officially propose she suggested that we go, but I said I wanted to stay just a little bit longer. If she didn’t know before I’m sure she knew then I was going to propose there. I had some remarks prepared that I wanted to say but as I started talking those thoughts all left my head and so I just said what came to my mind. I then told her that I loved her and I thought that she was the most incredible person and that I wanted to marry her. And then I officially asked if she would marry me. And she said yes!
We then spent the next week around the D.C. area going to fun places that I love and enjoy as that area had been my home for over 13 years. We went to the Dulles Air and Space Museum, Arlington Cemetery, Old Town Alexandria, and Mount Vernon. We also spent a day up in my hometown of Hershey, PA where we visited my childhood home and went around town and took in the sights. It was wonderful spending time together on our engagement-moon, and I loved being able to take Liz around to some places that are part of my past.
Liz has been more than what I could have ever expected. I am grateful for her and all that she does for me. I can’t imagine my life without her.
Our Story–Liz’s Version
The Hallmark version: A global pandemic causes a big city accountant to move across the country where he falls for a small-town gal who works for her local Church.
The real thing: In mid-2021, I got back into online dating (ie. Mutual) after a hiatus during Covid. Covid dating had become way too stressful for me, caused way too much anxiety, etc. etc. but the world was starting to look up, I was vaccinated, so maybe there was a chance for love after all this isolation. And online dating was pretty much the only way I was going to find someone. No parties, no get-togethers, no chance meetings when the world was shut down.
I don’t exactly know when I matched with Steve but his first message to me was August 15, 2021 and he asked me about what I was reading—a very solid conversation starter for this bibliophile. He mentioned he’s an LOTR fan and that was pretty solid, too.
Why had I swiped on him? Honestly, in online dating you swipe on so many people that it’s hard to remember why as you go back. But as I looked at his profile, he had one picture where he looked like he had such kind eyes and that he seemed like a good person. And his profile mentioned a few things that make him happy: family, church, hiking, traveling, Spartan races, and friends. Solid. Well, I didn’t really know about the Spartan races (and it turns out he’s WILD about them) but I love that he has a passion.
First Date–August 21, 2021
We only messaged for a day before he asked me out (very unusual in the online world for normal people), so we scheduled to meet up for ice cream and walk about at Wheeler Farm. It was right about this time that the Delta variant was starting to rear its head and I had been fairly covid-cautious all along, so I let him know I’d probably wear a mask in the ice cream shop but I’d take it off outside—I just wanted him to know so that if he had a problem with that or we were way off on our feelings on it, it would be up front. I felt super awkward. But he was totally fine about it and understanding. Major points for his respect. (P.S. Dating during Covid has been HARD—it was really hard for me to get back out in society).
But then we got rained out by a major summer storm that day, so we rescheduled to Auntie Rae’s Dessert Island and no one was there (so no mask needed!). I was late—I was coming back from a day trip up home to Huntsville and 1) I told my parents right before I was leaving that I had a date that night that I had to get to, so they immediately asked too many questions and I was delayed a bit and 2) there was random construction traffic on the mountain road that really got me behind. We didn’t have each other’s cell phone numbers (safety reasons) so when I got home to drop off my pup, I immediately messaged on Mutual that I was running late and hoped for the best. I raced to the dessert place, and he was still there!
He looked nice. He looked normal. He was kind and he was sweet. He held a conversation really well. I could sense his goodness. An issue? He mentioned that he didn’t actually live live in Utah. Like, he was living here now, but he actually lived in Virginia (DC area) and his job was in VA and he was just here because he and his roommate got tired of life working from home during COVID and just wanted a change of scenery and moved to Utah for a while. And he would eventually need to go back, like in January (that timeframe eventually changed). And I was like, “Oh no no no no. I am not into this. I am not into long-distance dating and I certainly won’t be able to come to any conclusion about this guy in just a few months and I am out and this is not good and NO.”
Anyway, as we talked there was a strange recollection or something that we had met before (NOT like Saturday’s Warrior). So I asked him if he had been at a small event our friend had put on a few months prior. She was planning a run for political office and had invited some of her most trusted friends to give some ideas for her campaign. And for some reason I felt like Steve had been there—and he HAD been there. Being who I am, I had arrived late and left early (perpetually overscheduled) so I didn’t actually meet him personally or talk to him—I just saw him among the group—but the best way to describe it is I remembered his presence being there. Strange, but true. So, knowing that we had a very trusted connection brought what a friend best described as “accelerated trust.” I immediately knew he was a good man, a man who could be trusted and who was just quality.
After our date, I got all nervous about dating during COVID again and was about to delete the Mutual app but decided to hang on for a bit just in case Steve messaged again. And he did (the next day!!) And we went out again. And by the third date, I kind of liked the guy. Or at least my actions indicate so since I made him chocolate chip cookies for our hike to Gloria Falls and I made sure we took a picture together (just in case, you know?)
By the fourth date, there was some definite tension so while we watched and listened to Star Wars symphony at Abravanel Hall, he shifted, and I shifted, and somehow we were holding hands and I liked it.
And I wanted to see him again sooner than the once-a-week date schedule.
The only possibility to get together soon was the next night—maybe. My grandpa had just returned home from a rehab center after another stroke and I was on night watch duty to help my grandma if needed. But I knew I could spare an hour or two after they were in bed where I could walk around the neighborhood (besides the pup needed to be walked, too). Steve came over and we walked Ginny, just chatting and holding hands like two silly kids who had crushes on each other.
And then we got back, and Ginny ran off in the yard and Steve pulled me close, and I was fine with it, and he kissed me/I kissed him/we kissed. And I was fine with it.
Cue the anxiety
On our sixth date, Steve told me he really liked me and wanted to date me. And I wanted to date him. So we became a thing. I LOVED his clarity and his commitment.
But this situation started to feel really real and I started having some super great anxiety about dating and the whole situation and relationships and #allthethings.
I only add this as a reminder that just because things are hard does not mean they are wrong. I have to tell myself that lots.
Thankfully, I got into a doctor and then in to therapy super quickly to help me get through some of the worst of the initial dating anxiety and all the stuff since. And meeting with my counselor (who does a lot of dating anxiety/relationship related counseling) has really helped me keep things in perspective and keep this together along the way. My parents have also been a huge support as I’ve called them approximately one million times late at night just to talk through things. Help is good. Good help is really good.
When did I know?
It is so hard to pin down any sort of idea of when I felt like I knew that this was someone I could marry. I feel like it came along gradually with more understanding of each other, good communication, shared experiences, and building trust. And this is a choice I have consciously made and continue to make.
I say that, but as I was writing this, I scanned back through my journal. After a good general conference weekend, I wrote the following related to Steve. October 2021: “I [feel] like I need to move forward amid the uncertainty and that I need to be prepared for a different narrative for my life than the one I had planned. Let God author my story.
It still freaks me out. But in the past few weeks, I get this underlying sense that I am going to marry this guy… Maybe it’s not real, but it feels real. It just feels like it will happen.”
Woah. 6 weeks after our first date. I surprised even myself reading that again.
That doesn’t mean any of it was easy. It has been super hard for me to really feel and express love and move forward with faith. But here I am. And here we are together.
I Love You
Love is a very complicated word. I love everyone so how do you know when love is LOVE, you know? I knew Steve would tell me he loved me first, and I didn’t know how to respond other than the Star Wars response, “I know.” But the Sunday before Christmas, I had a sweet experience in Church. I contemplated the words to the song “In the Bleak Midwinter” that speak of the Savior in saying: “What can I give Him, poor as I am?…what can I give Him: give my heart.” And as I pondered on that gift to the Savior, I also felt that for Christmas I could give my heart. I felt I could give Steve the offering of love I had to give—even if I didn’t quite know what love meant. So later that evening when he told me he loved me, it just seemed the timing was impeccable. I truly felt I could say it back, even though it was a humble offering of love that still needed to grow.
Almost from the beginning we discussed what we felt hadn’t worked out in past relationships because we really wanted to make this relationship work. So we had clear ideas of some of our needs and some of our weaknesses and what we could help each other with. Along the way, our conversations often discussed the “If we got married, then what would this be like…” and it gradually shifted to “When we get married…”
In March we started getting really serious about what this would look like, and Steve decided he would be willing to move to Utah for our relationship to progress (he has made HUGE sacrifices for me and I am very aware of it and it stresses me out and I am grateful for it). We started looking at ideal times to get married and put together a huge family calendar of his 7 siblings’ and my 5 siblings’ summers to choose a date where the most people possible could come. And we started looking at venues.
Then we called temples for possible open times, and it was one of the worst experiences of my life working with temple scheduling.
We booked the Bountiful Temple in the end. I had always and forever wanted to be married in the Salt Lake Temple but it’s under renovation for 3 more years, so yes, this is actually very hard to not have that dream fulfilled. And Steve would have loved the Washington, D.C. Temple. But it logistically wasn’t going to work out. So we chose Bountiful because they had an open time (it’s a big wedding year, y’all, and places are BOOKED), and one of my mission presidents is a sealer there and he will be performing the sealing—something that really helped me feel better about it all.
But the proposal? When are you going to talk about the proposal?
In April, I had a very amazing opportunity with work to go back to Washington, D.C. and help with the invited guests portion of the DC Temple Open House. I worked with media, social media, Newsroom, etc.—pretty much whatever was needed—I even got to give a tour. This was largely because part of my job right now is working with Temple Square communications and this was to help us prep our minds for the future of the Salt Lake Temple open house.
Because everything in our dating had been in my corner of the universe and Steve was more used to DC life, I felt kind of bad. So when we knew we were going to get married, I told him I thought it would be fun for him to propose in DC or his hometown in PA because #romantic, am I right?
So I was in DC. And Steve planned to be in DC as well so we could spend some time together (and so he could pack up his stuff that was in storage and ship it across the country so we could get married). After working 7 straight days at the open house, I was exhausted and had a nice Sunday off, so we spent the whole day together. We shared some very calm and sacred experiences together and then…late in the evening he had planned for us to take a stroll on the National Mall in DC and see the monuments at night (something we both love—yes, I’d been to DC several times before). I figured he wasn’t going to be able to wait to propose any longer, so I’d done my nails that morning (for the pictures!) and tried to look a little bit cute. And then he was SUPER weird that day, so I knew it was coming.
We strolled around Lincoln Memorial where he told me it was his favorite and I thought, “It will be here.” But it was super crowded so I thought, “It will not be here” because that is not our speed.
So we kept walking and talking and on and on and then we crossed the street and he led me to the DC World War I Memorial which is a small, secluded rotunda where NO ONE was around. I thought, “maybe here.” And then thought, “Nah, he likes Lincoln, let’s get to this” so tried to head out. But then he paused and pulled me in a bit and I thought, “Ok, yes here.” And he said, “Elizabeth Stitt…” and we both busted up laughing because he has never called me by my full name before. But then he said a bunch of really sweet things and got down on one knee and asked me to marry him and I pulled him up off his knee because #awkward and answered him so awkwardly I’m not going to write it here but it was a yes. And then two seconds later I asked if he really thought I could do this. That was his favorite part, I think. The immediate massive uncertainty on my part. #WhyAmILikeThis?
So we were officially engaged and after like ten minutes I let him put the ring on…again getting engaged is #awkward (yes, I chose my ring).
And here we are, and I love Steve. It’s weird to say it with other people reading it because it feels a little personal and private. So I’ll only say it once.
But Steve is good and kind and patient and did I say kind? And smart and fun and caring and trustworthy and loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, and all the Scout things. We have had a ton of fun together. He’s also been there for me when I’ve cried. A lot. (There has been a surprising amount of grief that’s been my lot during our dating period). And he’s extremely supportive and forgiving and also willing to apologize. There are a million miracles about all of this and if you’re lucky, I might even blog more about them, but this is long enough for now. We hope you enjoyed the show.