Building a Relationship on Laughter, and Monthly Meetings

Though he admitted he was not ready for a serious relationship when the two reconnected, as they continued to see each other over the following months, Mr. Singley, a graduate of Bradley University who was born in Bettendorf, Iowa, and raised in Orion, Ill., said he became “crazy about Julie.”

By October 2019, when Ms. Fogel brought up their relationship status, Mr. Singley was ready to commit. “Julie had become the love of my life,” he said. That December, his love for her grew even deeper “when I was sick with pneumonia and eventually hospitalized,” Mr. Singley added. “She refused to leave my side.”

After the lease on her Chicago apartment ended in May 2020, she moved into his condominium in the city’s West Loop neighborhood. Living together, they relished in their love for laughter and learned to accept their different habits by talking them through during an informal monthly meeting. “We communicate to avoid resentment, and always give each other space when needed,” Ms. Fogel said.

On August 20, 2021, Mr. Singley surprised Ms. Fogel with a proposal at his family’s home on Lake Summerset in Davis, Ill. It included a healthy dose of the humor that had first drawn her to him. “I got down to propose then dropped a fake ring in the lake,” Mr. Singley said. “I was amazed that she consoled me and didn’t get upset.”

When he dropped to his knee a second time with the proper ring, she said yes. “We kissed and I cried,” Ms. Fogel said. They celebrated the moment with both of their families, his on-site and hers via FaceTime.

The couple were married April 23 at the Peninsula Chicago hotel before 175 guests. Chris Johnston, a friend of Mr. Singley’s and a Universal Life Church minister, officiated.