February 1, 2018
Matt & Karla
Hi there! We are Matt and Karla Donker, and we’re your typical, corny, high school sweethearts love story. We’ve been together for almost 13 years and married for 5. We’re blessed to say that we’ve grown up together and have experienced many of life’s beautiful and not-so-beautiful moments hand-in-hand. We like to consider ourselves adventurous, traveling to different parts of the world at least once a year. Matt is a web developer, currently working for the Casey Council and runs his own graphics design and web development business on the side. Karla is a Mental Health Clinician at Epworth Hospital, with dreams to open her own practice someday. We love the countryside, our mighty Hawks and a good bottle of red wine – not necessarily in that order but most certainly all at the same time!
1. TELL US YOUR SIMPLE LOVE STORY
KD: Matt and I first met at school – I was 12 and he was 13. He was one of the new students that year, super shy and super geeky. I remember two things stood out: his curly blond fringe and his beautiful, big green eyes. At 15, we found ourselves in the same computer class, bonding over my lack of knowledge and experience with Photoshop. After a number of weeks of talking and getting to know each other, we then began joking that we’d one day get married. Matt finally mustered up the courage to ask me out by the drinking taps on the last day of Term 3. One week after our 7-year anniversary, Matt then proposed to me in Canberra at sunset, sending me on an “Amazing Race” type scavenger hunt across Melbourne first. 18 months later, that little joke we shared in year 10 became our reality. I walked down the aisle to “Marry Me” by Train, which played on the radio the night we got engaged. Our wedding day was and still is the happiest day of my life.
MD: We met at school when we were put in the same class together. I remember her having one best friend who she always sat with. I remember they were both teacher’s pets. Fast-forward 3 years and she had a new best friend (who I couldn’t stand) but fortunately we shared computer class together without this friend. I got to know her a lot better and loved her genuine interest in me and easy-going nature. After 7 happy years seeing us through the end of school, Uni and the beginning of our careers, I popped the question after sending her all over Melbourne opening envelopes like on Amazing Race, which culminated in her flying to Canberra and me proposing at the top of a tower during sunset. Our wedding was classy and simple – one big party! It was full of love for each other, family and friends. It also had more dancing than any other wedding I’d ever been to! Typical Latino’s…
2. DESCRIBE ONE WAY YOU EACH INTENTIONALLY GROW YOUR LOVE?
KD: I will leave Matt cute love notes in the morning for him to read – either on the kitchen bench or attached to food that I’ve made him for that day. For example, I made him a berry smoothie for breakfast one morning and left a note saying “drink me, I’m berry delicious”. *insert lol*
MD: We definitely both have a love for travelling and exploring places, and “getting away” is definitely something we love to do together. It’s not so much the exploring as it is spending quality time together and enjoying each other’s company and sharing in our excitement together at the places we visit.
** They didn’t include this but I (Lauren) had to add this in – One of the cutest things they do is have two glass jars on their kitchen bench. They both fill it with date ideas that they would personally like to do, and then they take it turns to choose a date from one of the jars when they go out together. That way they get a balance of date ideas that they’ve both chosen. Happy wife and happy husband!
3. SHARE YOUR MOST RECENT, OR FAVOURITE GO-TO DATE
KD: We enjoy being outdoors and so picnics is what we often do for dates. We’ll pack cheese, dips and wine (and the frisbee of course) and go down to our local lake and catch the sunset.
MD: Apart from being outdoors, wining and dining is a favourite too – we both appreciate nice food and wine. One of my favourite dates ever was in Bright, when we had a 7 course degustation at a winery. We could barely walk at the end but it was amazing spending hours together, just us two (with awesome food).
4. SHARE YOUR BEST PIECE OF ADVICE TO KEEP A MARRIAGE THRIVING
KD & MD: It’s cliché but we’ve found that communication is definitely key. Our relationship wouldn’t be where it is today without strong communication. They say women talk more than men but in our case, Matt gives the average woman a run for her money! Although we both love to talk, it’s actually listening that makes communication so imperative. Be honest, transparent and respectful when communicating with your spouse, and by the same token, don’t just “hear” each other out but actively listen. We’ve been given TWO ears and only ONE mouth for a reason.