RIGHT TIME RIGHT PLACE: His help with moving furniture got her attention

Jordan and Adrianne Karasek enjoyed making Korean food together for dinner recently after they put their three children to bed. “It’s kind of like we’re doing the secret life of parents, feeding the kids and putting them to bed and then making whatever we want, and watching movies or whatever,” Jordan says. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette)

Adrianne Redding needed help getting settled into her college dorm room. Not only was Jordan Karasek ready to lend a hand, he did it with a song on his lips.

They were freshman at John Brown University in Siloam Springs in 2009. They were in different small orientation groups the first week of school, but Adrianne noticed Jordan, who was in the group with her roommate.

"My roommate and I were trying to meet people -- especially boys," Adrianne says. "We needed a rug rolled out, and we needed to move our beds, so we were like, 'This is perfect. This is how we get to know boys.'"

Adrianne's roommate asked Jordan if he would come by and help them move the furniture to roll out the rug. When he and his friend were done with that job they stuck around briefly before going on to the room of the next damsel in distress.

"There's an event at John Brown where the all-boys' dorm comes over and serenades the all-girls' dorm, so we were just talking about singing in general and that's when everyone got silly," she says. "He sang a Disney song."

That song was from "Beauty and the Beast," but Jordan had several in his repertoire.

"Everyone in our generation grew up on Disney, so I learned to sing a lot of Disney songs," Jordan says.

Jordan was very social, and he would burst into Disney song after Disney song upon request.

He stopped by to visit Adrianne often after that, whenever he was in her dorm on open visitation nights, and they had a class or two together as well.

"I was very interested in him but I didn't want to date freshman year," she says. "I wanted to focus on building friendships and on my studies and all of that."

Jordan had no reservations about dating then.

"But she was like, 'I kind of want to wait,' and I said, 'Oh, me, too,'" he says.

Before they went home for Christmas break -- Adrianne to Little Rock and Jordan to Tulsa -- Jordan had casually introduced his parents to her at a candlelight service on campus. They asked later if she was someone special and he answered that if he weren't with them he would be walking her back to her dorm.

Back at school, Jordan asked Adrianne if they could talk after class.

"I was head over heels for him, but I didn't think he liked me," she says. "I was very anxious and unhappy leading up to the conversation because I thought he was just going to 'friendzone' me."

Instead, he said he wanted to date her.

"We decided to continue to hang out in our friend group and not do a lot of one-on-one stuff," she says. "We ended up breaking down and we just officially started dating three weeks before school ended."

Jordan had a car -- Adrianne did not -- so he drove her and her friends to the store when they needed to go, and they had movie nights in the communal spaces of the dorms.

That summer, he had a videography internship at a camp in Texas.

"I wrote him like 37 letters," she says.

In the fall, Adrianne left for a study-abroad semester in Ireland.

"I do think that makes you decide very quickly if this relationship is worth it or not," says Adrianne, "because there was a lot of effort to put into a long-distance relationship and not a lot of enjoyment to be had from it. We were very happy to be able to actually spend time together when I came back."

They had been dating for about 18 months when they took a weekend trip to Woodward Park in Tulsa.

"We were just walking through the azaleas and I was ahead of him," Adrianne says. "He called my name and I turned around and he had a ring box and three roses."

The roses were yellow, for friendship, yellow with red tips, for falling in love, and red for love.

They were married on May 12, 2012, at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Little Rock.

They finished their senior year as newlyweds and then moved to Tallahassee, Fla., so Adrianne could go to graduate school.

Two years later, they embarked on an around-the-world adventure, spending a month in the Middle East and six months in South and Central America. They worked in hostels and picked up other odd jobs along the way.

"We had saved up money and we just traveled until the money ran out," Jordan says. "And then we abandoned all reason and took a contract teaching English in Korea for a year."

When their contract ended, they paused on the way home to volunteer in helping Syrian and Afghan refugees in Serbia, before returning to the United States in 2017.

They live in Little Rock with their three sons. Jordan's familiarity with Disney songs still comes in handy.

"I can do all that for the kids," he says, "pull out the dad stuff and be like, 'I know these Disney songs by heart.' I don't know if they're impressed but they seem to enjoy it."

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The first time I saw my future spouse:

She says: "I first saw him standing on a pew and I thought, 'Oh, hes cute."

He says: "I remember being like, 'Thats her."

On our wedding day:

She says: "I remember thinking it was all very surreal. We drove away and I was like, 'Oh, wow, not only is it really happening, it really did happen."

He says: "We were about to get married and they didnt have an audio system so since I have a video degree I had to figure that out."

My advice for a long happy marriage:

She says: "Walk into your marriage knowing that there will be change."

He says: "You do it 100/100. We dont split it half and half. We might take turns on cooking but we each do it all, and we try to stick to what our strengths are."


  photo  Jordan Karasek and Adrianne Redding were married on May 12, 2012, at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Little Rock. “Before we left, I had picked the song that I really liked and so we danced to that, and then we kind of got everything together and changed and drove away,” Adrianne says of their wedding day. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette)