It all began with a love of the St. Louis Rams.
Boy likes football. Boy’s favorite team makes it to the playoffs. Boy goes to watch the playoffs over at a friend’s apartment. Boy meets girl. Two years later, boy asks girl to marry him.
It may not sound like your traditional love story, but for senior Scott Sobelman, 21, and 2005 alumna Rebecca Baum, 22, it works just fine.
The couple was engaged over the holiday break, when Sobelman, who hails from St. Louis, went to Baum’s home in New Jersey to celebrate Christmas with her family. When Baum wasn’t nearby, Sobelman took a moment to honor tradition and ask her father for permission to marry her.
“We went to get a beer and I asked him,” Sobelman said. Much to his relief, Baum’s father gave Sobelman a hug and his blessing.
That same evening, the soon-to-be-engaged couple went to a family party to celebrate Christmas Eve. As Baum was sipping champagne, Sobelman went to go get her another glass. Except this one came with a surprise.
“I was just expecting champagne and I turned around and there’s this ring there,” she said.
Just like in the movies, Sobelman got down on one knee and asked Baum to marry him. Sobelman, however, was a little short on the Hollywood glamour.
“I was definitely not as smooth as they are in the movies,” he said.
Regardless, Baum said she was shocked and responded in the best way possible.
“I was nodding and I realized they couldn’t hear me,” she smiled. “So then, I said yes!”
Sobelman said he was elated, but went into the moment expecting her to say yes.
“I didn’t really have much doubt. We trust each other,” he said.
Perhaps the reason Sobelman is so comfortable with his decision is because he has spent so much time thinking about it. This summer the couple took a big step in their relationship and lived together in D.C. But when Sobelman moved into his own place last fall, he realized something essential was missing from his life.
It was then that he realized that he wanted to marry Baum.
“It was missing her and knowing that wouldn’t happen with anyone else,” he said.
That summer the couple discussed their early marriage, how they would potentially raise children and how to fuse their two faiths – her Catholicism and his Judaism.
For the wedding this December, Baum has received permission from her diocese to have the ceremony take place outside her hometown church, something usually frowned upon in Catholic weddings. To honor his religion, Sobelman is having his rabbi fly from St. Louis to New Jersey to officiate as well.
It is this attention and sensitivity to each others’ needs that has made the couple’s relationship successful.
“She has been happier ever since the two of them started dating, and I could not imagine them ever not being happy together,” Baum’s cousin Holly Shaw said.
Others who know the couple agree. Sobelman’s fraternity brother, Matt Broadhead said he supports their relationship, since Baum fits in with the other Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity brothers.
“They are unique because Scott hasn’t changed since they started dating. So often you see friends dating someone and they change, becoming less reliable and so on. But with these two, their relationship supplements their personalities,” Broadhead said.
Unfortunately, this positive attitude has not been shared by all of the couple’s friends. Baum said that her friends, most of whom are already engaged, are excited for her impending marriage. Meanwhile, Sobelman said that some of his friends have reacted skeptically, wondering if this is the wisest choice at what many would call a young age for marriage.
According to the Gallup Poll, most Americans believe that the appropriate age for marriage is 25 for women and 27 for men. Baum, however, said she believes that age shouldn’t serve as any indicator of the potential of a marriage.
“People in their 30s don’t know what they’re doing either,” she said.
Baum, who is working at the D.C. brokerage firm Folger Nolan Fleming Douglas, said the couple plans to stay in D.C. for a few years, and then move to New York. Sobelman plans to go into advertising after graduating this spring. Baum said she hasn’t once doubted their decision to get married at such a young age.
And more than anything, Sobelman said there’s one principle that dictates why their relationship works.
He said, “She can put up with my shit.”