Ciera and Dr. Bryant Birch, of Birch Family Dental, had been around each other all through growing up, but they never met until their first year of college. They believe it was fate to meet when they did.
“We just never crossed paths before, which was weird,” Bryant said.
Bryant grew up in Green River and was best friends with Ciera’s cousin. Ciera would visit, but they never met or even knew of each other until they both attended Ricks College, now known as Brigham Young University-Idaho.
A Fateful Meeting
After going on a two-year LDS mission, Bryant was looking at schools and had several offers for wrestling scholarships. He almost attended Western Wyoming Community College, but instead he decided to go to Ricks College. It ended up being the best decision he could have made.
“I feel like meeting her when I did was meant to be, because there had been so many opportunities to meet before we did, but it would have never worked out for us. We would have never liked each other in high school, it just wouldn’t have been the right timing,” Bryant said.
“And I’m three years younger than him, so he probably wouldn’t have even cared about me,” Ciera added.
When Bryant got to Ricks College, his best friend’s mother and Ciera’s aunt, wanted him to find some people to get to know, so she gave Bryant’s number to Ciera.
“It wasn’t really setting us up on a date, even though she says she did,” Bryant said.
“Yeah, she likes to say she set us up,” Ciera said.
Ciera and her roommates were having a get together, so she called Bryant and invited him over for dinner. One of her roommates had made lasagna and cookies.
“I just thought, you’ve got to be kidding me. A girl calls me, that never happens. She invites me over for dinner and cookies. I’m thinking, score, this is perfect,” Bryant said.
A Match Made in Heaven
Bryant recalls stepping inside Ciera’s apartment for the first time and scanning the room for her. Ciera was in the kitchen, and when she turned around, she called out to Bryant and introduced herself.
“I immediately thought, wow. She’s pretty good looking. This could be cool. I just kind of made a bee line to her. I barely introduced myself to anyone. I just didn’t care about anyone else,” he said.
The two of them talked for over four hours, and never got bored of each other. It felt natural and they had fun talking. They talked about what they wanted to do for careers, and Bryant said he was going to be a dentist. Ciera told him she was looking into becoming a dental hygienist.
“A match made in heaven,” Bryant said.
Ciera had scheduled a study group for that night, thinking she would be done with the dinner way before, but Bryant was still there. She didn’t have a car, so he offered to drive her.
“He drove down the completely wrong side of the road,” Ciera said.
“I was in la la land because she was just so cute,” Bryant laughed. “She said, ‘you’re on the wrong side of the road,’ and I had to cross back over, and it was so terrible. I was so embarrassed, and I thought I just lost my opportunity. I thought she’d never want to see me again.”
Fighting for Each Other and Choosing One Another
Bryant admits he did a few things that he thought would chase her away, thinking he was a “dummy”. One of those things was what he calls “the most terrible worst first kiss ever” after their first official date.
Ciera and her roommates had a deal that whoever kissed someone they went on a date with would have to buy everyone else ice cream. As Ciera walked into her apartment, happily telling her roommates she owed them all ice cream, Bryant walked away thinking he ruined it and would never see her again.
Another instance was the first time Bryant talked to Ciera’s mother, which was on the phone. Ciera handed Bryant the phone without warning and he didn’t say a word. Eventually, when he finally did speak, the first words to leave his mouth were a panicked, “I’m going to be a dentist.”
“Impressive, right?” Bryant joked.
According to Bryant, even his proposal gave Ciera a chance to run away. When he proposed, he had a ring box, got down on his knee, and then jokingly said that he couldn’t do it, and threw the empty box into the river.
“I told him that was dumb,” Ciera said.
Throughout it all, however, Ciera chose him and he is very thankful for that.
“He was the cutest guy I ever dated. He was always so cute. I had to marry him,” she said.
A lot of guys were calling Ciera when they first met, which Bryant called “the black book”. He recalled not wanting to fight off the other men for her, but he did anyway.
“She was worth it,” he said.
Ciera and Bryant both believe they are very different, but that is a positive thing for their relationship and their marriage.
“He’s gotten me to be more vocal than I was before, come out of my shell a little bit, and stand up for myself more,” Ciera said. “I think I calm him down a little when he gets intense. We balance each other out that way.”
Bryant explained that he was a jock, while she was into music and performing arts. When they first started dating, Bryant wanted to watch the NCAA basketball tournament together and do the seeding.
“She had no idea what the tournament was even about. I was like, who am I marrying?” Bryant joked. “The term, opposites attract, is absolutely true with us.”
Bryant said he was “enthralled” by the musical side of Ciera, and it eventually led him to be a bit more musical. Not long after they were married, he wanted to sing in church together. They even went country dancing while they were dating, which Bryant said he would have never done before Ciera.
“You wanted to country dance with me when we were dating so you could hold my hand,” Ciera reminded Bryant.
“Well you were cute, I wanted to swing you around,” he replied.
Making it Together
Bryant and Ciera met in January of 1998 and were married later that year in June 1998.
“We only dated for about five months. Now, we’ve been married for nearly 21 years, have three kids, and we’ve had a good marriage,” Bryant said.
“You can make it work, it just takes a lot of work,” he added.
Having common goals and common faith definitely helps, Ciera said. Bryant agreed and said communication and working together is also crucial.
“We learned from the very start that we’re not going to make it alone, we’re going to make it together,” Bryant said. “We have as many problems as we have good, but we don’t let the the problems out weight the good. Nobody has a perfect marriage, it’s just what you do with those imperfect moments to make the perfect moments even better. I think that’s how you make a marriage work.”