I met Rachel in college. We had declared the same major so we were enrolled in a lot of the same courses. To me, she was the pretty girl I recognized in class but had no business talking to. Luckily, she rushed Alpha Phi Omega (a co-ed, service-based Fraternity) in the fall of our Junior Year, and I had an excuse to interact with her. For a long time, I thought I was full of myself for thinking she was interested in me. I can't express how happy I was when she proved me right. Things moved slowly at first. We both had church communities, families, Greek organizations and friends that needed to be brought into the fold as we became more serious about each other. I proposed to Rachel shortly after we graduated college at Yorktown Beach, the site of our first "official" date. As we shared our love with others, we received varied responses. Throughout the process, I came to know and love Rachel's bravery, compassion, and sense of humor all the more.
We now belong to a loving and affirming church community and are embraced by family. The beautiful women of Gamma Phi Beta (Rachel's Sorority) have exceeded my expectations in their support and excitement for us, and we are humbled by the generosity and acceptance of the Brothers of Alpha Phi Omega. I often joke that I don't know how I functioned before Rachel came into my life. The further we move forward the less I can imagine spending life without her. While we both take some pride in our independence and individuality, I know I'd be lost without Rachel by my side as I navigate my civilian career, higher education, and my duty with the Virginia Army National Guard. However, it's not just thinking about life without Rachel that makes me appreciate her. It's knowing that everything I have going for me is better when shared with the vibrant, beautiful, loving woman I am blessed to spend the rest of my life with. Together, we will explore every major museum that features dinosaurs, cook everything with quinoa at least once, and travel as far and as long as we can pack for.
One day, Rachel will teach me how to appropriately sample whiskey, and I will finally get her to lick an envelope (because there is nothing to fear). We will live happily ever after with our two ornery cats - and possibly children - if we can learn to keep a cactus alive.
I officially met Kristen when I was rushing a service fraternity during my junior year of college. She was the President and I was just a pledge, so it was all very scandalous! Although we had been in a few classes together, the first time we really met was through the fraternity. After that, we continued talking and I developed the biggest, most embarrassing crush on her. Luckily we were in a few classes together so I could ask her to study with me without raising any suspicion. She was very reserved around me at first and I was determined to change that. The first time we went to dinner together I flat out asked her to tell me everything about her. I didn’t think she was going to open up, but she did! We continued talking for hours and I couldn’t help feeling this overpowering connection with her. Soon after, I knew I loved Kristen, but it took me a while to convince her that I was serious. One day she overheard me making plans for dinner that Saturday. When I got off the phone, Kristen informed me she had planned our first official date for that Saturday. I thought it was very presumptuous for her to assume I would go on a date without her asking me! I told her that IF I were to go on a date with her, she would need to ask me in a special way. When she finally asked me with roses, I excitedly agreed. It was the perfect beginning of “us”. Since we first met, I have come to know so many things that I love and admire about Kristen. Her strength, wisdom, and compassion inspire me to be the best version of myself. Her humor, sense of adventure, and passion remind me that each day is special. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with her, one great adventure at a time.