The photo above was taken about a month after we had started dating. I’m not sure if I ever told the story of how we met on the blog, so here it goes…
Brendan and I actually met in high school. But, we’re not high school sweethearts. See, we had speech class together, but there weren’t sparks at that time. Our “relationship” during that class was more competitive than anything…trying to be first or second in grades for the final debate at the end of the year. I remember him being obsessed with golf. He remembers me looking cute in my cheer uniform. Oh, and I should mention that I won an award for a portrait I had to take of him for our student newspaper. And, our Spanish teacher thought we would be a great fit, so she gave Brendan my phone number. I never knew of this until we started dating, and it is hilarious in memory. Suffice to say, he never called, and our interactions in high school were minimal.
Looking back in time, it’s crazy to think of the small ways that God kept bringing us toward each other. I remember studying abroad and thinking of him because Wake Forest had students attend the Syracuse program, and he was the only person I had ever known to go to WFU. My dad played golf constantly with one of his dad’s best friends, who always talked about Brendan. Our grandparents knew each other way back in the day at their social dance club. Bizarre, right?
After I had returned from my life-changing Africa trip post-college graduation in 2009, I remember journaling and asking God to not let me date anyone else until it was the person that I was supposed to be with. I had just gotten out of another serious relationship, and I was sick of the entire dating process.
About two weeks later, I had written on Facebook: “God is good all the time.” I’m not normally crazy evangelical on my FB page, but I felt like updating my status with that one afternoon. I had an atheist colleague from Syracuse argue with me on my page, and Brendan stood up for me! This surprised me. First, I wasn’t even trying to start an theological debate. Second, I didn’t even know that Brendan believed in God, nor that he felt strongly enough to comment on the post. Third, we hadn’t spoken in five years!
I completely forgot about this exchange and went back to life in Muskegon, Michigan (our home town), where I was interning for The Muskegon Chronicle. I was in the office one day and asked my co-worker, Kendra, what her assignment was for the day. In her sweet southern accent she replied: “Oh you probably know him! I was shooting Brendan Gielow. He went to Shores, right? Oh, he’s so sweet. I’ve known him throughout the years and he’s such a good kid. He’s so sweet to his sister too….”
In my head I was thinking, this is SO crazy. I haven’t talked to Brendan in years, and he keeps popping up everywhere! I made a mental note to write him back on FB for standing up for me and to congratulate him for making the Walker Cup Team.
He asked for my number so that he could text me his scores from his next tournament. I think we both knew that I didn’t really care about his score, but he really just wanted my phone number. We texted for a few days, then I made the bold move to call him first. We talked on the phone for FIVE hours. Even with him having homework (he was still in school), we would continue to talk for hours every night.
A couple weeks later, he convinced his parents to fly him home to work on his game…and to see me :) We went out for breakfast, and the rest is history.
We got engaged a little over a year later in St. Lucia. This is one of my favorite photos that our family friend Dean took when we told my mom the big news. Here’s the blog post on that story.
The talented Sean Flanigan photographed us in Chicago a few months later…
I can’t believe that it’s been two years since we said our vows in front of all of our family and friends. I never thought I would find someone so perfect for me, and I never thought it would be Brendan. However, I’m so thankful for the way that God pulled everything together. We may have our challenges and rough patches like every married couple, but I wouldn’t want to face the world with anyone else. I love you, Brendan. Thanks for choosing me.