Thanks for coming to this blog to learn a little bit more about our story. Theresa and I met when Theresa was a recently returned missionary and we were both attending school at BYU. We became very close friends and eventually fell in love with each other. We didn’t always recognize that we were in love with each other as a relationship as more than friends was against our religious beliefs, but in retrospect it is very clear that we have been in love and committed to each for over ten years.
During our final months at BYU we spent countless hours talking about how to reconcile same sex attraction and our belief in the gospel. Theresa dated a guy that she genuinely cared for and Rachel played the part of the ever supportive best friend. At the same time, her jealousy and confusion caused deep pain for both of us. Looking back, it’s clear that Rachel felt on some level that Theresa was being unfaithful to our relationship, even though we both genuinely believed that we wanted the other to find our Prince Charming and get whisked away to an eternal marriage. But neither of us really realized that at the time. Friends looked at our relationship with each other with jealousy, which we also didn’t understand at the time. At the end of the year, we decided to move to different states, remaining friends but exploring life in different parts of the country.
Even though we lived hundreds of miles apart, we continued to lean on each other. We talked on the phone for hours nearly every day. Eventually, we decided that it was madness for us to live apart, and Rachel moved to Arizona. We were committed to supporting each other in overcoming our challenges and living the life we’d always hoped for. Over the next several years we constantly tried to balance these two competing inner agendas. We attended singles wards and would go through a cycle of diligently trying to date, then taking a break from dating. We both threw ourselves into our work, each of us seeking fulfillment in working for a cause. As our lives became more and more entwined- we bought a condo together, bought furniture together, lost track of who owed what money to who and for what, we would *joke* about the upcoming “divorce” when we would have to separate our stuff in order to move forward with our lives with a new partner. We didn’t realize that we were in love with each other. Looking back, there was always an underlying sense of uncertainty and confusion about our relationship and our future together, and this insecurity would burst to the surface in really volatile ways.
We spent the next several months just being okay with being us. We didn’t come out to anyone for a while, mostly because we just really wanted to be 100% sure that we were both okay with us being together. And we were. We knew eventually we’d need to figure out what we were going to do about the church, and how we were going to tell folks, but we just enjoyed our time together for a while.
Finally, we knew that it was time to get the ball rolling and move on, whatever that meant. Rachel had a Family Reunion, and I stayed behind. That was torture for both of us. She was tired of pretending like we weren’t a family. One night she took the plunge and came out to one of her brothers. He couldn’t have been more supportive. The whole world started to shift. It was amazing to be open and honest, not just finally with ourselves, but now with other people. Within a few weeks we decided to come out to the rest of our immediate families.
When Rachel Proposed to Me…
In December of 2011 Rachel and I were getting ready for Christmas. We were shopping, decorating, baking, and doing all that good holiday stuff. I was more excited for Christmas than I had been since childhood because I knew she had bought a ring for me. I wondered when she would give me the ring, how she would propose, and what it would feel like.
About two weeks before Christmas, on an otherwise ordinary day, Rachel grabbed my hand as I was walking across the family room to put something away. She looked nervous and excited as she explained that she couldn’t wait anymore. She reached into her pocket, pulled out a ring, and knelt down on one knee. She talked about our life together, and the life she wants to build together, and said a whole bunch of sweet things that brought tears to my eyes. I said yes, of course! and we just held each other for the longest time. It was sweet and spontaneous and perfect. And it was a moment for just us to savor and hold in our hearts.
When Theresa proposed to me…
The day before my 35th birthday Theresa told me she had planned a surprise trip to San Francisco for me for my birthday. She had been planning this for months and somehow had kept it a secret. We got to Oakland late Friday night and made our way to our hotel. Saturday morning we set off for a sight seeing trip around San Francisco. We hit some of the major tourist traps and then landed in China Town. We went from store to store and then in one store Theresa was looking for some jewelry and I went and sat outside. She was in the store for a long time and I just sat and people watched for 20 to 30 minutes. She came out and she seemed a little nervous, but I didn’t think much of it.
Then we headed to the Ferry Building Marketplace. We grabbed a bite to eat and then as the sun was beginning to set and the moon was making its way into the sky we took a stroll on the pier toward the Bay Bridge. When got past all the buildings Theresa kept walking around like she was looking for something. Then she lead me to the side of the walkway with the most gorgeous sunset in the background. She then said that she needed to ask me something. I got a little lump in my throat. She pulled out a ring, (she had bought it in China Town while I was sitting outside the store) she told me she was not going to get down on one knee due to the broken glass on the ground, and then she told me she didn’t want to live her life without me and asked me to marry her. I said yes of course. She put the ring on my finger and we cried and kissed. It was a perfect moment.
Rachel grew-up in Massachusetts with her 6 brothers and parents. Much of her time was spent playing sports, going to church, going to seminary, being on the Stake Youth Council, and spending time with her friends. She served a mission in Guatemala. She knew from an early age that she was attracted to other girls. She felt guilty about this fact and tried to follow the counsel of the Brethren to get those feelings to go away.
Theresa grew-up in California with her 3 sisters, brother, and parents. Theresa was an avid soccer player and had many friends inside and outside of the church. She also spent countless hours at church, seminary, stake activities, reading scriptures, and learning the gospel. She served a mission in Spain.
Rachel and Theresa shared with friends and family the following blogpost as a way to tell the story of how they met, fell in love, built a life together, and got engaged.