Meghan and Sean
How We Met
Meghan and I first met when we were sophomores in high school at a mutual friends’ pool party. Sean and I hit it off right away, as we have similar personalities, and pretty soon he was asking for my number (just as friends, he claimed!). I could remember thinking to myself, “hey man, this girl is freaking cool I really like her!” Unfortunately, we were seeing other people and soon lost touch. About 4 years later, I had posted something on Facebook about running in my first Tough Mudder race. Meghan saw it and decided to text me because her brother had just done one. We ended up going to Starbucks, he paid for my drink (classy I know), and we ended up talking for four hours! When I got home, my parents were so surprised we were gone for that long and I told them we were just two friends catching up…
Unfortunately, she was leaving on a service trip the next day for 2 weeks and wouldn’t be able to talk at all. I was sitting downstairs in my basement with one of my best friends Kenny telling him all about this girl Meghan that I had recently gotten back in touch with. I told him how much fun I had with her and I wished I could see her again before she left…his response was perfect, “Okay…then go over and see her.” I was finishing up last minute packing for my trip to Belize and I come back downstairs and see Sean sitting on the couch talking to my parents. I remember asking him what he was doing here and he said he just really wanted to see me before I left. My parents made a comment later that night that he liked me and I brushed it aside, thinking we were still just two friends reuniting…
From that moment on, after she got back from her service trip, I found every excuse I could to see her: coming over to help her family paint their shutters, riding my bike to her house – I loved being around her (and still do to this day.) Pretty soon we couldn’t see enough of each other. One of my favorite memories from that first summer (and also when I realized how much I liked him) was when he came over when it was torrentially downpouring and I made a comment about how much I loved to play in the rain. He just goes, “okay, so let’s do it.” We spent the next hour or so kicking around a soccer ball in huge puddles in the street. Sean was (and still is) never afraid to try something new.
Throughout the summer we kept hanging out, talking, and getting to know each other more intimately, until I knew that I wanted to date Meghan. On July 14th, 2012 we had plans to go to Bengies Drive-In Theater with our friends and I thought this was the perfect time to ask Meghan to date me! So that afternoon before we left I asked her parents permission to date her! I got the okay (thank God) and we proceeded to have a great afternoon of street hockey and then we went off to Bengies! I knew he had asked my parents earlier that day and was waiting all day for him to ask me. There were multiple times in which I could’ve asked Meghan to date me but I was pretty nervous and wanted to wait for the right moment! I wanted it to be special. I almost wanted to ask myself because he was taking so long. Well, the whole night had basically passed and we found ourselves on her front porch at 2 am on July 15, 2012….and that’s when I finally asked her to date me.
How He Asked
Since we first started dating in 2012, we have had many adventures, times of joy and pure happiness, and our share of challenges and difficulties. Our relationship has persevered through different states, undergrads, Masters programs, even different countries at times. Through it all, we knew that God brought us together again for a reason and that He was calling us our greatest adventure yet – marriage.
Meghan and I have gone on this outdoor adventure retreat called On Belay in Seneca Rocks, WV several times. On Belay is a camping, caving, and rock climbing retreat focused on identifying the “belayers” in your life and how to recognize God as your ultimate belayer, while conquering fears (like my fear of heights!), growing in your faith, and enjoying the beauty of Seneca. We both have developed a love and a real joy for that place and I thought that there, on top of the rocks we have climbed together, would be the perfect place for our proposal!
Meghan’s parents are part of a prayer group called the Dinner Club, who meet every month for over 25 years. Meghan has grown up with these people her whole life and I thought it was only appropriate to ask not only her parents but all these people who had become family figures in her life permission to marry her. I had her siblings, Matt & Lauren, join us so I could ask the “village” for their blessing. Everyone had agreed and I made all the arrangements for our proposal to take place….only about 9 months in advance since the retreat wasn’t until the summer! (I am still wicked impressed that they all kept the secret that long!)
So it’s the summer of 2016. We have graduated from our Master’s programs and both live in Maryland again. I am anxiously waiting for Sean to pop the question because it seems like EVERYONE is getting engaged. And yet, Sean kept reassuring me that our time would eventually come. And so, trying to trust Sean, I tried to put any thoughts of an engagement out of my brain, as we found ourselves preparing for my 4th and Sean’s 3rd On Belay.
Bob & Maggie McCarty – two members of the Dinner Club who have also become close friends and mentors to Meghan and I and who also happen to run On Belay – had helped me scheme and plan for the proposal. After months of waiting, I couldn’t believe the time had finally come to put the plan into action. There were a few signs that should’ve clued me into the proposal – before we left I had this crazy virus that left me bedridden for a week and considering staying home, and yet everyone kept telling me I HAD to go to On Belay, not to mention Lauren practically begging me to get my nails done before our trip even though I was pretty sure that rock climbing and caving would ruin any hopes of a manicure.
On the second day of climbing – summit day – our entire retreat group ascended the mountain. Everyone on the trip but me knew what was so special about this climb. We started the day normally with the first three pitches of the summit climb before stopping for lunch. We then hiked to the spot where we would begin our fourth and final pitch to reach the summit. Sean went up first to set up the Go-Pro so we could get shots of everyone climbing up (or so I thought) while I waited with the rest of the group. I wanted to climb together on the last pitch so I was a little salty when he had said he wanted to go up first. I found a safe spot on an 8ft long 3-foot wide slab of rock 1500+ feet high to get down on one knee to wait for her to climb up. I was super nervous the entire time, running over what I wanted to say to her when the time came!
Then it was my turn and once I climbed up, our leaders told me to tie in at the safety line and sit next to Sean. I told her to turn around and face out for a picture. I was of course distracted by the beautiful view and too busy waving at the Visitor’s Center and oblivious to everything else to notice what was happening. As she turned back around, I had the ring in hand and asked her to marry me! It was so incredible – the view, the ring, the man! It was all so perfect.
We still needed to repel 200+ feet down the mountain to get back to the trail to walk back to our cars so we hid the ring away back in the backpack for safe keeping. Then, as we walked over a bridge near the parking lot, I was surprised by my parents, my sister, Sean’s parents waiting for us! I couldn’t believe they had driven all the way to the woods of West Virginia to celebrate with us! (they even had ice cold beer & Gatorade waiting for us).
Then we all went back to the campsite for dinner to celebrate! The other members of the retreat gave a toast and shared a special prayer for us too! The best part about it was that not only were we finally engaged but Meghan’s face was glowing and she was so happy!
Through it all, I can say that I get to marry the perfect woman for me and I’m super excited to share in our lives together! We are beyond thrilled to reach this stage of our relationship and cannot for this next adventure of marriage!