No one ought to be very surprised when technologically savvy and mathematically inclined individuals meet and find they have much in common. While the engineering backgrounds of Brandon and Chris differ, their similar focus on abstract structures and refined details create a thread linking them together intellectually.
Chris and Brandon first met through a mutual friend at a Citadel tailgate party in November 2007. They exchanged AOL IM screen names and began moving along their separate paths. As it turns out, these paths intersected about one year later. Chris, already an enterprise architect living in Atlanta, became Brandon’s tour guide when he decided to take advantage of Atlanta’s job opportunities.
Over the ensuing three months, Chris’ affection towards Brandon deepened. But when Chris expressed interest in dating, Brandon hesitated. He feared losing his only friend in Atlanta if the relationship proved sour. His fears faded, however, after another few months. When the pair visited Charleston for the wedding of Brandon’s younger brother, their bond matured into a friendship of a more romantic nature.
As Brandon and Chris began merging their lives, so did the company employing Chris. Yet while the economy frayed, their loving friendship matured. Brandon wisely secured a safe, cozy job with the federal government in Washington D.C., and they bought a house in Capitol Hill. As they settled into the joys and trials of an even more urban environment, each strengthened with the companionship of the other. Their love grew. They met Carol, Cheryl, Bill, Ursula, and Alban – who are here now. They hosted dinner parties and entertained as a family. Their inclination to be “foodies” became undeniable.
And so it was essentially inevitable that they would become engaged. Brandon’s heart fluttered so quickly when he proposed in their home before going to their favorite restaurant – CityZen – in May 2010 – that he barely remembers the moment.
The frustrations of life interfered with planning a wedding immediately. Unhappy in his job, Chris sought another in Connecticut. After a long discussion, Brandon and Chris decided to become transplants again and move further North. Chris accepted an amazing position as the Senior Director of Network Infrastructure at ESPN. And Branon took a position with a local civil engineering firm.
Throughout all their moves, a few arguments, and worldly obstacles, Brandon and Chris remained the best of friends. Although their relationship has its infuriating moments, their life together largely feels effortless. Both understand the need to prioritize their bond, not to take crazy people and situations too seriously, and to let go of that which dampens their high spirits.
As Brandon put it, “things just work.” They balance each other beautifully – Chris is a little reserved and private and Brandon more outgoing and open. Brandon is a bit more restless, whereas Chris is more patient. And…. Chris is a profoundly great cook, and Brandon loves to eat.
They also wrote personal vows:
Brandon: “Chris, I am so thrilled to be able to make this great commitment to you. You are caring, loving, generous, and thoughtful. You’re the smartest person I’ve met and I’ve learned and continue to learn so much from you. Never would I have thought that I could find someone who I could spend every minute with and never tire of. Even close childhood friends would get on my nerves eventually. Our relationship has just been effortless. You make sacrifices for me just because you enjoy being with me. Whether it’s me making outrageous comments or dragging you to a rock show that you may not care for, you take it all in stride. You’ve made me a better person just watching how you carry yourself. You put others before yourself and it’s very humbling. I am yours and promise to be by your side as long as I live and contribute in this lifelong partnership that we are undertaking. I will do whatever it takes to ensure that the next 50 plus years are as fun as the first 4 years have been. I love you.”
Chris: “Brandon, I love you. You are my best friend. Today I give myself to you in marriage. I promise to always be at your side like you have been at mine, through happiness and joy, and challenge and sorrow. I promise to encourage and inspire you, to laugh with you, and to comfort you in times of sadness and struggle. I promise to respect your unique abilities and talents, and to lend you strength for all your dreams. I promise to love you in good times and in bad, when life seems easy and when it seems hard, when our love is simple, and when it is an effort. I promise to be a patient, always honest and compassionate. I promise to live a life that will honor the vows we have spoken and make you glad to have married me this day.”