• Love Stories: Taking a Chance

    Love Stories: Taking a Chance

    How a chance meeting in a mall food court led to a life of adventure.


Unlike many love stories, ours began in Illinois, without plans and without expectation. We met in front of Sbarro at the Gurnee Mills Mall food court and talked a bit about ourselves – where we were from, where we’ve been, where we’d like to go. I wasn’t looking for a romantic relationship and we were both busy, so we made no promise to see each other again.

I was surprised when, a couple of months later, he called me and asked if we could meet up. I wasn’t sure about seeing him again because I didn’t want to lead him on. He said he could really use someone to talk to, and to be honest, so did I. We met up that evening and talked about seemingly everything.

The next day, Steven was honorably discharged from the Navy due to medical conditions and was planning to relocate to Colorado the following week. He wanted me to go with him. At the end of the week, on a cold, snowy Chicago night, I jumped in the car with a stranger and left home. This was the start of our adventure together.

From exploring the Rocky Mountains to climbing volcanoes in New Mexico, our relationship flourished with every passing day. Over time, I grew to see how Steven treats me the same way he treats his family— how genuine he is, how reliable he is. I came to realize he was the one.

Some time later, Steven proposed. At the time, we didn’t have the money to afford either a ring or a wedding. But, a few months later, he gave me a beautiful engagement ring. We celebrated our wedding Sept. 27, 2015.

I think what makes our relationship so unique is our level of communication. Steven and I share everything, and we always value each other’s opinion. Our relationship was built in unfavorable conditions, but we were determined to make it work – and we have grown so much together because of that. We now live in Houston, Texas, where our adventure continues.

Gabriela and Steven, Houston


Previous Article 5 Tips for Hiring a Wedding Band
Next Article Planning and Etiquette Spotlight: Sweet Southern Affairs