Rebekah Pepper and Aaron Harris, both senior interdisciplinary majors, met during freshman orientation.
“Both of us felt the Lord leading us to one another,” said Harris. “In the sense that He’s elevating the other person in our minds.”
When considering proposal strategies, Harris rallied help from his and Pepper’s families.
While visiting her grandparents in Georgia, Pepper was sent on a shopping trip, and Harris snuck into town to set up a proposal scene in the backyard.
“I lined the walkway with flowers,” said Harris. “But not cut flowers, I put flowers in mason jars so we could plant them afterward.”
When Pepper returned, her brothers blindfolded her and led her to a surprise in the backyard. When her blindfold was removed, Pepper saw Harris standing in the yard, and then he proposed.
When she returned to NGU, Pepper planted the flowers Harris had bought.
“Before the cold came in, I collected all the seeds,” said Pepper. “So hopefully, wherever we live, we’ll be able to plant those seeds.”
After getting to know each other while hanging out with friends, Joseph said she realized she liked him and wanted him to know.
“I came up to him at his dorm,” said Joseph. “I told him I’d like to see if we could go out. He was shocked because I asked him first, but he liked it.”
The two began dating, and in 1999, Joseph visited her then-boyfriend in Ohio. Joseph said her boyfriend wanted to show her his church, but on the way, the car broke down.
“I could tell by his facial expression something was going on,” Joseph said. “And I saw he was disappointed by his car.”
Returning to his mother’s apartment, her boyfriend put on a television show, and Joseph went to the bathroom. When she exited, she saw her future husband standing down the hallway.
“He was smiling,” said Joseph. “And he got down on his knees. Of course, I accepted.”
Later, Joseph said her husband explained his earlier disappointment.
“He confessed that the reason he was disappointed was because he wanted to propose to me in front of the church,” said Joseph. “He was not disappointed by the car. He didn’t care about the car!”
And as for the ring, the pair took a nontraditional route.
“He didn’t have money for an engagement ring yet,” said Joseph. “He knows I like ’70s hippies so he gave me a friendship ring from the ’70s.”
Brianna Gibson, a junior early childhood education major, and Jacob Bradford, a junior music education major, met in their high school orchestra and began dating. The high school sweethearts joined the NGU family, and after five years of dating, the pair began to discuss an engagement.
“So I had a lot of plans,” said Bradford. “And they all got ruined by a hobo.”
On Christmas Eve, Bradford drove Gibson to where their prom photos had been taken, but as they walked toward the pavilion, Bradford noticed a homeless man sleeping, which threw a wrench in his proposal plan.
Improvising, Bradford said he looked across the street and saw the solution.
“I look over, and there’s this Christmas tree down this nice pathway,” said Bradford. “So I asked her to marry me at the Christmas tree.”
Though the proposal surprised her, Gibson said she picked up on some clues like her family ensuring she was dressed nicely and Bradford making nervous comments.
“It was cute because everybody was trying to get me ready for this,” Gibson said. “So it was funny how everybody was behind it.”
Gary Southern, director of the Media Center, met his wife Jenger in high school after spotting her in the yearbook.
“I picked her out of the school annual,” said Southern. “And said ‘I want to date that girl.’ I sent one of my best friends to ask her if she was dating anyone, and she sent a word back for me to call her.”
After three years of dating, Southern proposed to his girlfriend at her parents’ home just down the road in Travelers Rest.
Married for 42 years, Southern offers advice to NGU students considering marriage.
“I was fortunate that she was the God-chosen one for me,” said Southern. “But I think you have to be very careful to make sure the person you’re going to marry is the same faith as you are. Don’t rush it.”