They say to keep your friends close but your enemies closer—advice that Matthew R. Gibbons ’12 and Renee Roberts have taken to heart.
The couple first crossed paths when they competed against each other for the position of Associated Student Body president in their senior year at the Orange Lutheran High School in Orange County, Calif. Roberts was the victor in a close race that came down to “something like three votes,” according to Gibbons, who came in second. Both cite their close collaboration as ASB president and vice president as the first step in their relationship.
“I think what kind of attracted me the most to him was he was totally—and still is—his own person,” Roberts said. “Especially in high school, I think that stands out a lot because everyone is trying to fit in.”
Some residual rivalry may have persisted in their relationship at the beginning: Roberts laughingly joked about how Gibbons accidentally elbowed her in the nose during one of their earlier dates. But there was nothing but love between the two when Gibbons got on one knee last December to propose to Roberts at Sunset Beach—where the couple shared their first kiss during high school.
“I’m not the best with surprises ... everyday he was home [that winter break] I was like ‘Okay, it’s happening today,’” confessed Roberts. “But it was just perfect.”
Their engagement came after nearly four years of dating long-distance while Gibbons attended Harvard and Roberts attended California State Polytechnic University in Pomona.
“Our faith is definitely a big thing that ties us together. [And] communication—making sure that youre still staying a part of each other’s daily lives—is a big factor,” Gibbons said.
“It was hard, but it was also a blessing for us too in a lot of ways,” said Roberts of their long-distance relationship. “Since we were at different universities, we were able to grow and learn things on our own. Sometimes when you’re a couple ... your identity is your relationship, but we got to try new things and do things that we love as young people in college.”
The couple plans to marry on June 23, 2012 in the backyard of Gibbons’ parents’ home in Yorba Linda before moving to Los Angeles together.