The Brenneman’s love story started four years ago. Now they live together in Moscow as a family, with an 11-week-old puppy named Sarge.
Brianna Brenneman said she met her husband just a few years ago when she set up a “Hot or Not” account online at 17 years old. It began as a joke with friends. After she saw Daniel Brenneman’s account, it became more.
“I came across him, and his bio was cute. His was really sweet,” Brianna said. “… I just wanted someone to talk to. I just really liked him, he was really sweet and country … and he’s cute — that helps.”
Daniel Brenneman, then 19 years old and enlisted in the Marine Corps, said he was attracted to Brianna from her account photo. Soon, the intitial attraction grew into much more.
“She was an actual person. She wasn’t trying to change anything about herself. She was just easy to talk to and everything,” Daniel said.
Daniel first took Brianna on a date in September 2014. He said it was fairly easy for them to meet up because they both lived in the Seattle area, within an hour drive of each other.
Daniel’s favorite moment on their first date was when they carved their initials into a heart on the table near the lake.
He said he was glad she showed up to their date in the first place.
“I thought she was a little naive meeting a random guy in the forest to go hiking for the first time,” Daniel said.
Brianna had a different reaction to Daniel. She said she was overwhlemed with a multitude of thoughts and emotions.
“Oh my gosh that’s him. That’s the first time I actually seen who he was. I was in shock — like this is who he is, I get to see him, I get to hug him …,” Brianna said.
After some dates, the couple took on a challenge — being in a long distance relationship while Daniel was in the Marine Corps.
“I did two weeks in the wire at the base. I could only call her at odd hours — at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. in the morning. So at the base we couldn’t see each other, and at best we’d talk once a day or every other day,” Daniel said. “When I was outside the wire, we’d only see each other for two weekends and I’d go away for two months.”
Managing their relationship was difficult, Brianna said, because she could not answer his phone calls at odd hours while taking night classes for college.
“A few times I missed it (his phone call) and that was the worst feeling because I knew I could not talk to him for a long time. That was hard,” Brianna said.
Even though the long distance proved difficult, they both said they trusted each other and knew their relationship would last.
“Of course we’d both have our doubts here and there. When you get sad or lonely, you get your insecurities,” Brianna said. “But we both trusted each other so much we never really worried about it.”
Two years later, the couple got engaged. While on his way back from training in the Marine Corps, Daniel said he proposed to her in the airport.
“I called her parents and said, ‘Bring her here, buy me flowers and I’ll figure the rest out. I’m going to ask her.’ She had no idea,” Daniel said.
After being medically discharged because of a car accident two years later, Daniel said he and Brianna began living together for the first time as a married couple in Moscow. Daniel works at Moscow Building Supply while Brianna works at the Vandal Store as she finishes studying elementary education at the University of Idaho.
“No matter what — it’ll be me, him, this one (Sarge) and hopefully kids,” Brianna said.
Lindsay Trombly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @lindsay_trombly