Kyle Engdahl asked Gloria Pavuk to marry him. Almost three years later, the wedding went off without a hitch. Oct. 4, 2015, the couple exchanged the vows that say forever in the presence of family and friends at the Fellowship Baptist Church in Racine, Wis.

Pair with intellectual disability weds

by JACQUIE PETERSON

Close to a year of dating, Kyle Engdahl asked Gloria Pavuk to marry him. Almost three years later, the wedding went off without a hitch.

Oct. 4, 2015, the couple exchanged the vows that say forever in the presence of family and friends at the Fellowship Baptist Church in Racine, Wis.

Their love story began with a strong friendship, but Kyle would tell you that for him it was “love at first sight.” It took a little time for Gloria to warm up to Kyle.

“He was always trying to be funny and be class clown,” Gloria said. “It didn’t impress me.”

The pair met while attending school at Shepherds College in 2009 where they became fast friends.

Shepherds is a college for young adults with an intellectual disability looking to transition from school, to work and on into independence.

Their friendship grew and became stronger even after Gloria graduated in 2011, with Kyle following a year later.

Shortly after Kyle graduated, the duo started dating. A text message led into a long phone conversation where Gloria accepted the first date.

Gloria thought, “I’ll give this a chance.”

“After that, we hit it off,” Kyle said.

Kyle proposed as the couple sat on the front porch of Gloria’s home after bringing her to a nice dinner.

“I just thought she was the one for me,” he said.

He got down on his knee. Gloria didn’t say anything at first, but then “I broke out into happy tears,” she said.

The couple excitedly told all of their family that night, except Gloria’s dad who lives in New Jersey. Kyle had called him the week before to ask for Gloria’s hand in marriage. And of course he gave his blessing.

Planning for the future

Getting engaged and organizing the wedding are just the first steps in planning a life with the one you love, but most important are the details that offer balance and insight to the future.

Kyle and Gloria were smart in planning for their future as a married couple.

They knew there were some tough questions to ask ahead of time, especially when it comes to their intellectual disabilities.

While people with disabilities may have challenges, Donna Kelly, service administrator, at AWARE Inc. in Anaconda, Mont., says that some couples decide to just live together. However, she does know several who dove right into marriage and now live in successful relationships.

“They have to ask all the same questions as any couple who gets married,” Donna said.

No doubt, each couple is unique and has different issues to solve. The first step is identifying them.

Below are some issues Kyle and Gloria considered before marrying:

  • Where will we live?
  • How will we spend or save money?
  • How will we get around?
  • How will our families and caregivers be involved in our life?
  • Will we have children?

Kyle and Gloria’s story is a two-part series.

Click here to read it now.

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