Pell, 30, proposed on Sept. 3 on Block Island off the coast of Rhode Island. The couple first met in April 2011.
"It was a simple decision and it made sense; that's what's so exciting to me," Kwan, 32, told the magazine. "We are working together as a team, like in [pair skating]."
Adds Pell: "I was nervous about wanting to do it right, but I wasn't nervous about what the answer would be. We had been talking for a while about how we would like to have a family and the idea of getting married and what we wanted to do with our lives — and public service. So I think we both knew where we were relationship-wise and where we were going."
Kwan has not skated competitively since 2005, after winning nine national figure skating championships and five world championships. In June, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appointed her to serve on the Council to Empower Women and Girls Through Sports, and she continues to work as a U.S. public policy envoy in the State Department.
Also in public service, Pell is a JAG and Lieutenant in the U.S. Coast Guard. He is also the grandson of the late Rhode Island Sen. Clairborne Pell, who started Pell Grants for college.