Mark Flores, 20, was the only guy on the committee, and at first Abby Roen, 19, didn’t much like him.
That spring of 2000 at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., Abby was focused on planning the annual president’s ball. Mark was focused on telling jokes and having fun.
Though their work styles were different, she gradually grew to enjoy his personality.
That summer, when she went to work at a remote camp, Mark wrote her letters. By the time school resumed, she considered him a friend.
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Mark: “Abby was gorgeous. She was easy to talk to, easy to get along with and smart. I knew right away I wanted to date her.”
Abby: “Mark was a charmer. He was sweet, generous and I admired him.”
The unfolding: During the fall semester, they began hanging out, along with other friends. Soon they were seeing each other every day, doing homework and eating meals together. Suddenly Abby realized Mark was important to her.
By November they were falling in love but hadn’t expressed their feelings. In December, they went out on a date and each admitted, “I like you.” From then on, they were inseparable.
The proposal and wedding: As they grew closer, they discussed marriage. On July 1, 2002, a limo pulled up to Abby’s apartment. She was taken to the Como Park Conservatory in St. Paul, the place she’d dreamed of for her wedding. Mark was waiting there and ushered her into the garden, where he got down on one knee and proposed.
On Aug. 1, 2003, they were married in that same spot.
Favorite shared activities: They enjoy travel, eating out and spending time with family and friends.
Careers and family: In 2006 they moved to Kansas City for Mark’s work and Abby’s graduate school. These days they have a young daughter. Abby owns Itsy Bitsy Bums, a cloth diaper shop in Brookside. Mark is a retirement consultant at JP Morgan.
What keeps their relationship strong: Their goals are closely aligned. Life’s challenges have also drawn them closer: Abby has Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that can leave her exhausted and bed-bound. “The illness forces me to rely on others,” she says. “Mark is always so supportive.”
The qualities they most appreciate in each other:
Abby: “Mark takes care of us and helps anyone who needs assistance. He is generous, kind and hard-working.”
Mark: “Abby is determined and she gives a lot of herself to work. She’s a loving mother and a wonderful wife.”
Deborah Shouse is a freelance writer. Suggest a Love Story couple by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.