First, Ben Linnemeyer heard Rachel McQuown’s laugh. Then he saw her great smile and knew he wanted to meet her.
It was the fall of 1997, his freshman year at William Jewell College in Liberty. His fraternity and Rachel’s sorority were together for a campus singing event. But Rachel, also a freshman, was busy with friends and didn’t notice Ben.
It would be a year before their first real conversation. The next fall his fraternity had a formal, and Rachel attended with one of Ben’s friends. The friend got drunk, and Ben and Rachel ended up spending time together.
Rachel: “Ben was funny and easy to be around. I thought he was a good guy.”
Ben: “I was comfortable around Rachel, and I enjoyed talking to her.”
The unfolding: They began a friendship and hung out at campus events. Then suddenly, in the fall semester of 1999, Rachel didn’t see Ben around, and she was bummed out. As it turned out, Ben was avoiding her. Though he’d never asked her out, he wanted to date her and thought she’d rejected him.
“She always invited other guys to her sorority dances,” Ben says.
During the 2000 spring semester, Rachel’s sorority held a spontaneous roller skating party, and she invited Ben. They had a wonderful time.
Afterward a girlfriend asked, “Why don’t you date Ben?”
“Because he’s my friend,” Rachel replied.
But the question lingered. Rachel wondered whether Ben liked her. She thought she might be interested in him.
Within a week, Ben called and asked her out. On their first outing they made a list of things they wanted to do together in the future.
The proposal and wedding: By late 2000 they knew they were in love. On St. Patrick’s Day 2001, Ben proposed. They were wed in June 2001 in St. Joseph.
Favorite shared activities: They love traveling and going out to eat together. They also enjoy the good conversations they have.
Careers and family: They live in Lee’s Summit. Ben is an arborist with Ryan Lawn & Tree. Rachel, a psychologist, is staying home for a while with their baby.
What keeps their relationship strong: They speak openly when they’re struggling.
The qualities they most appreciate in each other:
Rachel: “Ben is hard-working, honest and funny. He helps me lighten up. We complement each other.”
Ben: “Rachel is loyal, super-protective, and she has unconditional love for me.”
Deborah Shouse is a freelance writer. Suggest a Love Story couple by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.