Some say love is blind, and we guess that’s true because that’s how we began. But it definitely was not love at first sight. John graduated in electrical engineering and only went back to school to find his wife. It worked! Jennifer’s brother-in-law, Stan, was in John’s MBA class and set us up on a blind date.
Our first date was on January 12, 1991; we went to see the play April Anne (This is the name of our 4th daughter). John didn’t say much that night; he just laughed and chuckled. Jennifer thought it was very odd to have someone laugh so much. She had never experienced such a thing. On the other hand, John thought Jennifer did not have the backbone to speak her mind. Boy, was he wrong on that one. He can’t imagine where he got that idea.
Now, John had this little, red, beater truck; and this was for a very specific purpose. He wanted a girl that liked him more than his fancy truck. He was getting a little worried though because he wasn’t getting any girls. Jennifer didn’t really care too much about what kind of truck John drove. She wasn’t even overly concerned that he wore the same outfit every date. He later explained that it was his best outfit, and he wanted to look nice for her.
To give you an idea about how great this little red truck was, we’ll tell you about our first three dates. It was about midnight and we were on our way home from Stan and Belinda’s house. Jennifer thought the street looked a little dark and wondered if the headlights were on. John assured her several times that they were. He even flipped the switch showing her that he had turned them on. Finally when we got to a place where the streetlights were not so bright, he agreed to get out of the truck and check the lights. To his astonishment they were not working. So we drove from North Orem to the middle of Provo with no headlights.
For our second date, John borrowed his roommate’s car because he was in the process of re-wiring his reliable little truck.
On our third date, we went to a basketball game at BYU. We think it was the first and last game we ever went to. John thought most girls would like a date like this, even though he didn’t really care to go.
Provo was packed with people coming to the game, and we were on our way up the hill. We were stopped at the light on the Southwest corner of the Marriott Center. Just then, the truck died. John knew just what to do to fix the problem. He had an extra battery in the back of the truck. A traffic cop stopped by to see what the problem was. John handed the battery to him and told him to hold it. He did! John jumped the truck with his portable battery, told the policeman to put the battery in the back of the truck, and away we went to our first game.
When the game was over, we sat and talked until the parking lot was clear because we didn’t want the truck to stall again. The truck kept running as long as we didn’t stop. This opportunity to talk was of great benefit to John. He had worried that if he found a girl to marry, he wouldn’t know what to talk to her about for the rest of their lives. Jennifer was the first and only girl John felt comfortable talking to.
So our courtship began much like an engineer would do it. One weekend John would go home to work on his 4-wheel drive V W bug that he was building. The next Thursday he would call Jennifer and set up a weekend date. That continued like clockwork for the next three months. John was concerned because he didn’t know how to get things moving along. Jennifer thought John was a nice guy but had no intention of pursuing a relationship with him. John didn’t know what else to do, so he started praying for God’s help.
About this same time, Jennifer took a long walk in the foothills of Provo. Thoughts of John started coming to her mind. She imagined what kind of dad he would be. She wasn’t attracted to John as a boyfriend but thought he would make an awesome father. John wasn’t like most of the boys she had dated. There were no fancy, flashing rapids, just deep water that ran still. Her heart started to open. Jennifer fell in love with John’s character before she felt that romantic twitterpation.
Once the process began, things moved right along. God was helping us because neither one of us knew what we were doing. It was towards the end of March and we were sitting in the movie theater watching one of the Rocky movies. Jennifer made her hand available. John reached over and held a girl’s hand for the first time in his life.
A couple weeks later John was helping Jennifer watch Katie and Ryan while Loa worked. John was sitting close to Jennifer on the couch, and Ryan kept saying, “Just do it.” Jennifer ignored the comment. Later that afternoon while taking Katie for a stroller ride, John brought up Ryan’s comments. He said, “So, what do you think about what Ryan said?” Jennifer replied, “The next boy I kiss is going to be my husband, I don’t think I’m ready to make that kind of commitment right now.”
Later that evening, Jennifer said, “I think I’m ready to kiss you.” We sat in the truck for about 45 minutes trying to figure out how we were going to approach this awkward moment. John said, “I’ve never kissed a girl. You’re going to have to teach me how to do it.” Now it was Jennifer who was baffled. You don’t discuss kissing; you just do it. John said, “So, do you lean forward and tilt your head a little bit?” Jennifer just laughed not knowing what to do with this one-of-a-kind-of-a-man. After a long discussion we finally kissed. John said, “That was fun, can we do it again?” “My pleasure.”
Our children love to see us kiss. Jonathan said, “I know you’re not going to get a divorce because you kiss so much.” It gives children a great sense of security to know that their parents love each other.
We’re not much for fanfare, and that’s reflected in our engagement. This is how John proposed: We were sitting on Howard and Eleni’s living room couch. Blake, Michelle, and Andrew kept coming in wondering why John was talking to Jennifer for so long. They wanted him to spend time with them. Howard had to get after his three little children and tell them to stay out while John and Jennifer talked. After talking for some time John said, “So, I guess we ought to do it.” Jennifer gave him a puzzled look, “Are you asking me to marry you?” John nodded his head.
The next day we went looking for rings. For a boy that doesn’t spend much money on his truck, John treated Jennifer like a 10 cow wife. As we walked into Wilson Diamonds, he turned to Jennifer and said, “You can have any ring you want.” She chose a beautiful ring that she absolutely loves. Jennifer didn’t even know if John had enough money for the ring and was surprised to see him pay for it in cash.
It was time to ask Jennifer’s dad for her hand in marriage. Mom and Dad Wilding were living in Guam at the time. We weren’t thinking about a 17-hour time zone difference when we called them. It was about three or four in the morning in Guam when John talked to his sleepy, future father-in-law. We caught Dad off guard, and he said yes. Dad met John for the first time on our wedding day.
One day while Jennifer was walking home from school, she looked down at her new ring. Her heart panicked. “I don’t even know the boy I’m planning to marry.” She had only dated him for four months before the engagement, and it was another four months before the big day would arrive. Then a sweet peaceful feeling came over her, and the Lord said, “If you don’t marry the boy, you’ll be making the dumbest mistake of your life.” That simple assurance has carried her through the ups and downs of married life.
John felt comfortable about Jennifer very early in their relationship. Pursuing her felt like the right thing to do. It was, and he’s been holding her close to his heart ever since. He’s never looked back or given his decision a second thought.
Rule #1 – Don’t say anything negative about each other to anyone else, no matter how mad we are. Our reasoning is: We’ll forgive, forget, and move on with life. Others will remember the bad stuff. No one else can solve our problems, so why get them involved. When we need a listening ear, we go to God.
Rule #2 – When making decisions we both need to agree before moving forward. If it’s not a yes-yes, the answer is no. Either one of us always has the veto power. This rule has saved our skin countless times. We sink or sail together
The children have learned not to attempt to play mom and dad against each other. If one parent gives them an answer, and they go to the other parent to get a different answer, it doesn’t turn out in their favor. Most of them have figured out which parent will give the most favorable response to their request. If they’ve guessed it right, they’ll go to that parent first.
This rule is also used on the blog. We don’t individually claim any article. This is done on purpose. We both read and approve of each other’s writings before posting anything. Corrections and additions are made together. We find it humorous that Jennifer gets a lot of credit for John’s words, especially the controversial stuff. Since John doesn’t talk a lot, most don’t think he has anything to say. He’s just a happy guy willing to listen. Our personalities are very different, but we’re united when it comes to what we believe and value.
About 4 ½ years ago we had the desire to come to God and strengthen our marriage. We adopted a simple course of action. We decided to put each other’s needs and desires above our own. We immediately noticed that bickering and contention ceased. We enjoy the challenge of finding ways to make each other’s life more enjoyable and pleasant. We don’t ever want to go back to the way we used to be.
For some time we’ve had the goal of praying together more often. We thought praying together three times a day would really help. Even though we haven’t had a perfect record, we are experiencing greater unity in our marriage. The Lord has been teaching us how to improve our prayers. We look forward to these times when we get to talk and pray together.
Most of the time we just want to be home. Once in a while when we go out, we like to watch other couples. Some just seem to co-exist. Others get along pretty well. It’s commendable to see an older couple who has been around the block and lived a lifetime together. It’s really inspiring to see them hold hands and still be in love. We smile and say, “Let’s stay in love so we can be like that when we grow up.”
Amanda Cronquist shared a link to this video on Facebook. At the age of 90 and married 62 years, these two did something at the clinic that day that put a smile on everyone's face. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!