Mosaic / February 13, 2019

Freshman flirtations to senior week sweethearts: Knox couples who made it

(Photo courtesy of Kevin Morris)

Started dating during senior week

Marnie Shure ’11 and Kevin Morris ’11

They would often pass each other in the publication office, but other than a few shared interests, Marnie Shure ‘11 and Kevin Morris ‘11 rarely interacted. They ran in separate social circles and while they both took lots of creative writing classes, they weren’t close.

“It happened very randomly. Both of us had to be in Chicago for a few weeks after graduation at least and we were aware of that during senior week,” said Morris. “We were like, ‘Oh this will be fun!’ but then I decided to extend my stay in Chicago for a few weeks.”

“We started dating and it wasn’t a question of ‘Are we going to stay together?’ because school is already ending. We are already making that commitment to stay together ‘after college,’” Shure said. “So it already started out in that serious vein. I enjoy that we didn’t date throughout the majority of our college experience, because I used that time to figure out who I was.”

After graduation Morris went to Boston and after a brief long-distance stint, Shure followed.

“I then got an internship in Chicago so I moved there and we did distance again. It really sucks if you’ve done distance, stop doing it and then start doing it again. But it was one of those things where we knew this was for the long haul,” Shure said.

“I moved to Boston where nobody knew what Knox was and [my wife] went to do publishing in Denver where nobody knew what Knox was so we had a shared kinship that we had a special place,” Morris said. “It helped just to have somebody with you. We missed this college so much but to be able to talk about it constantly helped that ”

In May of 2015 Morris and Shure got married in a theatre in Rogers Park, with Associate Professor of English Chad Simpson as officiant.

“Chad was someone we both had and we both adored his teaching style and general philosophy,” Morris said. “We both loved Chad’s book … and there was something about him and his writing and his midwest roots just resonated with us … he was so generous to agree.”

“When you come to Knox as a freshman, you hear all about those statistics about X amount of people who go to small colleges end up getting married to someone. I really thought I had skewed those statistics, but then right under the wire in the last few days I became one of them,” Shure laughed.

While they know their Knox love story is unusual in that they weren’t technically dating during college, they believe the lessons they have learned together would translate to students who are in relationships and unsure about whether to stay together after graduation.

“Nobody objectively thinks that starting a long-distance relationship right after you start dating them is a good idea, but if you just go into things with your eyes wide open É going into things like it’s a smorgasbord of opportunity,” Shure said.

(Photo courtesy of Jessica Omhert)

Met first day of school

Jessica Ohmert ’14 and Connor Schmidt ’14

When Jessica Ohmert ‘14 first saw Connor Schmidt ‘14, he was wearing a black and gold Legend of Zelda t-shirt. She was immediately smitten. It was the first day of orientation, so she had no plan to meet her future husband. Ohmert sparked a conversation about gaming consoles and they discovered all that they had in common.

Schmidt said he had no idea she was interested in him, he was completely oblivious. After Omhert’s relationship ended, the two quickly got together. Ohmert had told Schmidt’s roommate that she was interested and he helped the two connect. Ohmert shared the moment when she knew she loved Schmidt: he had climbed the concrete awning in her Post suite while goofing off and ended up falling about three feet.

“I had the thought, ‘Oh shit, I’m in love with that ass.’ But I had to pocket that thought … because it was terrifying. I ran down the stairs to see him hobbling, holding his hand,” Ohmert said. He ended up seriously hurting his finger and later needing stitches, but it didn’t matter because he had won Ohmert’s heart.

“We were definitely one of those couples who were obsessed with each other for a while,” said Schmidt. As much as they liked each other, they both acknowledged that they weren’t planning on a future together.

“[We had] the understanding that when we’re done with this, we’re done, no hard feelings,” Ohmert laughed. “But I never got sparked by anyone the way it was with him.”

The two were determined to stay together after graduation. Luckily, Schmidt was offered a job in Ohmert’s hometown of Seattle and she followed shortly after. The switch from school-life to real-life was immediate and took some getting used to.

“When we moved out [to Seattle] quickly after graduation, we really leaned on each other and doing things together. Surprisingly that puts a strain on things, you’d think it would be a good thing but when you put all of your emotional issues into somebody else and you’re taking on the emotional issues of someone else, it’s a lot harder,” Ohmert said.

“There’s a big difference between compromise and sacrifice,” Schmidt explained. Despite the difficulties of adjusting to the real world, the couple learned how to live together through trial and error.

On Jan. 1, 2018 at 12:01 a.m., the couple got engaged.

“It had been a running joke where after a while, it never made sense why I was popping the question,” Ohmert said. It was like, ‘Hey, hun, at the store could you grab some avocados, red onions and will you marry me?’ I asked, ‘Maybe now?’ No. ‘Maybe my birthday?’ Nope. New Years, though. He just kinda nodded and I started crying a little.”

The two credit their communication and trust in each other as to why they made it through their immediate post-grad life.

“Having openness, communication and trust, in particular at that moment of life as a student where you’re trying to figure out what you’re doing and if you’re going separate ways, I think that can set the stage for what comes after,” Schmidt said.

(Photo courtesy of Paige Lowe)

Married at graduation

Paige Lowe ’14 and Grant Lowe ’14

When Paige Anderson ‘14 and Grant Lowe ‘14 met at Pumphandle their freshman year, they had no idea that brief interaction would lead to anything spectacular. Anderson, now Paige Lowe, made the connection only after the two started dating that they had exchanged words at Pumphandle at all. They officially re-met in a fiction workshop with Associate Professor of English Chad Simpson. Both were in other relationships, so there was no instant spark.

The pair got to know each other in the workshop, bonding over their mutual love for X-Men and not liking another classmate in the workshop. A friendship blossomed after a few trips to the movies and a shared love for Dungeons and Dragons.

“I got along with him but I also got along with the friend group,” Paige said. Each of their respective relationships ended and the two began to hang out more, causing mutual friends to assume they liked each other.

They talked about the nature of their relationship and agreed that they just wanted to be friends, but both walked away from the conversation with regret, realizing that they truly wanted to be together. They came to find out that they had different religious values, her being Christian and him not being religious at all. Waiting to have sex until marriage was especially important to Paige, but not for Grant.

“So we danced around it for a long time. ‘I’m sure we’d be a good couple, but there’s this thing.’ It got to the point where I actually had to sit down and do some real introspection,” Grant explained. “I was like ‘Look, I really like this girl, but this is an issue.’ I had to evaluate how much I really liked her, and how much I wanted sex. I had to do a little bit of growing up and realized ‘If I don’t have sex for a few years, it’s not the end of the world.’”

The summer between their sophomore and junior years, both Lowes were stuck in boring, monotonous summer situations with only each other to talk to over messenger. It was becoming clear that they were bad at not dating.

They started dating first week of junior year and immediately knew that the relationship was headed toward marriage. The summer between junior and senior year, Grant proposed and the two began saving up for a wedding.

“So waiting to get married until after graduation is kind of silly, we’re both going to the same place … so we figured let’s get married when everyone is in town for graduation,” Grant explained. They saved money from their on-campus jobs and Paige even completed all her homework for a Spring Term class over spring break, in order to have more time to plan the wedding.

The couple got married in the Alumni Room of Old Main the day after graduation, with the reception at Cherry Street. The ceremony was officiated by Visiting Instructor in English and Theatre and Writer-in-Residence Sherwood Kiraly.

“We went from being college students to being 40 immediately … we were married and exhausted [from the] real world. [It] was great because we had an emotional support structure there in a city where we didn’t know anybody … being married was probably the least weird transition,” Paige said.

“It would have been much harder to go into a lot of the situations we have faced, alone,” Grant agreed.

Lillie Chamberlin
Lillie is a senior at Knox, majoring in creative writing and minoring in gender and women's studies. At The Knox Student, she has worked as the discourse editor, co-editor-in-chief, and is now a co-mosaic editor. She is also a co-nonfiction editor at Catch. Her work has been published in the Galesburg Register-Mail.

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