Skip to main content

Students share they have learned about love from their parents' love stories

Three photos of Kenedi Cooper's parents throughout their years of marriage.

From a concert to a birthday party to a jewelry store, BYU–Hawaii students reflected on tales of true love as they told the stories of how their parents met and married.

A concert

Kenedi Cooper, a junior from Utah majoring in cultural anthropology, shared how her father was a student athlete playing basketball for BYUH before he met Cooper’s mother.

He suffered an injury, so he decided to take time off and go back home to Orem, Utah. Upon his return, he was called to be the Elder’s Quorum President of his Young Single Adult ward.

Cooper said when her mother first saw him, he looked like a “typical surfer” with long hair and a tan. Cooper said her mother thought her father must really need this calling. Cooper’s mother, who was in the Relief Society, had her first interactions with Cooper’s father while they were planning a charity basketball game.

Cooper’s father quickly noticed her and began asking his friends about her. The consensus from his friends was Cooper’s mother was “stuck up,” and they advised him not to pursue her. He ignored their advice.

After their first date, which involved a day playing golf and dinner at Arby’s, their romance began. Several months later, Cooper’s father bought them tickets to see INXS, an Australian rock band.

Cooper’s father bought her mother an INXS shirt, which she wore to the concert.

Cooper said her mother loved the concert, in large part because of the loud nature of the event. Every time she wanted to talk to Cooper’s father, he would have to pull her close so she could hear, explained Cooper. Cooper described how her mother spent the night looking for excuses to talk to him so he would have to pull her close.

After the concert, Cooper’s parents walked around and looked at the stars. When her mother made a comment about the big dipper, her parents shared their first kiss. Cooper said her mother has always made jokes saying their first kiss was somewhat different from what she expected.

After a few more months of dating, Cooper’s father brought up the subject of marriage. Cooper said her mother did not want to talk about it because she was 19 and felt too young.

She said at the end of the conversation, her parents walked away with different ideas of what had just happened. Her mother walked away hoping if she ignored it and did not bring up marriage, it would go away. But her father walked away thinking she was ready and wanted to get married.

This led him to go to Cooper’s mother’s workplace with a ring catalog and ask her to pick a ring.

Cooper said her mother was not ready to commit, told him to go home, and told him she needed “way more time” to think about it.

Upon hearing this, Cooper’s father decided he would drop the subject. He decided if she did not bring the topic back up, he would not bring it up either and began making plans to return to Hawaii.

Cooper’s mother, who had just turned 20, began weighing the pros and cons of going on a mission.

After a couple weeks of uncertainty, Cooper said her mother decided she did not want to sacrifice her relationship with Cooper’s father. She told him she was ready to get married, but she said she did not want an engagement ring, only a wedding band.

He proposed to her at a waterfall. However, he had purchased an engagement ring because he felt she should have one. Cooper said her father wanted her mother to have the best things in life, so he sacrificed to get her a ring. The engagement ring has been a symbol of their love for each other, said Cooper.

When the recession hit in 2008, their family business suffered, and they struggled, she explained. To help pay their employees’ salaries, Cooper’s mother sold her engagement ring.

“My parents have been through so many hardships throughout their marriage … But when you go through the hard times, you learn how to put the other person first, and that’s what marriage is about,” said Cooper.

A birthday party

Emily Barr, a senior from Minnesota majoring in biology education, said her parents’ love story was not too exciting. She said her parents met in a small town in Texas called Borger.

Barr’s parents met at her father’s 26th birthday party. Barr said her mother saw her father and decided right away she was going to flirt with him.

Despite giving it her best effort, Barr said her father did not notice her mother in the same way. However, she had to leave the party early, and he offered to take her home.

When they arrived at her house, they both went in and sat down on the couch. After a bit, they exchanged phone numbers and went on their ways.

Barr said she was surprised to hear of how forward her mother was “because she’s a pretty reserved person. So it was weird for me to hear how [direct she was].”

Shortly after, Barr said, her father asked her mother out to the movies, and they began their summer romance. But when fall came, Barr’s mother returned to school at Texas Tech, and her father stayed in Borger.

They had a long-distance relationship and visited each other on the weekends for the summer.

Shortly after she left for college, Barr’s father accepted a job in Minnesota and moved north.

She said her parents continued their long-distance relationship, even though it was even further and visiting became difficult.

During one of their phone calls, Barr said her father asked her mother if she would ever move to Minnesota. Her mother responded by telling him she would not move without a ring on her finger.

On her next visit to Minnesota, Barr’s mother was picked up by Barr’s father and they went out to a park and he asked her to marry him. She said yes. Barr said her father was relieved, because if she had said no, he would have just driven her back to the airport and sent her back to Texas.

A jewelry store

Nadia Pinto, a sophomore from Brazil majoring in TESOL, said her parents’ love story involved faith, hard work, and trust in God. Pinto said her father and his sister worked at a jewelry store in Brazil. Her mother would often visit the store because she was best friends with Pinto’s aunt, her father’s sister.

Whenever she talked with her aunt, Pinto’s mother would tell her, “Your brother is so ugly.” Pinto said her father was a Beatles fan, and, as such, his style included bowl cuts and bell-bottom jeans.

As the years went on, Pinto’s parents each went on their missions. Her father left first and served in Portugal while her mother served in Brazil. After returning home, Pinto’s father went to visit Pinto’s mother’s home ward.

Her mother was still on her mission. However, in Sacrament Meeting, they read a letter from her to the congregation. In it she told a story of how she needed medical treatment because of the effects of the cold weather in her mission. She paid for the treatment herself because she did not want to stop working.

When Pinto’s father heard this, he knew he wanted to date her. When she returned home, he asked her on a date, and she accepted. However, on the night of their date, Pinto’s mother forgot about it and went to a dance at the Stake Center instead.

Pinto’s father had a feeling to call the Stake Center and ask if his date was there. He called and asked for her, and she was put on the phone. He asked what had happened. She said she had forgotten about their date.

Her father invited her to his house to look at mission photos. She accepted and went to his house. After looking at photos for three hours, they both stood up, and told his parents they were now a couple. Five months later, they were married.

When they were married, she said her parents were poor. They lived in a small brick house with no windowpanes. Pinto’s father had to put wood over the windows to cover them.

Pinto said although they were poor, they loved each other and worked hard to make things work.

Pinto’s parents are now serving as mission president and companion in the Angola. She said her parents worked hard and put God first throughout their lives. Putting the gospel first has blessed them every step of the way, she said. Pinto, who will be getting married in February, said she will use her parents’ example of a strong couple as a base for her marriage.