“How We Met” Story #11 — Gary & Valerie

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Gary and Valerie

Married 18 Years

She’s #1 out of 139

Gary was doing his best to get married by dating a lot. In fact, being the nerd that he is, Gary kept track of all the girls he took out. He dated 139 different girls during his dating years from high school until he got married.

Right after serving a mission for his church, Gary took out Valerie’s sister. (She was number 21 out of the 139.) Two years later, she and her fiancée set up Gary and Valerie on a blind date. (Valerie became number 65.) Nothing happened. (Valerie tried to give him a hint, but, being the clueless nerd that he was…)

Valerie and Gary graduated from BYU and went their separate ways. Gary did his best to date as much as he could, which included attending LDS singles conferences. More than seven years after their blind date, Gary and Valerie attended the same singles conference with over 5000 attendees.

On the first night, Thursday, Gary was sitting near Valerie, saw her badge and remembered she was on his list of 139 girls. He said, “Are you sister to so-n-so?” “Yes.” “I’m Gary. We went on a blind date. Do you remember me?” “No.”

On Friday, Gary walked up to the dinner line, saw Valerie on the side and waved to her. He got his food and sat down. Valerie, having had time now to dig up memories of her past dates, remembered Gary and decided he’s worth getting better acquainted with. So she gets her food and sits by Gary. They talked for two hours at dinner and then went to the dance. By this time, Valerie knew he was the one but wisely said nothing.

Saturday afternoon Gary decided he wanted to be with Valerie for that evening’s semi-formal dinner and dance. He tried to find her to make arrangements but could not. So he dressed up and got in line, keeping an eye out for her. Just as he was about to enter the ballroom, Valerie walked up. They looked at each other and, without saying anything, she stepped in beside him as if that was the plan. The evening was wonderful.

They spent part of Sunday together until he had to leave the conference for home.

Two weeks later, Gary made a long-distance phone call to Valerie. Five-and-a-half hours later, they hung up. Over the next few phone calls, Gary could tell Valerie was ahead of him in the relationship but did not know how far ahead. A few weeks after the conference, Gary flew to see Valerie. By time he flew home, Gary knew.

Another two weeks later, Valerie flew to see Gary and they got engaged. Five months after the conference, Gary and Valerie were married. They have been married 18 years and have six children. Valerie has the distinct honor of being number 1 out of those 139 girls.

How We Strengthen Our Marriage

Valerie and Gary only went on five dates before they were married. But they have gone on dates almost every weekend since, which has helped strengthen their marriage.


This is one of the “How We Met” stories featured here on “Laura’s Strengthening Marriage Blog.” You can enter to win a Romantic Getaway to The Anniversary Inn by sending us a favorite photo of you and your spouse, and/or a wedding or engagement photo, by Saturday, February 14th, 2009. Tell us the story of how you met, how many years you’ve been married, plus something you do to strengthen your marriage (500 words or less). Send your photo and story here. We’d love to receive your story and your photos even if it is after February 14th!


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  • SimplySweetMarriage February 19, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    I had a really good time reading your story. The “1 out of 139” caught my attention. I am very impressed with your dating pattern post marriage. I was just reading last night in the March ensign about how we are encouraged to date after marriage. Thanks for sharing.

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