Cross campus couples: A Valentine’s Day tribute to Lumberjacks in love

With so many fish in the sea, love was found between these NAU employees. NAU News talked with three couples on campus to learn more about their backstories, pet peeves and the key to their successful marriages.

Meet the couples:

NAU couplesHow did you meet?

Laura: Roger and I met in college at Texas A&M University (Whoop!). Roger worked with my roommate at the city pool (he was a pool manager; I later became the pool cashier) when we were working on our undergraduate degrees. On weekends, a large group from work would go country western dancing and do all the fun jitterbug tricks.

Erik and Nicole
Erik and Nicole in the early stages of dating.

Abraham: John and I actually met several times at different functions in Flagstaff. People told us to connect with each other, but there was some initial confusion and we each thought the other person was seeing someone already. Then we both started working out at the HLC on campus and began to run into each other there. John then asked me out for coffee and we had our first date shortly thereafter.

Nicole: Erik and I met thanks to my best friend, Rebecca, from 8th grade who was friends with Erik’s cousin, Emily. We met at a bar called the Zephyr to see Rebecca’s husband play with his band, Fistfull. We danced. He owned an old GMC truck with red leather seats. For some reason, I did not take this as a cautionary sign.

Erik: We met at a punk show at what was the greatest small venue in the world, The Zephyr Club in Salt Lake City. We were both invited via mutual friends. The place was so smoky and loud that I don’t know how I managed to make any kind of impression on her, especially after explaining to her that I drove a large truck and worked menial dead-end jobs and was on the eight-year undergraduate college plan.

Who wooed who and how?

John: When we ran into each other on campus, I would often say, “Let’s get together for coffee sometime.” I was waiting for him to indicate interest by saying something like, “Sure, here is my phone number.” He never gave me his number. His thought was that I should be giving him my number, since I asked, which would signal to him that I was serious about getting together for a date. I never did that. I finally wrote my number down on the back of my business card and carried it around for a few weeks until I ran into him again. I had to be brave and give him my card and hope he would be interested. He called.

Nicole: Erik might have wooed me but he took me to the restaurant, Green Street, and forgot his wallet so I paid. So maybe that means I wooed him? Also, when my sister got married, a couple of months after we started dating, she invited her sisters and her bridesmaids and their boyfriends on her honeymoon. Erik was working his way at UPS to put himself through college but they wouldn’t let him off those dates. So, he quit to come with us. Which is a kind of wooing for sure.

Roger: I am not sure “wooed” is the correct term. I was certainly “wowed” by Laura first. (This article will come out near Valentine’s Day, right?)

What was your worst date with your spouse?

Abraham: John is a really fantastic cook, which I am not. So, I wanted to try to impress him on one of our earlier dates and cook for him. I had him over for dinner and I made enchiladas and this yummy Mexican-style salad, complete with homemade salad dressing. Well… the dressing called for a clove of garlic. Instead of a clove, I put in the entire head of garlic. The dressing was so garlicky that it basically burned our lips. He was such a sport and didn’t say anything and ate his entire salad.  We finally had a good laugh about it later that night, and still chuckle about it to this day. I made quite the impression that night, I’m sure.

Erik: During a few of our first dates I kept forgetting my wallet. Why Nicole paid or why she went out with me again after it happened two or three or more times, I’ll never know. There also was a very unfortunate incident after I tried sushi for the first time. I’ll just leave this at that.

Roger and Laura Bounds
Roger and Laura in the early stages of dating.

Roger: For our honeymoon, we went to one of those all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica. While there, we were talked into a wind-surfing lesson. After a very short demo talk, the nice young man asked for a volunteer. I fell forward as I was pushed from behind. (Laura still denies this, I am sure.) I made a valiant effort in incredibly large waves to stand up, pull the sail up (in very high winds) and attempt to sail away (insert sound track from Styx). Laura may describe this effort as less than graceful and possibly a bit brutal to watch. (Some of the others in my group may have asked if I was OK more than once.) After what seemed like a very long time, the instructor decided the resort’s liability insurance probably could not cover this too much longer. So, he asked me to stop trying. Then, he asked my lovely new wife to give it a shot.

Laura proceeded to hop on the board, pull the sail up and sail all the way around the little island a few hundred yards off shore, then back again. She hopped off and the rest of the group clapped and cheered. It took me five mornings of attempting to sail to get good enough to get anywhere on that thing, but I did get there.

Tell us about your favorite adventure together.

Laura: We spent a week in Jamaica and our favorite drink was a hummingbird while chilling in a double hammock. Or maybe the time we left the resort and a local found out we were from Texas and asked Roger if he was “Billy the Kid” and offered to sell him a revolver from his coat, eek!

John and Abraham in Bali, Indonesia
John and Abraham in Bali, Indonesia

John: We travel quite extensively internationally. One of my favorite moments is standing together at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, watching the sunrise over the main temple complex. That was a really special trip for both of us, and it completed Abraham’s life goal of traveling to all seven continents.

Abraham: We are avid travelers. We get along very well and never argue when we travel. That’s one of the things I love most about John. We enjoy each other’s company, even when we are together for long trips. Since being together, we have traveled to over a dozen countries on several continents, all over the United States, the Caribbean, etc. Experiencing travel together helps keep us connected and we love sharing new experiences (cultures, food, art, etc.).

Nicole: We went backpacking in the Wind Rivers for our honeymoon. The first night, we stayed at a campsite. I got mad about something dumb and stormed off and broke my toenail. The next day, we hiked through meadows and around lakes and saw many moose. That night, it rained. We stayed in our tent and played cards. In the morning, we awoke to see a bear drinking from the lake. Then, the rain started again. We decided to book it down the mountain, dodging lightning strikes. Our whole honeymoon was full of danger and adventure. A forecast for our future? Perhaps. We have each broken several toenails.

What’s your biggest pet peeve about the other person?

Erik's shoes
Erik’s assortment of shoes lying around the house.

Nicole: To stay on theme, Erik cuts his toenails almost every other day. He usually cuts them on the porch but sometimes, he cuts them in the sink and leaves the nails lying in the basin like apple peels. He also leaves his shoes all around the house. Right now, there are a pair in the hallway, in the living room and in the laundry room.

Erik: Reality cooking shows like “Top Chef.” She can’t get enough of them and they are all the same. She always is so surprised that someone goes home after every episode.

Roger: I did not get to 27 years of marriage by being dumb enough to answer this question…

What is something you’ve learned from your marriage?

Laura: It takes work, but it is worth it! Enjoy the easy times, but grow and learn from the difficult times. Don’t take the other person for granted, life is short and true love is a blessing!

Roger: Nobody is a perfect spouse, but it is worth the effort to aspire for that goal and constantly work in that direction.

Erik and Nicole
Erik and Nicole celebrate his Emmy win

John: Effective communication, a deep respect for one another and humor–those three seem to be the magic trifecta to a healthy and happy relationship. We have not had a single fight or big argument in the six years we have been together because we always communicate, speak the truth and have such a deep respect and love for the other person. We make it a point to laugh and find ways to express our love and gratitude for each other every day.

Abraham: We’ve learned that marriage doesn’t have to be hard or a constant struggle. Strong communication and mutual respect are key. If you have both of those, marriage will be fun, exhilarating and full of love and companionship.

Erik: Find someone who can make you laugh and laugh with them. It can’t cure everything, but it always helps.

Nicole: The vicissitudes of marriage are many. The longer you’re married, the more ups and downs there are. But the ups get higher and longer and the downs are just kind of boring. For the most part, it’s pretty exciting to be married, what with all the toenails and hiking and lightning and shoes.


Northern Arizona University LogoCarly Banks | NAU Communications
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NAU Communications