Sergio Moreno was excited about the professor’s assignment: to list two artists and circle your favorite. The professor would choose one for each student to write about.
“I grew up in Mexico City,” Sergio says. “I had visited Frida Kahlo’s home and wanted to write about her.”
It was the fall of 1998, and 20-year-old Sergio was attending Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Okla. He was upset when he was assigned his second choice, Diego Rivera.
“Why?” he asked the professor.
“Emily Akins already chose Frida. But the two of you can work together.”
Sergio had never met Emily, who was then a sophomore. But he agreed to work with her.
They began to study Frida together.
“Sergio stood out,” Emily says. “He was very polite and interesting, and we had similar interests.”
“I thought Emily was cute, and I was attracted by her family orientation,” Sergio says. “Her interests in music and art were different from everyone else’s.”
They became friends and often went out to eat together. After more than a year of friendship, Sergio asked Emily to be his girlfriend.
“I was reluctant,” Emily says. “I really liked him, but I wanted to focus on friends and school.”
But Sergio was so appealing, she began dating him. Both graduated in 2001. While Sergio stayed in Oklahoma, Emily moved to Kansas City, and they began a long-distance relationship. Six months into their separation, they decided they wanted to be together.
“I was ready to propose, but Emily hated jewelry,” Sergio says. “I knew she wouldn’t like a ring.”
Finally, he came up with a plan, based on Emily’s love of the English language. When Emily was visiting Oklahoma, Sergio invited Emily, her family and his sister out for dinner. During the meal, he got down on one knee and pulled out a ring box. Inside, was a tiny photo of the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary, which he had purchased for Emily.
They were married on Jan. 1, 2003. Sergio moved to Kansas City, and today they work right next to each other as editorial directors at Hallmark Cards.
They like movies, theater and music. They enjoy cooking together and cherish their family meal time. They also cherish their time with their baby daughter, Julia.
“We’re having fun getting to know each other as parents,” Emily says. “Sergio is sensitive and warmhearted. He’s clever and makes me laugh. Plus, his fathering touches my heart.”
“Emily is a very sophisticated yet down-to-earth woman,” Sergio says. “I have always felt attracted to her, physically and intellectually. She inspires me and balances me.”
Deborah Shouse is a freelance writer. Suggest a Love Story couple by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.