Troy and  Stacey Knoell of Olathe, KS
Robert and Linda Johnson of Wichita, KS

Troy and  Stacey Knoell

Troy and  Stacey Knoell have been married since July 12, 2003, and are the parents of two children. Troy is a  Software Engineer and Stacey is the Executive Director of the Kansas African American Affairs Commission. Both are natives of Nebraska and now live in Olathe, KS.

When did you meet?

Troy: She was living in St Louis. I knew a guy who was a middle school music teacher who worked with her mom. During his spring break, we drove to St. Louis to go on a double-date with her and her roommate. Stacey was his date. My date was Camille. One of the locations we went on this date was the art museum. I wanted to be close to her as we were walking through the museum. Once we were done at the museum, Stacey made the comment that she didn’t know much about me and, idly, suggested that we swap dates. We didn’t swap, but it did make me wonder what she was thinking.

Stacey: I was definitely more interested in the guy I was actually on the date with, but I could tell that Troy was a gentleman and could hold a conversation so at the end of that evening I asked Camille what she thought of Troy. She said that she wasn’t interested but she could see me with him. I guess, in a way, they both were right … eventually.

Tell us about your first date.

Troy: Our first date was at a church teen camp. As we were in line for dinner, one of the other male counselors suggested that I ask Stacey to be my date for this. Being new at camp counseling and, a bit naive, I did. I even carried her tray for her.

The Turn (how did you know he/she was the one?)

Stacey: It started to turn a bit for me at that teen camp. Every day we would line up at the flagpole before being dismissed for our meals. A few people had asked me whether I had any interest in Troy and for a while the answer was always no. Then one night we were hanging out with friends, doing a game night, and the next day I couldn’t stop thinking about him.  

The Wedding. Theis Park across the street from the Nelson-Atkins museum. The men were primarily dressed in Banana Republic dressy but casual clothes and the women were dressed in a similar fashion. I remember the trellis fell over at one point and had to be held up by the ushers. It was an amazingly perfect day.

What place within 200 miles would you like to go to spend a few days.  What would do there and why?

Stacey:  We have done our share of staycations. We’ve done stays on the Plaza or in the Crossroads District. We’ve done weekends in Westin or out to the wine country in Missouri.

What have you learned to appreciate about your wife/husband that you didn’t know when you were first married?

Troy: I really appreciate how caring she is for others. She likes to say that she’s not a nice person. She will care about you even when you don’t care about yourself. She will fight for you when nobody else will. Stacey: He is a good man. He can hold a conversation. He is so patient with me and our girls. He is committed to making this marriage work even through difficult times. He makes me laugh. 

Words of wisdom for other couples?

Troy: Learn to enjoy the mundane aspects of life together. There will be many more of those than there will be exciting events. 

Stacey: “Talk at the idea stage.” If I have an idea, it can be talked through and changed and take on new things. But if I’m past the idea stage, then it becomes my opinion, and then the danger is it may become a part of my identity and then when it is challenged, it feels like a personal attack.

Robert and Linda Johnson

Robert and Linda Johnson were both born and raised in Columbia, MS. Robert is the Lead Servant (lead pastor) of Saint Mark UMC and  Linda is an accounting manager at Koch Industries. They have two daughters: Giselle, 27, a filmmaker and producer in LA, and Kayla, 23, an educator in Atlanta. The couple has been married since 1989.

When did you meet? We met in junior high school during band practice.

Tell us about your first date. For our first date, I came to visit Linda at her home. We sat in her family’s family room and talked and watched TV.

The Turn (how did you know he/she was the one?)

Robert: We fell in love at such a young age that I wasn’t really thinking, “She’s the one for me.”  Even in our 20s, I had no idea that she would become the amazing person she is now. Linda:   At college, I realized he was the “one” when I had no real desire or interest in spending time with anyone other than Robert. He lit up my days and nights.

The Wedding. Robert was 23, Linda was 22. The ceremony was in Linda’s childhood church with three pastors officiating. It rained hard that day. We honeymooned in New Orleans, came back, packed up, and moved to Houston. 

Who’s the neat freak? Linda is the near freak primarily as an extension of her type A personality, says Robert. She likes order, structure, clarity, and consistency. Linda thinks her need for order comes from being raised by a single mother, making her more sensitive to the need for a plan at all times.

Who does the cooking? Robert enjoys cooking and Linda doesn’t cook at all. They eat out a lot.   

What place within 200 miles would you like to go to spend a few days?  What would do there and why? Our current favorite getaway within 200 miles is Kansas City for a lot of reasons. It has the big-city-feel like Houston where the couple lived for 27 years, tons of restaurants and expansive historical culture.  

Who tends to be more romantic? Robert is more romantic, by far. He has such a sentimental soul & heart.

What have you learned to appreciate about your spouse that you did know when you were first married? He appreciates her high capacity to endure grinding tasks to finish assignments and extraordinary attention to the detail in all things. Linda: Robert has a remarkable gift of empathy and compassion. And he never meets a stranger!  

Words of wisdom for other couples? “Worship together, evolve together, and forgive – over and over and over,” says Robert. Love, live and laugh together,” says Linda. Even more important, spend intentional time together praying and seeking God’s presence in your relationship and home.