Valentine’s Day was Tuesday but love springs eternal!
It’s not bizarre for people to meet in college, fall in love, marry, have children and live happily ever after. For Andrea and J.R. Sears, their love story is anything but an average college love story.
They met here at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) in 2006 and married on Valentine’s Day in 2009. The couple continued their professional careers at UHD. Presently, Andrea works as an administrative assistant II in Undergraduate Admissions, while J.R. is part-time in Information Technology. In 2012, Andrea graduated with a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies; and J.R. is a few months away from earning an undergraduate degree in Computer Science with plans to graduate in the upcoming spring 2017 commencement ceremony.
Skyline caught up with the Sears to learn the details leading up to their special day, their favorite campus spot, Valentine’s Day plans and more!
How did you meet?
Andrea: J.R. was a returning student at UHD in 2006 and we met in Professor Susan Baker’s art history class. We eventually became study partners.
What’s your love story?
J.R.: I’m a native Houstonian. My grandma and grandfather ran a wrecker service in the East-End. I grew up in tough conditions, got involved with the wrong crowd. My mom encouraged me to move to Pasadena to get a fresh start and I returned to school in 2006. That’s when I met the most amazing woman of my life.
Andrea: I’m from Louisiana, moved to Texas to be closer to my mother and sister. I worked the midnight shift at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and attended school as a transfer student at Houston Community College. I was accepted to UHD in 2004. And, five years later, I started working at UHD in the College of Business.
How did you know he/she was the one?
J.R.: Yes, I did. You know when the stars line-up and the heavens move mountains and you hear a rumble of trumpets professing the destiny of two souls that become intertwined together…forever? Well, I didn’t but our first day at the Astro’s game, something aligned and it just hit me. We were right behind third plate pretty close to the dugout and I looked at her and saw a glorious light radiating off of her as she spoke to me. I knew, right then and there, that I knew I wanted her to be my wife.
Andrea: Yes. I knew it was love when he would wake me up in the library when it was time for class and bring me breakfast from the café.
Where did you get married?
All Saints, because Andrea is Catholic.
Andrea: J.R. proposed on two occasions. First time, was at an Astros’ game. He just came out and said, “I am going to marry you.” Three years later he proposed again on New Year’s Eve and I said, “yes!”
What are some of the benefits of working the same place?
Andrea: We’re able to save so much money and it’s fun to ride to work together because we always have that time to reflect on our day. Our lunch dates are fun, too! We’re best friends.
Are there special spots on campus that you think are especially romantic?
By the light rail – It’s also where J.R. asked me out on our first date—to an Astros game.
Do you have children?
Andrea: Yes, we have our boys and a girl.
What are your future plans?
Andrea: We plan on staying at UHD and continue to work. J.R. also plans to attend graduate school, start a band, and become a full-time UHD employee. Ultimately, we have plans to get our kids through school, retire and go fishing.
Are you going to encourage your kids to attend UHD?
Andrea: Absolutely. We’re encouraging them now that knowledge is power. We push our kids to make straight A’s and we want them to be successful. We also take them with us to every event we attend at UHD. They just love it here. It would be wonderful to see them attend our alma mater. J.R. and I are also on the UHD Dragon boat team, and our children have attended every race.
What are your anniversary plans?
Andrea: Since our anniversary is on Valentine’s Day, we usually have an extended special lunch together…. It’s our date without kids. After work, we have make night at home and have dinner with the kids and give them chocolate hearts.
Anything you would like our readers to know?
Andrea: We are not perfect and there are ups and downs in our relationship, but the one thing that keeps us going is our love for one another. Our kids see that. Many people ask us how we do it, and my answer is: “I dye my hair.” The stress in raising a family while one parent is a full-time student and the other is working full-time, we have to hide our gray hairs and push forward. Compromising in our relationship is what keeps us from calling it quits and our kids are our world.
J.R.: Andrea and I do amazing things for each other and our kids. I love and adore my wife for everything she does for me as a husband, best friend, and partner, but also for what she does for our children. And, I look forward to 50 more years of what my kids call the “mushy gross stuff” … we call love.
Photo Credit: Thomas B. Shea