According to Marjie Vertrees, there was no love at first sight when it came to her and her husband Ian. As a freshman at Ball State, Marjie had been told by a friend to look up Ian since she was interested in studying television and radio. But, when Marjie found Ian one day leaving the local radio station, there weren’t exactly sparks flying from their first encounter.
“I walk in and said, ‘Are you Ian Vertrees?’ and he goes, ‘Yea?’ Marjie said. Following her introduction and explanation of how she had heard about him, all Ian had to say back to her was, “Oh, OK. Hey.”
A year went by as the two became close acquaintances but the thought of romance hadn’t crept in.
“She was still the annoying talk-all-the-time freshman,” Ian joked.
A lot can change in a year though, especially in college, and that’s exactly what happened on one fateful day.
How did you meet?
It wasn’t the first time they had seen each other, but something certainly changed one October day during Homecoming weekend.
“I had to go get my car and I was walking down one of the main drags on Ball State’s campus on a Friday afternoon,” Marjie said. “All of the sudden this Jeep Cherokee drives past and honks at me. I’m like, ‘Whatever, jackass,’ and they yell, ‘Marjie!’ I turn and it was him. We hadn’t seen each other in five months. After that we ended up talking for about a half an hour and Monday morning I get an email basically saying, ‘I want to see you again.’”
“So I came up the next weekend and we went out,” Ian said.
“It was so weird because, you know, sometimes you just get feelings to do something,” Marjie continued. “I really didn’t want to go get my car at that time but something made me do it. I was thinking, maybe I’ll just go in a half an hour or an hour, but I decided I’d just do it then. I don’t know to this day why. It’s almost like God was telling me you need to go now.”
“Or you’re going to miss all of this,” Ian said facetiously, pointing to himself.
How did he propose?
On New Year’s Day 2006, Ian and Marjie went to Bravos for dinner, where Ian brought along the engagement ring, hidden under his coat.
“While we’re sitting there, I had given her a letter I had written about our relationship,” Ian said. “As she’s reading it, I got the ring out of my coat and set it on my leg. The server had come by to pick up our check and then I moved, and the box fell and hit her on the foot.”
In a hurry, Ian dove under the table to grab the ring and sit it back on his lap while Marjie finished reading the letter. But, as soon as Marjie looked up to find Ian with the ring and heard him utter the words, ‘Will you marry me,’ an unexpected interruption occurred.
“Right at that point our server comes back and says, ‘Hey, thanks for the ones,’” Ryan said. “And, then he goes, ‘Oh, my,’ and he just walks away really quickly.”
As the waiter’s embarrassment over his ill-timing set in, Marjie still sat at the table with a look of disbelief.
“She looks at me and says, ‘Is it mine? Do I get to keep it?’ Ian explained. “I said, ‘Well that kind of depends on if you say yes or not.’”
“He was so nervous, he put the ring on the table and didn’t even look at me,” Marjie said with a laugh.
“She knew I was nervous because I couldn’t finish all my lasagna,” Ian said. “I’m not one to leave food.”
“She gets up early in the morning and leaves because she’s a school teacher and I get up a little later so our hours are a little skewed,” Ian said. “But we both make an effort to make sure work is done quickly and that we get it out of the way so that we can spend as much time together as we possibly can when that time is available.”
How do you divide up household chores?
“She usually does most of the cooking but if I take a day off I’ll try to make dinner,” Ian said. “She does the dusting and the cleaning. I tend to do most of the laundry and take care of the cars and I clean up after the cat.”
Where do you like to go when you’re out ‘n’ about?
“We go to U of L games,” Marjie said. “We’re U of L football season ticket holders. We just like to go and watch a game or when our schedules do allow, to hang out with some friends.”
“Most of the time – if you were a betting person – on a Friday or Saturday night, this sounds really awesome, but you can find us at the El Nopal on Grant Line Road,” Ian said. “We both like Mexican food, it’s quick and easy, and we’ll go get something to eat and then we’ll probably end up back at home watching TV. We’re very exciting. We’re an old married couple.”
“We are. It’s really sad,” Marjie said with a laugh.
What is some advice you would offer couples – new or old – who desire to walk through life In Tandem?
“Remember why you fell in love with the person,” Marjie advised. “Ian is the love of my life and I always know that he is going to love me and support me no matter what happens. So just appreciate the other person and don’t take them for granted. Make sure that they know that you love them no matter what all the time.”
“Be a little flexible,” Ian suggested. “You have to allow the other person to continue to do what they want to do and grow as well, because if you do, both of you will grow together.”
“Allow each person their own space to do their own thing because if you have to do what you both want to do all the time it becomes difficult,” Ian said.
“You have to be able to give and take but don’t lose yourself in the marriage,” Marjie said. “You’re still your own person. You work together, but I see people who are sometimes so consumed with their husband or wife or children that it becomes their identity. Don’t lose your identity in it.”
May 19, 2007
The couple have a five-year-old cat, Carrie.
Marjie is a fourth grade teacher at North Harrison Elementary School. Ian is producer of the Terry Meiners Show, promotions coordinator for 93.1 the FOX and 95.7 QMF as well as the “Night Guy” for 93.1 the FOX.
Cats or Cards
“Oh Cards, come on!” Marjie exclaimed.
photo by ASHLEY ANDERSON | Voice-Tribune
Category: In Tandem
About the Author (Author Profile)
Ashley spends half her time writing stories at The Voice-Tribune office and half her time out on the town conducting interviews, while occasionally dressing in wild outfits to fully immerse herself in the experience (aka Princess Leia at Comic Con). Ashley is a huge UofL fan and loves the Yankees and the Boston Celtics (she is fully aware of the irony). She hopes to one day outshine Erin Andrews on ESPN and enjoys running, Bardstown Road/Fourth Street, Breaking Bad and reality TV (she’s not ashamed to admit that).