Lara Schock and Jon Keck saw a Star Trek movie on their first date. Their second first date, also to see a Star Trek movie, led them to explore new frontiers.
They met in November 1996 through an online dating site.
The first time I saw my future spouse:
She says: “He had really nice eyes.”
He says: “I thought we must be simpatico because we ordered the same thing.”
On our wedding day:
She says: “I completely screwed up my vows. The pastor said repeat after me and gave me my lines and I was like a total deer in the headlights.”
He says: “I remember seeing her walk in in her dress. Also, we had cupcakes instead of a wedding cake and someone had taken a cupcake before we got to the reception.”
My advice for a long happy marriage:
She says: “It’s important that you enjoy each others’ company. We enjoy a lot of the same things. We just like being in each others’ presence.”
He says: “Communication is the biggest thing. Make sure you’re having conversations. Understand your personality and the personality type of your partner so you can have an idea how each of you interprets what’s said.”
“Her profile was down to earth and honest,” Jon says.
They saw Star Trek: First Contact, which Lara jokes, “seemed appropriate” for a first date, and though their first outing went fine any potential for a relationship fizzled fairly quickly.
“There was nothing bad about the date, and it wasn’t a bad connection — just bad timing,” says Jon, who was in the midst of changing jobs at the time.
They didn’t see each other for the next six years. In December 2002, Jon saw Lara’s profile again, on a different site, and he sent her a note.
Lara says Jon wrote that he “felt like he dropped the ball and wanted another chance.”
She wasn’t sure she wanted to go out with him again but instead of saying no outright, she threw the question out to her friends at work.
“They said, ‘Oh, you should just go because it will at least be a free dinner,'” she says with a laugh.
There was another Star Trek movie playing — Star Trek: Nemesis.
“We thought maybe that was a sign,” Lara says. “We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny to kind of do the first date all over again a second time?'”
They, again, had a nice time.
“It was fun to reminisce, but also talk about how our lives had changed in the previous six years,” Lara says.
They got together often in the weeks after that. Jon lived in North Little Rock. Lara had bought a house in Little Rock, and not long after they started going out he started helping her with home improvement projects.
Lara thought Jon might be getting serious about her before she was ready to get serious about him, and she asked if they could “dial things back,” and just be friends for a while so she could sort out her feelings.
“He said, ‘As long as this isn’t your way of letting me down easy and that there is some part of you that can see a future with me,'” Lara says. “I told him I did feel that way but I just wanted to be sure.”
Lara acknowledges that the period when they weren’t really dating was probably tough on Jon.
“He still had to toe the line, and he didn’t know where the relationship was going,” she says. “He had been completely steadfast in every way in terms of being kind and gentlemanly and funny and fun to be with and honorable and in every way, everything you would want to have in a husband.”
The challenge then became how she could let him know she had changed her mind.
“I’d come to the conclusion that I did have reciprocal feelings for Jon and it was time for the ’embargo to be lifted.’ We watched the Academy Awards as I attempted to enact my ‘hands across the border’ plan,” Lara says. “I sat a little closer on the couch, leaned in a little firmer — all the while Jon was continuing to be a gentleman. As the night progressed he made half-hearted attempts to put his arm around me … but would generally retreat to the back of the couch. I finally just had to turn to him and say, ‘The embargo is lifted.’ And there was joy throughout the land!”
In August 2003, the engagement ring Jon had ordered from Los Angeles arrived in the mail. He and Lara had discussed marriage and she knew that the ring was on its way, but she says she didn’t know he had it yet. He gave it to her that night in what they joke was an anti-climactic proposal.
They were married on Jan. 10, 2004, in a small ceremony at Faith Lutheran Church in Little Rock.
They left the following day for their honeymoon at a cabin in Jasper — “after he balanced the checkbook,” Lara says.
“I can’t go anywhere without a balanced checkbook,” Jon says.
The Kecks, who have two daughters — Ava, 15 and Marlee, 13 — discovered after they met that their love of theater almost brought them together when she was volunteering at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre and he was working there.
“We were both there at the same time, but he was up in the rafters, and I was down on the floor,” she says, “so we never actually ran into each other.”
The time wasn’t right, she supposes, either then or when they first connected.
Lara and Jon Keck, pictured with their daughters, Marlee (second from left) and Ava (right), went on two first dates, seeing a Star Trek movie both times. “There was nothing bad about the date, and it wasn’t a bad connection — just bad timing,” Jon says about the first time they went out. Their second first date, six years after the first, was just right.
(Special to the Democrat-Gazette)
“He said he had done a lot of growing up during our ‘gap’ and felt strongly if we had tried to make a go of it the first time we wouldn’t be together now,” she says. “Now, we’ve been married more than 16 years and I can’t imagine any other life with any other partner. I suppose if there’s a life lesson in all of this I’d say it would be, ‘Always say yes to a second chance.'”
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High Profile on 05/31/2020