Imagine this. You are going to India with some of your fellow college students on a campus exchange program. You arrive at the LA airport and are going down the escalators. Suddenly, you spot the love of your life, holding the sign for the program you are participating in.

This was reality for Rocky Mountain College’s own Tracy Mouser, Head of Rocktivities. This is her movie-esque meet-cute with her husband of 26 years, Lance Mouser. Tracy shared: “There was this handsome young man holding the sign ‘Project India’. For me it was like that guy, that’s who I want.”

Tracy went on to explain, “At this point, I was 22 years old, and so I pretty much knew what I was looking for in a life spouse and it just so happened that there he was at the bottom of the escalator.”

Tracy continued, “Then the more I got to know him on this trip the more I was like yeah this is who I am looking for as my life spouse. For him, as we were working together on this exchange project, and getting to know me, then it was a couple weeks later he was like yeah she is someone I want to hang out with more,” concluding, “For me it was love at first sight, for him it was love at like two weeks.”

Despite their flirting and getting to know each other, no interest was expressed until after the project ended. This was due to a rule on the trip that there would not be any relationships during the eight weeks of the program. 

Once feelings were out in the open, Tracy and Lance faced a problem–Lance was from California and Tracy was from Montana. They then talked about wanting to see each other again, but ultimately flew their separate ways.

A few weeks later, Lance drove up from California and they went on their official first date: dinner and a showing of Sleepless in Seattle. Eventually, Tracy moved to California, and after about a year of dating, they started to discuss marriage. 

Tracy said “I had dated other guys. I would say that in any dating relationship, you get to the point where there is a crossroads where you decide, ‘Should we continue or should we not?’ For every relationship I had been in when we reached that crossroads. Either me or my partner said no.” But “with Lance when we got to that crossroads, we both made the decision that yes, you are the person I want to spend the rest of my life with.”

Looking back, Tracy explained that what drew them together was their shared faith and values, a similar outlook on life, and their experience in India that individually changed their worldview in the same way. Tracy also described herself and Lance as an adventuring couple and said they are at their best when they are exploring together. It helps them recenter as a couple. Their love of wandering translated to their family being an adventurous family, as they brought along their two daughters on their adventures.

Tracy and Lance have had their ups and downs, facing new challenges that came with the changing dynamics of a family–having children, kids starting school, their daughters growing up, and losing parents. Tracy explains these changes really push her and Lance to revisit who they are, and ask, “At the very core of this who are we? Our faith is really strong. Our commitment to each other is still really strong. And purposefully making decisions to keep adventuring, to keep exploring, to keep doing things like that I think is what is going to get us through this.”

Through these trials, Tracy concedes that they have not always been amazingly in love, but they have always remained faithful to each other and worked to find each other again. One reason Tracy feels they work so well together for their 26 years of marriage is that they are egalitarian. She states, “Even though 90% of my harebrained ideas we follow through on, I never make those huge decisions without him behind me, and vice versa.” 

On this Valentine’s Day, Tracy offered some love advice to Rocky students stating: “Don’t be afraid to be picky. If you want a life partner, be willing to wait for that, whatever that looks like. When you think you have found a life partner, have those discussions. Are you someone I want to be with, am I someone you want to be with?” 

Finally, Tracy encouraged us to meet and interact with people in person rather than swiping left or right on Tinder, and noted that there is a ton of potential here at Rocky.

Will your meet-cute be at Rocky?

Family photo in Sequoia National Park

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