The Psychology of Seating: Findlay Faithfuls Kyle and Marilou (Sprang) Williams ’16
As part of a week-long series alongside Valentine’s Day, we’re featuring stories about UF couples, past and present, called “Findlay Faithfuls.” Did you meet the love of your life on campus? We want to hear about it! Share your story via Facebook or Twitter using #IHeartUFindlay #FindlayFaithfuls.
At the time he did it, Kyle Williams was very aware that sitting near someone could do more than simply put him in closer proximity to them. So, when he decided one fateful day at University of Findlay to sit nearby the object of his affection, he knew that there was actual psychology behind his decision.
Kyle said that he purposefully sat directly in front of a young woman in the beginning days of their organic chemistry class because he wanted to get to know her better, but also because he had recently learned that he would need more science than just chemistry to help him in that classroom. “We joke about our seating arrangement,” he said, “because I had recently read a psychology article describing how sitting in front of someone in a class can pique their interest in you.” Kyle and the fellow Oiler he had found an interest in had crossed paths prior, both being involved in the tight-knit pharmacy program at UF, but as freshmen they were both in relationships. Now sophomores, and with an endgame in mind, Kyle placed himself within her near-range, and waited for the right opportunity to show his interest.
His chance came, he said, one night before a chemistry exam. “I was up late studying in the AMU with some friends,” he remembered. “Marilou came in and was studying for the same exam, so I went and joined her at her table. We ended up talking about everything except chemistry.”
The conversation continued as the two began regularly chatting online, Kyle living in Bare Hall and Marilou residing in the Sigma Kappa house. They frequently messaged each other, according to Kyle, often until the wee hours of the morning, and soon found that they definitely had one thing in common: their love for their families. It was an important and eye-opening commonality for the pair. “Our families have similar dynamics, and are both very important to us,” Kyle explained. “So, when we think about what we love about each other, the first thing we think of is that 3 a.m. Facebook conversation we had long ago, and how we recognized each other’s endless capacity to love.” Soon, the two found themselves going on dates and experiencing the young love that was a mere snapshot of things to come.
The pharmacy program at UF is one that requires ardent and devoted studying, but that didn’t stop Kyle and Marilou from having an equally ardent and devoted connection with each other; in fact, their shared major, and the intense studying that goes along with it, turned out to be a boon to their relationship. “Having someone to study with helps you balance that demand with general fun and relaxation,” Kyle explained. “We spent a lot of time downtown at [Findlay coffee shop] Coffee Amici, maybe two to four hours every day.” They found time, as well, to unwind from studying, continuing to talk and learn about each other; getting dressed up and going to The Bistro on Main in Findlay to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries.
Kyle proposed marriage in May of 2015, at Main Street Beach in Vermilion, OH. Using Marilou’s favorite movie “Tangled” as inspiration, he said, he had his friends send 50 sky lanterns to light up the beach that evening. She said yes, and the two were married during their final year of college, receiving their diplomas one right after the other, and walking out through the Arch hand-in-hand. Abounding joy was all around them.
Kyle and Marilou say that that life today, as alumni of UF, is great. Both are working in their chosen field as pharmacists in Vermilion, OH, and the aforementioned abounding joy came to them, literally, in August of 2019, when they welcomed their daughter, aptly named Joy, into the world. Now, the family ideal that the two discovered one another holding so dear back when their conversations started is expanding a little, along with the Williams’ hearts. “We still get a lot of time with our families, and we’re excited to begin our own little family, too,” Kyle said.
The two plan to instill in their daughter the same type of philosophy that brought them together, the kind that bonds people in even the most troubling times. That philosophy? “Be kind to everyone,” Kyle said. “Be kind to family, friends, strangers, each other, and yourself. The meaning of life is ‘people change people,’ and the best way to start is with kindness. You reap what you sow, and continuing to develop gratitude and cheer will only bring you more to be thankful for and more to smile about.”