Talk about follow-through! When Kimberley Dean was a freshman in high school, she briefly dated senior Ron Palmer before he went off to experience the outside world. At the time, Dean and Palmer jokingly agreed to someday marry if they were both single by age 50, a pact that they didn’t think would actually be fulfilled on June 1, 2018.
The pair married in a garden ceremony in St. Paul, Minnesota, and opened up about their atypical love story prior to the nuptials. “It was a complete joke,” the bride, 51, told Today. “We were both single at the time and we were just both fed up with dating and all the craziness that goes with that.”
The friends had remained close over the years, never going more than six months without talking to one another, even as they each grew into their respective separate lives.
Palmer, 54, told Minnesota’s Star Tribune that he always felt a deep love for Dean, but in retrospect, likely needed to experience life apart from her in order to fully understand the depth of their connection.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) June 5, 2018
“When she got married, I thought, ‘Ah, she’s gone,’ but, as a young man in my 20s, I thought women were all over the place and I could get along with any of them. I thought that was the norm,” Palmer told the paper. “As it turns out, and as I have learned, it is not. I never got along with anyone else as well as I got along with her.”
Dean included her two children from her first marriage in the wedding (her daughter Kayla served as her maid of honor, while son Konner walked her down the aisle). Palmer was also previously married to his ex for seven years. Through it all, the old friends kept in touch.
“She helped me a lot,” he told the Tribune. “After my marriage and with me having numerous girlfriends over the years, I would always call Kim when I had something to complain about: ‘Why do women do this?’ She was my go-to person.”
During one of their phone calls, Palmer, an iron worker, complained to Dean that he wouldn’t have anyone to leave his inheritance to, to which Dean jokingly offered, “Just leave it to me.” Hence, their semi-serious pact.
Then, in the summer of 2016, the pair attended Roseville’s Taste of Rosefest together, and their relationship began to take on a new feel. Dean decided to broach the subject.
“I don’t remember exactly what I said but it was along the lines of: ‘What do you think if we try this again?’ ” Dean told the Tribune. “There was a lot of hesitation on his part. He told me later he worried that, if a relationship didn’t work, we would lose one of the very best friends we ever had.”
Luckily for the both of them, the risk turned out to be more than worth it. Palmer popped the question on New Year’s Eve 2017, and the couple are now happily—and finally—able to call each other husband and wife.
“Out of everyone my mom has ever been with—even thinking about my dad, who we don’t have a relationship with—I would say Ronnie has filled that father role for Konner and me,” Kayla told the Tribune. “People who are meant to be together will always find each other. It may take 37 years, but it can happen.”