Even though they had hinted a lot about the possibility, Martha was "incapable of making this decision," when John finally proposed to her in February.
"So I called everyone I knew. My phone bill was incredible," she recalls. "I had been keeping it under wraps until then. I called my sister, my mother and said. 'Here are my options.' They all said. 'Go for it.' I was very happy after that. It was unanimous."
Martha Nimbly, a sophomore living in South House, and John Beck, a senior in North House, plan a June 21 wedding in their hometown of Provo. Utah They are both practicing Mormons.
"We both wanted to marry another Mormon." John says. "There are 20 undergraduates here who are Motmons--five of them are women. You can't help but rate the five."
Martha agrees that "all the Mormon men are kind of thinking in those terms. The men approach me in a completely different way now. Now, I'm a good buddy and they tell me about their girlfriends. Before they never told me a thing."
"Most of the men have been on missions." John explains." The next step in life is getting married."
John's mission took him to Singapore, and next year he'll be returning there on a Rotary Scholarship to study sociology. So that she could go with him. Martha has switched her major from psychology to East Asian Studies. They both plan to earn PhD's. John hopes to teach in a public high school someday and Martha, after completing her studies at Harvard, would like to teach in a college.
About 700 people are expected at their wedding reception, following a service for 50 to 60 practicing Mormons. But John jokes that over spring break, they almost eloped". See before marriage has been ruled out by Mormon teachings and that makes us want to move up our wedding date a little," he says.
In Provo, John and Martha had many mutual high school friends, but they weren't sweethearts. John had another serious girlfriend at that time, and Martha says she thought they were both "terrible people."
"He was student body president in high school." Martha says, and she was student body president of another high school. My closest friend was his close mutual friend, and I would hear all these things about them."
"This year (at Harvard) we started talking, and we had conversations where we would just agree totally for seven hours." Martha says. "I had never agreed with someone on so many things before."
While they consider themselves "staunch doctrinal Mormons," Martha and John say they do not abide by the male-dominated culture that has grown up around Mormon teachings. "I wouldn't mind spending half or all my time at home," John says.
Martha responses 1 No answer (Ellison). 2. Rules (too practical). 3. Johnny Carson (Johnny Carson) 4. Solve juvenile delinquency (high school teacher). 5. Singapore (Singapore) John's responses 1. Draper (Draper) 2. Spoons (perfectionism) 3 M'A'S'H (any wildlife documentary) 4 College professor (artist); 5. Yugoslavia (Yugoslavia) Total 4 correct.
Vincent Vann, who is of Cuban ancestry and grew up in New Jersey, says his children will be bilingual. "I am going to raise them speaking Spanish and English."
Anna Wang, who is of Chinese ancestry and was raised in Ohio, says her children will learn Chinese along with English.