High School Sweethearts Made A "Marriage Pact" - Almost Four Decades Later It Paid Off

NBC News

When I said that I loved you, I meant that I loved you forever.

Those classic lyrics inspired countless high school couples to make REO Speedwagon's "Keep On Loving You" their song.

But not many of those couples stood the test of time like Kimberley Dean and Ron Palmer. And almost no one has a love story quite like theirs.

Because not only did these two lovebirds make a promise to each other straight out of a Hollywood romance, but they kept it after almost four decades.

The Promise

Marriage Pact
CBS News

Dean and Palmer first met at St. Agnes High School in their hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota, and they shared an instant connection.

"I would watch him come down the stairs when the high school kids were changing classes and we would wave at each other," Dean remembered.

"We ended up taking a picture together and, by fall of the following school year, when I was a freshman and he was a senior, we were dating."

Marriage Pact
NBC News

But while the couple enjoyed trips to the state fair and watching fireworks together, they were just not meant to be. Palmer had something other than commitment on his teenage mind.

"I thought at that young age, girls were a dime a dozen and I could get along with anybody "” so we broke up," he said.

"After high school, I wanted to go sow my oats."

But despite the breakup, the couple say they always stayed involved in each other's lives, and Palmer even considered asking Dean for a second chance.

"Once you hit 50, if we're both single, maybe we should try this again."

Marriage pact
Palmer holds up a note he passed to Dean in high school.NY Post

"By the time I felt like maybe we should give it a try again, she had met somebody else and got married," he remembered, "and then I went off and got married."

They both wound up divorcing their spouses, but not before Dean had a pair of children with her first husband.

Throughout the years, after every breakup, the pair would call each other looking for advice and consolation.

Which is how an offhand joke helped them reunite for good.

Marriage Pact
Palmer and Dean visit their old high school.NY Post

Palmer was telling Dean that he had benefits from his job, but no one to leave them to. "Just leave it to me," she teased.

They wound up making a pact there and then, "Once you hit 50," Palmer said, "if we're both single, maybe we should try this again."

Keep On Loving You

Throughout the years, even when they weren't dating, Palmer and Dean shared an incredible bond.

Marriage Pact
NY Post

He kept sending Mother's Day gifts to her mom, and he was the person she called to lift a dead hamster out of her son's cage.

"We always clicked," Dean explained.

"That's the kind of friendship we have. 'If you need something, I'm there for you.' It's always been that way for us."

In 2016, their roundabout romance brought them back together, but this time the relationship stuck.

Marriage Pact
Kimberley Dean

"We were both single at the time and we were just fed up with dating and all the craziness that goes with that," Dean said.

Dean asked if Palmer's offer was still on the table. He said it was "a big risk" to start dating again, because it could end their decades-long friendship. But he took the chance.

Last New Year's eve, the 37-year promise finally paid off, as Palmer (finally) proposed and Dean said yes.

"People who are meant to be together will always find each other. It may take 37 years, but it can happen."

Marriage pact
Kimberley Dean

The pair tied the knot at a beautiful ceremony by a waterfall, with Dean's son walking her down the aisle and her daughter as her bridesmaid.

He was 54, she was 51, and everything went according to the plan they made decades ago.

In a sweet throwback to their high school days, the couple shared their first dance to their song, "Keep On Loving You."

"The day was beautiful; the weather was gorgeous. We were surrounded by friends and family," Dean said.

"It was overwhelmingly breathtaking and so full of happiness."

Marriage Pact
Kimberley Dean

She says that plenty of guests asked, "What took so long?!" including her own daughter, Kayla.

"It felt like it was supposed to happen, like it was meant to be," Kayla told the Star Tribune.

"People who are meant to be together will always find each other. It may take 37 years, but it can happen."

As for the happy couple, their only regret is that they actually waited until they were in their 50s to get together.

"We waited a long time to finally get to this point. Everything you go through to get to here was worth it," Dean said. "I just wish it could have been a little earlier."

This couple's forbidden love story got a happy ending when they reunited after 50 years.

And these 10 pairs of happily married celebrities dish on what keeps their love strong.

[H/T: Today, CBS News, New York Post, Star Tribune]

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