Blind dates don’t always have happy endings, but for one local couple, a blind date has led to a life of happiness.

Mark and April McCaslin’s relationship began when they were set up on a blind date by mutual friends.

“At that time, I was a freshman at Cowley College, just beginning my long college endeavors, and Mark was a very busy night lieutenant at the Ark City Police Department and a dad to three amazing kids,” said April McCaslin.

Their friends, in an effort to make the blind date less awkward, helped the pair to exchange phone numbers before they met for their dinner date.

“When Mark finally mustered up the courage to call me one Sunday night, we ended up talking all night long and I finally had to get off the phone after eight-plus hours of talking so I could get ready to drive to Cowley for my morning classes,” she said.

Because of the way they hit it off, April McCaslin said they “seemed to be instantly comfortable in each other’s presence.”

Despite the fact that Mark McCaslin’s babysitter arrangements fell through at the last minute, their first date went well.

Hallie McCaslin, who was 1 year old at the time, attended the date, too.

“He attempted to cancel our date, figuring I probably wouldn’t be game for his daughter tagging along,” said April McCaslin. “He was surprised when I was more than happy to have her join us.”

She found his interactions with his daughter endearing. “Mark absolutely loved being a dad,” she said.

There were obstacles that the pair still had to overcome, though.

“At the time, he was certain the one-hour drive home from Wichita with a tired and crying 1-year-old would send me running for the hills, but instead, I found myself opening my heart for him and his children as they invited me into their lives,” said April McCaslin.

After five years of dating, she finally said yes to his “charming and clever proposal.”

“That deserves another story all on its own,” April said. “We were married in my grandma’s small country church in the rolling hills of Cowley County.”

The couple have celebrated nine years of marriage and 14 years together since that blind date.

“Since then, we have survived many ups and downs along the way, including Mark’s big medical scare in 2016!” McCaslin said.

“We truly have been blessed to be surrounded by our kids, family, and friends through the years so that we can look back with fond memories and look forward to future possibilities.”