Bryan Kunde and Emily Slaughter: 2012 to NOW

Araya Dunne, A&E Editor

Emily Slaughter, ‘18, and Bryan Kunde, ‘18, are the longest reigning “power couple” here at Wash. From short-lived love in sixth grade, to best friends after that, and then trying their romantic relationship again freshman year, Slaughter and Kunde have come a long ways. July 2018 will mark the couple’s four year anniversary. Some adults have trouble keeping a steady relationship for this long, so all I can wonder is, how do they do it as adolescents in high school?

Slaughter speaks of their humble beginnings in the Franklin Middle School cafeteria, “I turned to Kayti [Schuler, ‘18] and asked her, ‘Who’s that kid over there? He’s kinda cute.’” After Slaughter’s interest in Kunde, a skinny love formed between the pair, which lasted a mere six months. Slaughter recalls only hugging him three times within that six month time frame. She also reminisces on the time that Kunde had bought her a Valentine’s Day gift, but he handed it to her during passing time over the heads of the other students walking by. No sparks flew their first time around, so Slaughter took it upon herself to break it off with Kunde…on his birthday. Their middle school breakup is still a joke they like to throw around with each other because they’ve matured and learned so much from each other since then.

The most important part of their relationship evolution has to be after the middle school breakup when they continued to be best friends, even though they tried having romantic relationships with other people.  One of Kunde’s main points of advice to the lonesome Surveyor readers out there was, “The best thing you can do if you really care about someone is to be their friend first without ‘making moves.’” Kunde sees so much value in their years of friendship during middle school and knows that if it wasn’t for a strong friendship like theirs, their friendship wouldn’t have evolved into a strong romantic relationship today.

Besides the deep foundation and past they have together, there is so much more than being friends first that sustains a relationship like theirs. Now that they are far past all of the middle school awkwardness, they both agree that the main points that make their relationship stand out from others and make their relationship worthwhile are: communication, being able to love yourself before you commit to loving someone else, and being able to trust that you will overcome struggles together if you love each other as much as you think you do.

Now that Kunde has committed to Wayne State College (Nebraska) and Slaughter plans on staying home to work at her family’s local business, “Tornados”, what will the future hold for the inseparable pair? Kunde and Slaughter have always seen a future together of some sort. “It would be a waste of time to put you energy into an empty relationship”, says Slaughter. Both sides are extremely close to other’s family, which makes “planning for the future” more prominent in their everyday mindset. Although long distance is a struggle that not many couples are strong enough to face, Kunde and Slaughter look forward to it with ease. As long as everything goes well for the rest of the year for these lovebirds, Surveyor’s vote for “Most Likely To Get Married” in the yearbook goes to our favorite couple that some of us have grown up with or at least witnessed in the middle school hallways.