Now, almost six weeks after he put up the billboards, Josh Wilson, 41, is laughing about all of the attention the billboards have gotten since he decided to post the gigantic love notes to his wife, Amy Wilson, 51.
The ads, which are paid for through the end of the year, are racking up views on the Internet.
“A lot of people wondered if I was in trouble with Amy, but the truth is, I just adore her,” said Josh Wilson, who runs the Living Water Irrigation sprinkler company with his wife of two years.
Wilson took the unusual step of declaring his love for Amy to everyone in Tulsa when he learned in August that he couldn’t cancel a one-year, $1,200-a-month billboard campaign he’d taken out in January for their business. The billboards weren’t ginning up new customers.
“I wasn’t getting the response that I expected with the ads,” he said. “But I was told that I was contractually obligated until January 1 and couldn’t get my money back.”
When Wilson's business coach, Clay Clark, heard about his friend's dilemma, he proposed a solution:
“Since you’re always talking about how much you love your wife, why don’t you just say something to her on the billboards?” Clark said. “You might as well turn it into a positive.”
Wilson thought it was a swell idea.
He called the billboard company and told it that he wanted to change his advertisement to “Amy, I love you more!"
“It’s a little thing that Amy and I are always saying to each other,” Wilson said. “One of us will say, ‘I love you,’ and the other one will say, ‘I love you more.’ ”
Amy Wilson, however, didn't see the signs until they'd been up for a couple of weeks.
“I got busy with work and actually heard about all of this when a local news station did a story,” she said. “Everyone had been wondering, ‘Who’s Amy?’ ”
And that’s how she learned that her husband had expressed his love for her along Tulsa's busiest expressways.
The two met five years ago in a country-western bar in Tulsa, and Josh Wilson stood out for not the best reasons.
“When Josh came to the bar straight from the golf course and asked me to dance, at first I thought, ‘Who is this weirdo and why is he wearing flip-flops instead of cowboy boots?’ ” she said.
But they soon fell for each other.
“I knew after we danced the two-step that we’d be together from that moment on,” Josh Wilson said.
After three years together, he decided it was time to pop the question. They were on vacation in Florida and he woke up early one morning and wrote “WILL YOU MARRY ME” in the sand. She said yes.
The couple — who together have five grown children from previous marriages, along with five dogs — will celebrate their second wedding anniversary next month.
There has been an unexpected ripple effect of Josh Wilson’s “I love you more!” billboards, said Clay Clark. Some clients have been telling him their spouses are more expressive and appreciative, and they attribute it to Wilson’s public declaration.
Although Amy Wilson was delighted by her husband's messages of love in the fast lane, she said she now believes it's time to replace “I Love You More!” with something else. Reluctantly, Josh agreed. So sometime this month, Tulsa motorists will come across something new on their way to work:
“We’re going to put up a photo of our five dogs,” said Josh Wilson. “We both think it’s perfect. I love them madly, too.”