A few weekends back, we had to travel back to our old stomping grounds...where we met, where we fell in love...as high school sweethearts! Awww! So sappy, right? We really were there on personal family business, but took the opportunity to escape a few times and as we walked hand-in-hand with the South Florida sun beating down on us (in the Walmart parking lot yall...you can be romantic anywhere. Hehe), and the wind blowing through our hair (well...mine - FYI: Bald is sexy, yall!)... we were reminded of the time we spent there as high schoolers, walking hand-in-hand...feeling all was right with the world because we had each other! And you know what? We still feel that way! Now of course it's much deeper! It's a much more mature kind of love. The kind that has stood the test of time a bit. The kind of love that has weathered many storms and probably has many more to go. The kind that knows that come what may, we can and will work things out! We will stick together!
Back then, we just knew we were good for each other. We brought out the best in each other (even when it was painful to do so)! We made each other laugh (and only cry occasionally. LOL). We loved each other unconditionally even from a young age. We knew we had something special even then. We were mostly inseparable. We were totally that couple that you love and that makes you sick at the same time. It makes us laugh to think about it! At youth group, we sat together. During church, we worshiped together, holding hands of course (insert silly eye roll). On the youth ski trip, we were seldom apart...riding ski lifts together, Allen holding my hand helping me off the ski lift and down the icy mountain, ice skating together, eating together...the only time we could be separated was to sleep or to go to school/work.
And now? 25+ years later (married 22, dated 3+), we still hate to be apart! Yes! Its true! Together is our favorite place to be! Allen and I both have great friends that we like to hang out with, but truly there's no one we'd prefer to get away with than each other. So...As we walked hand-in-hand again in Jensen Beach, Florida, we reminisced; and as we did, we were amazed that our love is stronger than it's ever been! Of course it hasn't been an easy road! We have had to push thru some crazy hard times! Last year was a pretty tough one for us). Times when the love well felt dried up. Times when exhaustion seemed to overwhelm the desire to get out together. Times when putting the kids first seemed easier than putting each other first. Times when we had to be away from each other for weeks on end to care for sick family members. Times when we were living in another country,(away from all family & friends), with 3 kids, and had to rely on the Lord and on each other instead of letting the stress of the situation pull us apart (it totally could have happened!). Time spent raising our 3 amazing kids and figuring out how to have agreement in it all (a daily challenge but oh so worth the effort required). Oh...then there's the time when I had a cancerous tumor and the future was very unknown, and when we had a gut-wrenching miscarriage early on in our marriage. The list goes on! You get the idea.
We're sure that many of you can relate to our set of challenges and add plenty of your own. Our point in sharing all this is certainly not to air our dirty laundry or gain sympathy, but some people look at us and see this cute couple and think we have "the perfect marriage". And while our marriage is absolutely beautiful now, it hasn't always been that way and it has been crazy hard work!! It has not always come easy (the good things seldom come easy, right?)! It has required
- Surrendered hearts to the Lord,
- Surrendered hearts to each other and of course
- A strong commitment to our vows!
Now we also know that we are so blessed to have each other and BOTH be fighting for our marriage! We totally understand that not all have that rich gift, but we just wanted to encourage all of you to keep fighting! It's been an uphill battle at times for us. Many times, you just have to fight very very hard and every time you crest a hill, your marriage will get a little bit (or a lot) stronger and better than it was before!
So once again, here we are sharing a little bit of our journey to encourage you that come what may, you CAN have a great marriage! You can weather the storms hand-in-hand and your marriage will just get better and better with each new hill you climb together! So keep climbing, but don't let go of each other! You've got this!
Cheering you on,
Allen and Carol