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The Rest of the Story

True Love Tuesday

When I last spoke with you about our love story, I shared how we met and a bit about our first date.
You will recall that he had asked me to dance with him at a dance that we had both attended the summer we met.  Well, the funny part of that story is that when we did finally meet I didn’t remember anything about that experience.  Several years in to our marriage he reminded me of it.  I couldn’t believe that I had actually turned him down and he pursued me a year later.  And then asked me to marry him.  What a guy!!
Now, back to our love story.  We began dating during my junior year of High School and continued dating until after I graduated.  Our second date was his Senior Prom.  He took me to a wonderful steak house in Taft, where we both lived.  I came from a pretty poor family and had never eaten in such a nice restaurant.  I was so nervous I couldn’t eat.  He ate his steak and then finished mine also.  Nerves were not a problem for him.
Our second date, his Senior Prom
My family and I had searched extensively in the second hand stores and Goodwill for a formal that we could afford.  We didn’t find one.  So, Mom bravely took on the project of making one for me.  If you want to talk about nerves, she sure had a case of them while she worked on that dress.  But she finished it in time for the big event.  And no one was hurt in the process.
I remember feeling so special and pretty as I walked in to the dance on his arm.  I am sure my dress was different from all the others, but I didn’t notice.  I was walking on a cloud.
We continued to date over the next year.  I knew that I really liked him, however, it wasn’t until I took a trip to see family in the San Diego area that I realized I was actually in love with him.  While I was there, I went on a date with a friend who lived across the street.  As I thought about everything while riding a bus back home, I realized that I was truly in love with Kent. 
You may not believe this, but neither Kent nor I remember exactly when or how he proposed.  He recalls that we were driving down the road when he proposed, but not much more detail than that.  The truth of the matter is that proposals weren’t the big production back then that they are now.  We we got engaged around the end of the school year, which would have been my senior year.
At the end of the school year, my family moved to San Diego.  Since we were going to be married soon, June to be exact, I didn’t want to move.  I got a job and an apartment and moved in to the apartment when they moved away.  
We planned to go to San Diego for the wedding.  Kent bought my wedding dress and our wedding rings at Sears.  I think we paid less than $100.00 for all three items.  
My folks opened up a café near San Diego.  The decision was made that we were going to be married in the café.  I went down and spent a few days with my folks before the wedding.  I made decorations for the wedding and worked in their café as a waitress.  Now, I may be extremely service motivated, but I made a lousy waitress.  I would always forget to ask questions, such as whether or not they wanted onions on their order.  My step dad, who did the cooking, was always getting on to me for forgetting to get all of the order details.
Kent’s parents came down for the wedding.  The night before the wedding, I started feeling poorly.  I figured it was just from being nervous about the wedding.  The next morning when I got up, I knew something was terribly wrong. 
Kent and his parents took me to the county hospital in San Diego.  I was admitted with a severe kidney infection.  I was poked and prodded from every direction.  They kept me in the hospital for a few days.  As I was bemoaning the fact that this was supposed to be my wedding day, the nurse told me to just be glad it wasn’t my wedding night.
Kent was working for a farming operation and worked in the fields moving irrigation pipe.  He had arranged for some time off from work for a honeymoon.  There was no wedding and there was no honeymoon, but he was still off work the same amount of time.  When I got out of the hospital and we got back to Taft, he stayed off work for one more day to make sure that I was okay.
The next day, when he got to work his supervisor was standing with the supervisor over the shop.  His supervisor told him that he had stayed off one day more than he had arranged.  He fired him on the spot! 
However, the other supervisor hired him for the shop!  
Being the funny man that he is, he came home and told me that he had been fired from his job.  He made me wait for the part about being hired.
We still weren’t married.  Kent told me that he was just going to come get me one day after work and we were going to go to Las Vegas.  I told him that he couldn’t do that.  I needed time to prepare. 
Well, we did go to Vegas about two months later.  The bad part is that since my family couldn’t be there with us, his family felt it wasn’t fair for them to be there, so no one was with us.  I didn’t know for a few years that they had made a conscious choice not to be there.  We drove to Las Vegas, got married the next day, and came home the day after.  That was in August of 1970.

Our wedding picture, August 1970
Kent and I came from totally different backgrounds.  His parents had been married for 20+ years and were very solid in their relationship.  My parents had divorced when I was probably 3 or 4 years old.  My father was then out of our lives for many, many years.  I didn’t find my father again until I was about 36 years old. When we got married, my mother was on her fourth marriage.  So, I didn’t have that example of stability in the relationship. 
Kent’s parents were awesome!  I loved them very much.  They were fun to be with, but you could tell they loved each other deeply.  Dad made sure that not only Kent and his brother respected their Mom, but that others did as well. 
I don’t recall ever seeing them disagree.  If they did, they kept it behind closed doors.  I think that is one of the most valuable lessons I ever learned.  Husbands and wives are going to disagree, but it shouldn’t be public.  It shows a lack of respect for each other when you argue in front of others. 
Other people our age, who were getting married, did so with the attitude of a couple going steady.  The prevailing thought was that if it didn’t work out they would get a divorce.
Even though we came from totally different backgrounds, we had the same philosophy regarding marriage; if it doesn’t work, we are going to figure out what is wrong and fix it.  We have always been committed to each other and to the relationship.
A dear friend of my mother gave me the best advice I ever received.  I think I have shared it with you before, but it bears repeating.  She said, “Honey, everyone is going to tell you that marriage is a 50/50 proposition.  Don’t you believe it.  If you aren’t willing to give 100%, it isn’t going to work.”  I have never forgotten her counsel and have always tried to live by it.
I think another thing that has worked in our marriage (although it doesn’t work for everyone) is that Kent has always had jobs that keep him away from home for extended periods of time.  It makes you value the time that you have.  When your time together is limited, you don’t want to spend it fighting or arguing over little things.
A very tough time for us centered on whether or not we were going to have children and how many.  Kent wasn’t sure he wanted the responsibility of children.  Naive me, I said, what responsibility (or something like that).  I had a serious case of endometriosis and the possibility of my getting pregnant was remote.
However, after a period of introspection, we agreed that we would at least attempt to get pregnant.  The Lord was with us and we were blessed.  After being married for 11 years, I gave birth to a beautiful 8 lb 4 oz daughter.  She was and is the light of my life. 
I wanted more children but it wasn’t to be.  One day my sweet daughter and I were watching a program on television about adoption.  They showed this young boy, I think he was around 10 or 11, whose mother had given him up when she became pregnant with another child.  My daughter, who was under the age of ten but I don’t recall just how old she was, knew that I would like to have more children, with a heart bigger than you can imagine, said to me “Mom, if you want to give me away so that you can have another child, it is okay.”  Oh my gosh, it still makes me cry just thinking about it.  Of course, I immediately assured her that was never going to happen.
I think the best part of our marriage is that our love continues to grow, even after 43 + years.  I can honestly say I love him more now than I did when I married him.  I think he would agree that is true for him as well.  I appreciate that we can always count on each other to be there for the other one.  These last couple of years are a testament to that as we have dealt with various health issues. 
I love how we hold hands, whether that is sitting here in the living room, sitting at a restaurant, walking across a parking lot, or laying down at night.  I love holding his hand before I go to sleep.  It lets me know all is right in my world.  I firmly believe that you should not go to bed angry with one another.
Taken on January 31, 2014
In terms of managing communication, it is important to be honest with each other about everything.  Don’t be afraid to admit that you made a mistake and to apologize for it.  Kent says it is important to listen to both the spoken and the unspoken word.  Before you speak, think about how your words are going to effect the other person, and if necessary, wait for a better time. 
I think it is important to know as much as possible about your mate.  I agree with others that I have interviewed that you should explore your deepest desires about life before getting married.  Discuss your values, your desires for children, what is important in a relationship, religion and other areas so that they don’t come up as a problem later. 

I hope you have enjoyed the rest of our love story.  Of course, it is never the end.  We continue to grow as individuals and as a couple.  Life is ever changing and we have to adapt.  Flexibility in the relationship is extremely important.

Thanks so much for stopping by and spending your time with me.
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Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your story with us Regina! I enjoyed reading it!

  2. Your love story is so sweet. I enjoyed every word! The advice of giving 100% is so smart, 50/50 just isn’t enough!
    My mother made several prom dresses for me, your memory took me back. She was always at the last minute finishing the dress but they were beautiful and I was happy. These True Love Tuesday posts are among my favorite!

    • Hi Shirley. Great to see you here. I am glad that our story rekindled a good memory for you. I am also glad that you like these posts and I appreciate your feedback very much. Hope everything goes your way today.

  3. What a sweet story. It’s so nice reading about couples that have been married for decades. And what a sweet daughter – willing to sacrifice for you happiness. That was a story to melt the heart. Thank you for sharing.

  4. What a sweet story. Thank you for sharing. My mom sewed my wedding dress. She was nervous but it went together perfectly. And what a beautiful daughter – willing to sacrifice for your happiness. You obviously raised her with right values.

    • Hi Jennifer. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. How wonderful that your Mom sewed your wedding dress. What a great memory she created for both of you. When my daughter got married, I cannibalized my wedding dress and used the parts in her flowers, corsages and boutonnieres. It was a joy to use it that way.

      I do have a fabulous daughter. She is an amazing woman.

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