A year or so ago, I wrote a blog about why I thought it is important to date the man you are married to. In that blog, I explained how I made it a goal of mine to go on at least one date a month (if not two) with my husband, because I believed it would strengthen our relationship and give us some time together without the kids.
It’s funny because when you date your husband regularly, the kids start to notice and ask why you're leaving "all the time." I mean, to a kid, getting a babysitter once or twice a month is a big deal, and to them, it seems to be more like once or twice every week. In this last year, I can look back and see the positive impact this goal has made on my marriage.
My daughter wrote an "All About Me" book at school. This is the first chapter. It brings joy to my heart for her to say "My mom and dad likes to go on dat(e)s." I pray I model this behavior like my parents did for me.
I didn't learn this concept out of thin air. It's not new or revolutionary. My parents actually modeled this behavior for me. It used to make me so mad as a child because I wanted to spend time with them on a Saturday, but instead, they would leave me at home for their "day date." When I was old enough to be home by myself, I would get a note on the countertop with a list of chores and an explanation that my parents were spending the day together. It really did annoy me.
Now that I am married, I totally get it. I look back at my annoyance and realize it was really just immaturity and misunderstanding of how to actually cultivate a relationship, especially when there are outside influences making it hard to focus. Since Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays, I thought it would be fun to write a blog about love.
My Love Story
Clint and I have been married almost 17 years, and together almost 19. How we met is funny, but our dads grew up together in La Porte, Texas. Our parents remained friends but only did "adult stuff" together, so I had no idea this set of friends had kids. When I got to A&M, Clint's mother came to one of my dad's birthday parties. She explained that her son was accepted into Texas A&M and that I should give him a call. I seriously thought to myself, "Lady, I am not going to call your son. What are the odds he is my type?" Well, fast forward two more years, and we actually met. It was instant chemistry. We went on our first date a few days later and that was all it took. I knew I was going to marry him. I remember thinking, "Oh my gosh, I am not falling in love with one of my dad's friend’s son. They are going to tease me!"
We got married in 2004 and settled down in a little town called Pleasanton, Texas, just south of San Antonio. Clint worked for a home building company and I worked for an advertising agency. We met many friends there and had a lot of fun.
Life changed after the real estate crash of 2008, and Clint was forced to look for a new career. He came home and told me he wanted to find something “recession-proof.” He explained that he was going on an interview in Cuero, Texas with the Texas Farm Bureau insurance company, and that if he got the position, he would be able to start his own business and be his own boss. I thought he was nuts. I knew how hard it was to start your own business, but doing it in Cuero, Texas seemed even more difficult.
On the day he was offered the position, I remember thinking that I could stay in San Antonio and continue to pursue my career. That would've meant we needed to break up though...at that point, we didn't have any kids so it wouldn't be as difficult. But here's the deal. I didn't want to leave him, because I loved him more than anything. Even more than my job. This was the first time in my life that I realized I had to listen to what God was calling us to do, and I had to step back and let my husband lead. It was the best decision he could've ever made for our family. The new career he started completely changed our lives and our marriage – all for the better.
Cuero was one of the best small towns in which I have ever lived. The community is incredible and the number of friends we made was awesome. If I had chosen my career over this move, I would’ve never had the opportunity to meet all those amazing people. It also gave me the opportunity to start my own marketing firm and live out my dreams from a place that seemed so unlikely. I’ve been self-employed ever since.
This picture is from 2019, but it's one of my favorite pictures of us together.
My Grandmother's Secret to Marriage
We called my mom’s mom Meama or June Bug. She and my grandfather were married for more than 60 years. I always loved to watch them steal kisses and giggle and smile. You could feel the love between them when they were together.
My grandparents, June and Dub, being silly.
II had the privilege of spending a lot of time with June Bug. My parents and grandparents even lived together in the last part of my grandparents’ lives. I loved staying up late and talking to June Bug. She was a night owl, but if you could hang, you would find out the best things.
One night, I decided to ask her the secret to marriage. Marriage is hard but my grandparents made it look so easy. After I asked the question, I expected a long, thoughtful and full-of-wisdom type of answer. I thought this moment would be like a Mufasa/Simba moment where I would feel moved and inspired. Instead, she quickly answered my question, “I had nowhere else to go.” HA! At first glance that doesn't seem to be a very healthy answer, but in reality, it is. Marriage is so difficult, and it always has its ups and downs. But if you leave, like for real leave – not just go get a gallon of milk to cool off – it’s over. My grandmother unknowingly taught me the full-on commitment in a marriage with her funny explanation. You’re either married or you’re not. If you want to be married, then stick it out and make it work.
My Parents Love Story
My parents met at Texas A&M University in the 70s. They were acquaintances for a few weeks at college (both were dating other people), then within six months of their first official date, they got married. Some people might say that's a terrible idea, because you really don't know the other person until you've been together for at least two years. My parents didn't care. They’ve never been people who follow the rules. They just knew they were in love and they wanted to get married. They followed their instincts.
Quickly after marriage, they welcomed my sister and a couple of years after that they had me. I always say my parents grew up as they were raising us. I witnessed lots of ups and downs in their marriage. I remember one day I heard them arguing, and I asked my mom about it later. She said something I will never forget. She said, “Sometimes adults yell and fight with each other. It’s not the best way, but it’s better than not sharing your feelings with your partner.” In that moment, she explained to me that you have to communicate, however it comes out, just don't keep it inside.
My parents have always been in love, even through those ups and downs. This year, they will be celebrating 45 years of marriage.