In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, today’s blog features the two people that taught me what it means to love.

While they’ve overcome their share of obstacles starting with their first date and Wedding Day; my parents, Annette and Joel share their recipe to surviving 38 years of marriage.

CARA: How did you two meet?

MOM: We met in a high school youth group. I was Dad’s date to a dance…that date didn’t go too well and we barely spoke after that. It wasn’t until the summer after his freshman year of college that we reconnected. One night he stopped by my house and we sat outside talking and laughing. Dad left a few days after to work at Boy Scout camp but we stayed in contact all summer. One Sunday, I paid him a visit. That was the beginning.

CARA: When did you know Mom/Dad was “the one”?

DAD: When she told me she was…No seriously. We just really enjoyed being together.

MOM: When he left for college we continued our long distance courtship through letters, phone calls, and many added miles to our cars! We enjoyed being together and I missed him when we were apart. I couldn’t imagine my life without him.

CARA: What is one memory that always makes you laugh?

DAD: On the way back from our honeymoon, I didn’t feel well and we had to stop for the night in Quinter, Kansas at the Motel Q. It reminded Annette of the Bates Motel so she stacked all the furniture in front of the door before we went to sleep. I felt like crap but couldn’t stop laughing.

CARA: I know it was nearly 4 decades ago, but do you have a favorite memory from your Wedding?

MOM: Days before our wedding, we learned out reception venue had double booked and we were left without a place. When we should have been focusing on last minute details, we were searching for a new location, selecting menus, communicating changes to guests. And, this was before email and cell phones. Well, the big day arrived, my head still spinning with details but as I began to the walk down the aisle, I saw dad waiting for me, surrounded by so many special people in our lives — I was overwhelmed with love, peace, joy, and happiness. Our wedding turned out to be a beautiful and memorable one and I look back on that day with fondness!

DAD: My fraternity brothers convinced your Mom to let them take our luggage up to our room. They short-sheeted the bed.

CARA: If you were to give advice to your 20 year old self before your Wedding Day, what would it be?

DAD: Think beyond yourself. Listen to the stories of people around you.

MOM: Communicate, listen, and learn to agree to disagree! Be supportive and respectful of one another and be clear on your vision for the future before you walk down the aisle. It’s important to be on the same page with your life plans.

CARA: What is one of the most unforgettable moments in your marriage?

MOM: The birth of each of our two children! They mean the world to us and bring us incredible joy.

CARA: I swear I didn’t pay her to say that. What is your favorite thing to do together?

DAD: Going to shows, galleries and roadtrips.

MOM: We enjoy taking weekend and day trips, attending musical theater productions, festivals, going to art galleries and traveling exhibits and SHOPPING! Recently, we’ve been adding new remodeling projects that we generally end up hiring someone else to complete!

CARA: Do you have a favorite Valentine’s Day memory that you can you share?

DAD: It’s not a favorite but I remember the time I had to go to Orlando on business and was to return on Valentine’s Day. I wanted to make sure your Mom had flowers so I arranged to have flowers delivered to the house Valentine’s Day morning. I got home and was in trouble because she didn’t get anything for Valentine’s Day. About an hour after explaining, the neighbor brought over the flowers because no one was at our house to receive them. Saved by the bell!

CARA: If you were to plan the perfect date for the other person, what would it be?

MOM: A weekend getaway to someplace we haven’t been where we can relax and just enjoy the area’s attractions. Maybe see a touring production of a show.

DAD: Dinner at Bravo’s and then a stroll around Barnes & Noble.

CARA: What is the key to happily ever after?

MOM: Talk, listen and be respectful and honest with each other. Be there and support one another through both good times as well as challenging ones.

DAD: The 3 C’s, Communication, Compromise and Cuddling!

Solutions by Cara specializes in preventing Wedding Day disasters like my parents experienced. We plan everything from life cycle events to romantic weekend getaways! Contact Cara today for a complimentary consultation, solutionsbycara@gmail.com or visit www.solutionsbycara.com.

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