Married at 18, Still together 37 years later: A conversation with my parents about marriage

I was 25 when Aaron and I got engaged.  A ripe old age in terms of southern tradition. The image of my Alabama-born grandmother expressing her concern over my lack of significant other at my college graduation party will forever be engrained in my memory.  Fast forward three years later, though, and we were living in Los Angeles where 25 was anything but ripe for marriage. I distinctly remember people asking out of genuine concern why we were in such a hurry and would want to marry so young.  I had no doubts, though, and hadn’t for some time. I could say with full confidence that Aaron was the one that I wanted to have by my side for whatever adventures life had in store for us.

After all, my own mother had been but 18 when she married my dad and I suppose their example of a happy marriage that survived the good and the bad is what gave me such confidence. The one married couple that I had grown up with my whole life sure made marriage look like a fun ride.  (They will be married 37 years this November!)

The funny thing is that I actually don’t even know some of the smaller details of their story, so in honor of Helzberg Diamonds’ 103rd anniversary — and the jewelry company’s mission to highlight stories of lasting love — my parents are here today to share some of their marriage wisdom.

(And thank you, Helzberg Diamonds for sponsoring this post. I love knowing that these sweet photos and personal details live here permanently now!)  Also, if you would like to ask my parents any questions, tune into Instagram tomorrow and they’ll be responding to commenters!

Where did you guys meet?

At a country music dance hall.  We were introduced by a mutual friend.

When did you know that you wanted to marry the other?

We were having a lot of fun together. I was getting ready to leave for Austin to go to college and we both felt like we needed to make the move together. We just clicked from the moment we met.

Dad, how did you choose the ring?

We chose it together. We wanted something that was unique but not over the top. Since I was working construction to save money for college and was about to move to Austin to pursue my degree, the ring budget was not very big. We found the perfect ring, and while it did not have a large stone, it still holds a lot of sentimental value because of the memories it invokes. We never replaced it because it means so much to us.

Mom, what was the best quality about dad when you married him? What’s his best quality now? 

He was very compassionate and a really hard worker. Even today, he works full time and serves in the National Guard. I knew we would always be able to make it because of his work ethic, and that he would be a great role model for our children. He always puts his family first and is emotionally grounded.

What was the most memorable moment of your wedding?

Watching your mom walk down the aisle. That’s the moment I knew nothing else really mattered. I was about to be joined with my life partner and whatever challenges we faced in the future, we were going to face them together.

What advice do you have for readers who are currently single?

Look beyond the surface. Know what you want in life and don’t stop looking until you find the person who is willing to share your dreams and work with you to make them a reality.

What advice do you have for married readers?

There will be challenges. Things don’t always work out like you planned them. You will have disagreements. Remember why you first fell in love. For us, we know we are not perfect and we challenge each other’s patience at times. But we know we are better together. The memories we have built over the years are the bonds that strengthen our relationship.

Do you have a special occasion you’d like to celebrate in your life? Visit Helzberg.com or a Helzberg Diamonds store near you from Friday, Sept. 21 – Sunday, Sept. 23 for the Lasting Love anniversary event, and save $103 when you spend $500 or more!

Photography by Katie Jameson

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  1. This is such a sweet story!!

    Jennifer
    Effortlessly Sophisticated