Thirteen years ago today, I married my soul mate. Mark is a wonderful husband, the best father and an all-around great guy. I cannot imagine being married to anyone else.
I had an epiphany recently. It is the secret to a happy marriage. Once I thought of it, I realized it is also painfully obvious. Here it is: You have to marry the right person. Yep, that is it. There are things you can do to help improve a marriage, but there is nothing you can do to save a marriage to the wrong person.
I was 27 when we got married; Mark was a month short of 30. We had been dating for a little over a year. Our first date was in April of '92 at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas. We got engaged in October of that year. It was not the world's most romantic proposal, but it worked! Besides, I already knew he was the right guy.
We were married in my hometown of Camden, Arkansas at the Maul Road Church of Christ. My sister and my friends from college were my bridesmaids. A bunch of crazy pilots were our groomsmen. I used to refer to our Best Man as the "worst man" because he got the nervous giggles during the ceremony and made everyone laugh. I know that does not sound that bad, but at the time it felt disastrous. The preacher also introduced Mark and I as "Mr. and Mrs. Mark Holyfield" (my maiden name). As we were leaving my parent's house to start our honeymoon, Mark realized he had lost his wedding ring! Nerves and exhaustion caught up with me and I said to my sister "this has been the worst day of my life." I seriously thought she was going to slap me. We eventually found the ring and enjoyed a honeymoon in Jamaica. Except for one thing. The second night of our honeymoon, I thought it would be romantic to take a moonlit stroll on the beach. I was walking along in about ankle deep water thinking we were just the picture of romance when I was stung (stung seems very inadequate a word - more like viciously attacked) by a jellyfish. Yee-ow!
Our first several years were a struggle financially. We were both working for the same small airline (that is how we met) and we were not making a lot of money. In 1997 I went to work for the Paint Horse Journal . I worked there for a year before God blessed us with our first child and a job for Mark at Southwest Airlines at just about the same time. I quit my job and became a stay-at-home-mom, the only job I ever really wanted. Not quite 2 1/2 years later we were blessed with our second child. Mark is the best father I could imagine for our boys.
I think I chose very well.