Our Love Story

This post is sponsored by James Avery Jewelry.

Hello friends!

In honor of Valentines Day next week and as part of a Valentines campaign with James Avery jewelry, I’m sharing our love story!  I’ve shared a bit about how Mark and I met before, but I haven’t told you all that many details, so today I’m sharing more.

Mark and I met on e-Harmony in November of 2015.  I had been single at this point for about 4 years and we were both online looking for love.  Now, I’m the first to say that online dating can be a wonderful thing, but with any dating situation you definitely have to be careful.  I wrote a post about that a couple of years ago (Dating in your 50’s) and I encourage single women to give it a try if they haven’t.  We do so much online nowadays so why not date online?  Dating has to get started by some method and online is as good as any, from my experience.  You just have to do your homework with any dating situation.  I’ve learned some of those lessons the hard way.

Gone are the days when your best friends set you up on dates or you meet someone at work or at the grocery store. That hardly ever happens, so if you’re really looking for love, then I say go online. That’s where the largest pool of singles my age were located.  We were both signed up for e-Harmony and that’s where we connected.  It started with phone conversations.  I knew I liked his voice, he had a genteel Southern accent.  He was a Southern man which I really liked, his parents were still living, and he had 4 daughters all grown up, and at the time, 2 grandchildren, which has multiplied to 4 now.  From our early conversations, we had a lot in common.  We both grew up from a young age here in the Atlanta area.  I grew up in Marietta, he grew up mostly in Decatur, so we were on opposite sides of town. But in the 80’s and 90’s, for a period of many years, we both had houses in Marietta about 3 or 4 miles from each other, probably shopping in the same stores, living in completely different worlds, never knowing that our paths would cross all these years later.

We both liked house stuff and talking about that came naturally and it’s something that draws us together now, our excitement for making a house pretty.

{Mark brought me home these beautiful tulips that he knows I love, to celebrate our 6 month anniversary last week}

It’s not the easiest thing to merge lives when you are our age.  There are so many circumstances to look at and you have so many factors to consider, including family and children, houses, money, and lots more conversations to be had before you can determine if someone is a good fit for you.  It takes a lot of trust to get to the point of thinking about marriage at this age.  Trust was a huge thing for me and Mark passed those tests with flying colors.  He’s a trustworthy man and has been since day one.

Our first date was to a BBQ joint that Mark loved and it happened to be in Smyrna, a place he had been going to for years. So that’s where we met for our first date.  We talked non-stop for over 2 hours and I knew from the first date that he was someone I was interested in getting to know better.  He had so many good qualities and was a good conversationalist. Besides he was pretty cute and I even liked his bald head! I’d rather see a man shave his head than pretend that he’s still got plenty when it’s half gone.

We made plans immediately for our 2nd date and he took me to the Marietta Pilgrimage Christmas tour that year for the candelight tour.  It was so romantic walking around the sidewalks of Marietta and going in and out of these houses, just chatting and getting to know each other, talking about what we liked about each house.  We had dinner at a great Italian restaurant before the tour and that was so romantic too.

We first met the weekend after Thanksgiving that year and so we went into the Christmas season on our first dates together and that was a very special time.  It made for wonderful holiday memories.  Mark was such a great guy from the very start and I knew he was someone special and I’m pretty sure he felt the same way about me.  He’s a very normal (thank goodness, normal is really good), down to earth guy and that’s what drew me to him and his love of family was evident.  We’ve always gotten along so well and just had fun together and that was such a big plus, exactly what I needed.  We are best friends and enjoy spending time together.  We don’t fuss and bicker, but we do have fun picking on each other and teasing back and forth.

He asked me out for New Year’s Eve in early December and we had that special date planned in advance and what a fun time to look forward to.  We decided to get all dressed up and go to the Square for dinner and dancing and it really was a magical fun evening and one of the best New Year’s Eves I’ve ever had.  Love was blossoming between us pretty fast and we were both a bit smitten.

In late January 2016, I went on a cruise for a week and when I returned, he told me he loved me the night I came home. It was such a sweet reunion and what a wonderful beginning for us.  Falling in love was the best feeling!  We only dated each other from our very first date and then we built on that relationship, allowing it grow and blossom into love in those early months and beyond. We took the time to get to know each other though and didn’t rush into anything.  It was nice to not be playing any games.  We were committed to each other.

He is stable, comforting, sweet, funny, generous, definitely not boring, and everything I could have asked for in a man and husband. He makes me laugh all the time and we do a lot of laughing together.  I do believe God brought us both into each other’s lives at just the right time.  We had both been through some very rough years in our past and we had that in common too.  But neither of us had given up on love and we weren’t bitter, amazingly enough.

We got to know each other’s families very well during that time and felt very confident that we were making good choices in each other.  Not that we needed it, but we got our families approval on our relationship.  It was a risk worth taking again.  Love is a wonderful thing to find at any age and I think with difficulties come a greater appreciation for a really good solid love.

You all know the rest of the story.  We dated for a total of 20 months and got married last July in Savannah, GA and we bought a house together.  It was a sweet and romantic wedding with just the two of us along with an officiant and photographer.

We both feel very blessed to have found each other and just celebrated our 6 month anniversary. I told Mark the other day that the only thing I’d change is that I wish we were 20 years younger, so we would have more time together.  We are having the time of our lives in our new house and making it our own.

When I got the opportunity to work with James Avery again on this Valentines campaign, it was an easy fit.  They wanted us to share our love story and wear our love story.  Have you ever thought about what you’d choose to wear in jewelry to wear your love story, besides your wedding ring?

I along with some other bloggers were invited to shop at a local James Avery store here in Atlanta and it was so fun to get to look around the store and find something that commemorated our special love story.

I chose this beautiful necklace in silver and aqua tones.

We got married in Savannah and it reminded me of a treasure I’d find at a vintage shop, sort of an heirloom looking necklace with beautiful blue stones and  gorgeous fine details.

It also reminds me of one of our favorite places to visit, the beach.  We both dearly love the beach and have traveled to Florida twice with Mark’s family beach trip.

Blue is the color of the ocean on our favorite Gulf coast of Florida and reminds me of simple and sweet times on the beach, walking and looking for seashells.  This necklace will remind me of our love story when I wear it.

I had never shopped in a James Avery store, but there is one here in Norcross at The Forum, if you want to check them out.  I’m very impressed with their story and how they make their jewelry.

James Avery is a family owned company and they make the jewelry, a well as market and sell all their own products.  Skilled artisans in the Hill country of Texas make the jewelry and their designs represent values and timeless designs that commemorate what’s important in life.

Memories are made with their jewelry and from the comments you all left me on the last post, you all love James Avery jewelry too and have many family pieces that you’ve collected over the years. This jewelry is crafted with care and attention to detail, it’s evident in the necklace that I chose.

We all enjoyed our time at the James Avery shop, along with goodies and drinks while we were shopping. In case you don’t know about James Avery, the company has been around since 1965 and has grown and expanded since then.

There were so many beautiful things to choose from, but I’m so glad I got the necklace.  It’s a new piece to their line called the Tessares Necklace with Amazonite and Mother of Pearl and it immediately caught my eye when I saw it in the case.

I know I’ll enjoy this beautiful necklace for years to come and when I wear it, I’ll always remember picking it out especially to wear to celebrate OUR love story, Mark and I.  It’s a gorgeous piece with fine intricate details in the way it’s made and I will certainly wear it with pride.

What’s your love story?  Comment below and share your love story and click the link to visit James Avery and read more love stories! Please visit James Avery and your heart will be full reading more love stories.  

I don’t know about you, but when someone shares their love story, I always enjoy reading it.  I’d love to hear your love stories as well, if you’d like to share them with me here in the comments, please do!  I get giddy over love stories and it makes me so happy to hear when love blossoms between two people.  It’s extra special to me now at this stage of life and was SO worth waiting for!

Love is a wonderful thing and truly God’s gift to US!

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- Rhoda

Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your story and for posting about James Avery. I’m from Texas, and from the moment I became interested in jewelry as a young girl, my parents often got me a special piece of James Avery to celebrate Christmas or my birthday – rings, bracelets, earrings, pendants. I still have a lot of those pieces, as well as some other beautiful pieces that I inherited from my mother when she passed away 5 years ago. I love to wear her James Avery jewelry and think of her picking out something special for herself.

  2. Andrea G Corley says:

    I love your story Rhoda and I love James Avery. Especially since they are a family business and Christian. My sister has bought her girls rings and necklaces that are very special. I have a few charms but would love something from David this Valentines :).

    Enjoy your first Valentines married to Mark!

  3. I loved reading your loves story, Rhoda! There’s no doubt, you and Mark were meant to find each other, and the James Avery necklace is a wonderful piece to reflect your special love story! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  4. Mary Anne Russo says:

    Oh, I loved reading your love story . I love, love, love your post . I look forward to them! I have never heard of James Avery Jewelry and I’m a Jewelry gal! I will check them out . My husband and I are celebrating 33 years of marriage on the 23rd of February. This month is always a romantic time for us. We met at a dance . My first time going to a dance, he walked up to me and handed me such a line, telling me I was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen, Lol . We danced all night , my girlfriend gave him my phone number, because I was to shy, he called! We were married seventeen months later and we have been inseparable every since .Thirty Three years of marriage, four beautiful children, and we still look forward to spending everyday together !

  5. Love the necklace as well as your Love Story! Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Mark!

  6. Judy Clark says:

    Rhoda,

    What a blessing that you and Mark are together. I am so happy for you. Well deserved friend.
    You might not remember, but Paul and I met on I75. I was lost and he stopped to give me directions. He was on his way to Alabama, I was on my way to meet someone for dinner. First time that either of us had gone that direction. In 1970 I75 ended at Windy Hill. Remember that? He gave me directions and asked if he could call me when he got back. I told him that I was from Hiram. Back then Hiram was not on the map. So he thought that I had lied to him. He called my work and asked if he could take me out. I told him that I had to pick up my baby. He said “well, we will take the baby too”. I could not believe it. Most men did not want to date a woman with a child. The rest is history. We have been married for almost 47 years. He had two beautiful children, I had one, then we had one together. We have been through joy, heartache, the loss of a child, but through it all Jesus has been the center of our lives. He is the one that has sustained us and brought us this far in our beautiful journey. That is our love story.
    Happy Valentine’s Day!

    • Hey, Judy, yes I do remember that story and you and Paul meeting on I-75! Such a funny beginning, but you two have sustained and I’m so happy you are where you want to be in Austin! Love you!

      • Vicki Davis says:

        Hello Judy,

        I didn’t know the story of how you and Paul met! Thanks for sharing it and congrats on 47 years of marriage! What a testimony of God’s faithfulness and your commitment to each other.
        Bless you!
        Vicki

  7. Thanks for sharing your love story with us. My love story started with an awards banquet. My mother was being honored for service to the local bowling association. Since my father had passed away, she asked me to sit with her at the head table. Seated next to me was a man who was being awarded for achievement in bowling. We chatted off and on through the evening, just enjoying the occasion. He had known both my parents for years through bowling although I had never met him.
    On the following Monday, when I talked to my Mom, she told me that this man had called her and asked her permission to ask me on a date! I think she was giving me a heads up just in case I wasn’t interested. I was impressed that he had asked her first. So, he called, and we went out to dinner and really enjoyed each other’s company. Long story short, we met on Nov. 4, were engaged at Christmas and married the following June. I have never regretted waiting for God’s man, I was 39 when we met. We are soul mates and have been for nearly 23 years now.

  8. My husband was traveling on business in 1976 in Texas when he found James Avery jewelry.He bought me a necklace with a cross. I have always love it. And I guess you could say it is a symbol of our love story because I met him at church when I was 14, when my Dad became his pastor. We started dating at 16 and have been married 54 years.
    I am so happy you have found someone to love and who loves you. The way to a happy life for sure!

    • Nancy, I love your story! I am always a little envious when I hear stories like this, meeting your husband at such a young age & marrying your true love. You missed out on so much heartache and that’s so good!

  9. I went out with my husband once before he went into the Air Force. When he got out four years later we met up again at a party. We got married a year later and will celebrate our 36th anniversary in May. I would love a seahorse from the James Avery store to celebrate our anniversary. I enjoyed your love story Rhoda!

  10. My sweet husband and I met and fell in love in High School–and just yesterday (Feb 7th) we celebrated our 51st Anniversary–We have had good wonderful years and some hard years too. We have two daughters who are wonderful and they are such a tribute to our marriage!! I love James Avery jewelry and for the last few years my husband has been giving me charms for my bracelet and then part of my 2017 Christmas present was a necklace–a new piece that I can’t think of the name but it is a cross and a pearl –a wonderful sweet piece that I like you am already enjoying so much. Thank you for sharing your story. I am happy you found love again and all love is wonderful–the ones that have lasted for years and new love too–God Bless you both and Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!!

  11. Jimmy and I dated off and on in high school. We graduated and went our separate ways. We reconnected at our 50th high school reunion and realized the spark was still there. We both made some major changes in our lives, I moved back up North, and we’re living together in our own little lovenest. He’s the love of my life.

  12. This is the best love story! You and Mark were meant to be together.

  13. We went to high school together and separated, going to college in different SC towns. Both of us returned home after the first year and reconnected through my mother. He told me early on that he was falling for me and it scared me to death. Even though I was longing for a love, here he was, scaring me. But I soon felt the same way. And the rest is history. Two children and a grandbaby on the way now, we are more in love than ever. We are best friends and loves.

  14. What a lovely story. Thanks for sharing. I always describe my husband as “normal” too. It’s a wonderful thing! God bless you and your beloved.

  15. Oh and my hubby and I met online, as well. (Ave Maria Singles), but it was many years ago. We’ve been together for 15 years (married 10) and he is the greatest man I’ve ever known.

  16. Hey Rhoda…..I am so happy you found your true love! Do you remember Pioneer Woman when she first started blogging. Thousands of us were sitting on the edges of our seats everyday reading her love story about Marlboro Man ! So nice people sharing their love stories. 🙂 I love your story. Johnny & I have been married 20 years. 🙂

    • Thank you, Bonnie, and yes, I was one of those waiting for Ree to continue sharing her love story and then she wrote a book about it. It was a good one too. Congrats to you and Johnny on 20 years!

  17. Molly Tilson says:

    I loved your post!! It is very sweet and encouraging story for people who are searching for someone to share their life with. My husband and I will be married for 40 years this year! We grew up in the same Methodist church and were active in the youth group. It wasn’t a huge church and everyone knew everyone else. He is 3 years older than myself. My step sister went to high school with him. My Mom would pick me up from Middle School and then we would go and park on a side street to wait for my step sister. I would always be looking for him walking home and in his ROTC uniform. He played the guitar and sang a lot at church so I guess I had a “crush” on him. The funny thing was he was aware of me sitting in the car and he was looking for me too.. Well couple of years later, I was invited after church to go eat lunch with his group and the rest is history. We dated through my high school and got married a year after I graduated. Our first date was standing line to see the movie Jaws. We have had a good life. Full of ups and downs like most; growing and raising our children, houses being sold & bought, job loss and seeing our parents pass away. All in all, our life is very good for us. I would not have changed a thing. The best part is being Pops and Grandmolly to 5 and soon 6 precious little people who thrill us to no end.

  18. Your story is great; so glad y’all found each other.
    My husband and I met when I was in the 11th grade. He was with a friend that had come to visit me after I had had my tonsils removed. He began calling me, we went out, dated for 7 years to the day. Got married in 1991 and have been together ever since. He is my soul mate.

  19. Loved hearing your love story. I’ve got a good one too. I met my current husband at church in my early teen years. He was 12 years older and married with children. My parents and his brother & wife were best friends. Our families knew each other well from then on. Fast forward 35 years… I went through a difficult divorce and he was a widower. We met up again on Easter Sunday at church in 2010. I commented to a friend he’d be a great dinner/movie date. I had been single for nearly 14 years and he was widowed over 4 years. My friend told him to call me and he did! We hit it off from the first date and saw each other nearly every day for the next month. I was 47 and he was 59. We knew of each other and the history of both our families so trust was an easy issue to establish from the get go. All we had to do was get to know each other better. He proposed 30 days later and we married after 4 months of dating. We told NO ONE but our immediate family. On the Sunday we got married, my Dad (who was the church pastor), preached the sermon and said the benediction. He then stopped and said, “Oh, I’d love to invite everyone of you to stay for a family celebration. John and Robin are going to get married RIGHT NOW and you are invited!” Both our families had been attending and pastoring at this church for 33 years so we knew everyone. The church had a uproar of hoops and hollering – just crazy excitement and applause. It was such a fun surprise and made a great memory of our wedding day/love story.

    • HI, Robin, I love your story, especially because my dad was a pastor too in a small church. I can imagine the excitement that day brought!

    • Literally just got chills! Love this story Robin!

      Rhoda, this was a fabulous post that I am finally having time to read. Such fun.

  20. Helena Dias says:

    Thank you for sharing your love story. After heart break, I too found my soul mate. He is funny, loving and trustworthy. We met long away and have been together for almost 20 years. Some day, we may even make it official.

  21. Becky in 'Bama says:

    You are guys are a great ‘team’ with a sound marriage. Wishing you many happy days and years. My husband and I met at a birthday party my senior year (I’m older than him). He pursued me quite intensely and we dated 2.5 years before we married – which is 42 years now. The funny part: when I was working at getting my driver’s license – I had a minor accident my first time behind the wheel – and ran the car into a deep ditch – in HIS parents’ front yard. He didn’t know me then, but he remembered the wrecker coming to drag the car back to level ground. Oh brother. 🙂

    • Hey, Becky, I love that! Haha, how could he forget a car getting dragged out of the ditch at his parent’s house. That’s too funny!

  22. Shelia Massey says:

    Your story is refreshing! Glad you both found love. Love or true love is special at any age. I have been married nearly 49 yrs. and looking forward to 50! I have been so blessed to have that long lasting love with my husband. Thank you for sharing “ your story”.

  23. Thanks for sharing your love story, it is a good one for sure. I have told you this before but you are a great writer.

  24. Loved reading your Love Story today and it has put me in the mood for Valentine’s Day! My husband and I met at a dance that was held twice a week for young singles. After meeting there, we talked on the phone quite a bit & went out once or twice. I knew right away that I liked him a lot & my family really like him too. I could tell he was perfect for me but then I didn’t see him at the dances anymore for quite awhile. The next time I saw him, I made it my mission to walk past him and he stopped me. He said he had been out of town for 6 weeks in training for the company that he worked for. Then to my surprise, he told me I was the one girl he could fall in love it. That was the beginning of a wonderful romance. We have been married for 42 wonderful years, have 2 fantastic children and 4 fantastic grandchildren.

  25. Julie Curtis says:

    When it was time to give my oldest granddaughter something to commemorate asking Jesus into her heart and being baptized the first thing I thought of was a cross charm necklace from James Avery. I had her baptism date engraved on the charm. I’m proud to say I’ve now given 3 more of my 5 granddaughters the same chain and charm! Our little Emma is only 3 and I can’t wait for the day I order hers.

  26. Not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. Lost my love and best friend to pancreatic cancer in October 2015, before we had a chance to marry and make all those special memories. Good grief, this post could have at least included the opportunity to win something. 🙂 (Just kidding about that part.)

    • Hi, Jane, I’m so sorry about your loss. I can’t imagine how hard that would be to find someone and lose them. Big hugs to you on Valentines Day this year!

    • Oh Jane, I am so sorry. My husband was madly in love with a woman that passed away with a virulent breast cancer. They knew one another less than a year. He was single and sad (his words) for about 8 years before we met He is the love of my life, and I believe him when he says I am his, but sometimes I feel I married a widow. Try not to give up, your best friend would want you to be happy.

  27. My love story is the sweetest. We both never dreamed we would ever find true love again. This Sat. Feb 10th….is the day we met……28 years ago. I was invited to go to the Grand Ole Opry by some friends …since my divorce ( a single Mom with two small children) I had not dated at all (it had been over a year) sitting at home alone each week-end the kids were at their Dads. Well, after some reluctance. …I gave in and said yes…..I’ll go. Well…..on the way to there, one of the girls said she had a back stage pass. I thought…how cool is that. After mingling in the Green Room (that’s where the Opry stars hang out before their appearances on stage. Well, someone introduced us to the staff drummer. He was so nice. A guy in our group knew a friend of his…so after the Opry…we all went out to a place to hear a band he knew ….we sat and talked awhile, we danced. ….which I hadn’t done in a long while……I felt so comfortable with him. He wad funny and adorable. Well….before the night ended…he asked me for my phone number…..well….I reluctantly gave it to him. After several phone conversations. ..I invited him to come to my home town for the day. We went to lunch at a little meat & 3 restaurant…we talked for a couple of hours. He went back to Nashville later that day. We continued to see each other…..talk about a long distant dating. We did it for 10 years. We met in 1990…..we got married in 2000. He is the love of my life.
    So…even if you are older….there is love out there for EVERYONE.

    • HI, Sue, thanks for sharing your love story, that’s so sweet. Ten years is a long time, you’ve got some patience to wait that long, but congrats on finding love!!

  28. Sheree Winstead says:

    Beautiful jewelry! And beautiful love story…much like ours! I met my husband on e-harmony 7 years ago. We married 5 1/2 years ago. He proposed to me during a walk in Duke Gardens (very romantic). I was 56 and he was 62. I had been in a verbally abusive marriage for 21 years. Had been single for 7 years when I met my husband. I never knew love and marriage could be this wonderful. I’m thankful to God for second chances! And so happy for you and your husband! Love your blog!❤️❤️❤️

    • Thank you, Sheree, I too have been through some horrors in previous relationships and it’s so wonderful to be in a good one finally. Happy for you too!

  29. Hi Rhoda!

    What a beautiful love story!

    I live in Victoria, Canada, where there are 7 women for every man. Because I’m average looking and about 25 pounds overweight, it’s really difficult for me to get a date even though I’m kind, funny and generous. I’ve been on 8 dating sites over the course of the last 4 1/2 years and the only men who contact me are scammers. Few of the (average-looking, not handsome) men I send messages to ever reply and, of the ones who do, the comments I receive are discouraging – comments like “You’re not pretty enough to be on a dating site.”, “You should try wearing more makeup and sexier clothes”, “You’re too fat to be on a dating site.” and my all-time favourite “Surely you don’t think someone like you is going to find love. You don’t have anything going for you.”

    I know women who’ve met their current boyfriends/husbands online, but they’re all above average looking. I think dating sites definitely work for attractive people, not so much for the rest of us. After 30 years of being single and 4 1/2 years of being on dating sites, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’ll be single for the rest of my life.

    • Oh, Squeak, that makes my heart hurt for you! I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through that on dating sites. Men can be so callous and cold. I wish I could give you more hope, but I do believe there is someone for everyone if you can just connect with them.

      • Thanks, Rhoda!

        It’s the connecting part that’s eluding me.

        • I know that is so hard as we get older, but don’t totally give up hope. There are social events out there and maybe just maybe someone will cross your path. I believe God can open those doors!

  30. Hi Rhoda,this August we will be married 48 years. We live in a small town and everybody cruised the streets and backed their cars in places for people to stop and talk. He was fresh out of the Navy and we just clicked. I honestly would have married him after our first date but we married 18 months later. Pawpaw and Grammy Sue are enjoying our grandchildren and retirement.

  31. Hi Rhoda,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, one of the things that attracted me was that you were single and in your 50s also. I too have met someone on eHarmony after being single for 3 years. I feel as though you are telling my story! I met Jon from the site almost 10 months ago and he is truly my best friend. Thanks so much for sharing, online dating can be a great thing!

  32. I don’t have a romantic story about how I met my husband. It was in a bar. I moved to Atlanta in the mid-80’s when I was 26 and bar hopping with my girlfriends became my way of meeting men. Timothy John’s, Friday’s at the Prado, Houlihan’s, wild times back then. Our first date was to the Piedmont Arts Festival and we had a good time walking through the park, talking and listening to the music. After several dates, he told me he had a confession to make. I thought oh no, he is married but it turned out he had lied about his age. I was so relieved that I didn’t care that he was 10 years older than me. It was the first marriage for both of us and we’ve been together for 28 years. He is gregarious and I am reserved, we have similar interests and we don’t go to bed angry. That has worked for us.

    • Hey, Susan, I love that! And I hear you, I went to those same places back in my 20’s when I was single too, all the ones you mentioned. It was a way of getting out and being social in Atlanta. So happy that you found your guy and have been married so long.

  33. Betty McIntyre says:

    I was in High School he was in college. We had one date…he said I needed to grow up. Two years later, we ran into each other, began dating. We will be married. 58 years June 19th.

  34. We were college sweethearts who went separate ways with hurt feelings. 5 years later, a letter asking for forgiveness reconnected us. We celebrate 18 years of marriage this fall. If I were to choose a piece of jewelry that represented our love story, I think it’d be a cross with a diamond – it all comes back to Jesus & a diamond seems to represent all that’s lovely, pure, and withstands testing.

  35. What a lovely love story! Was your first date at Old South BBQ, by any chance? I grew up in the Smyrna area 🙂

    • Yes, Tamara, Old South is Mark’s favorite place and he grew up going there!! I liked it, but now we like Poe’s BBQ on Whitlock the best. Have you been there?

      • I haven’t been to Poe’s but will definitely give it a try when I’m back in town. I am so happy that you have found your true love, it definitely shines out in your beautiful pictures!

  36. What a wonderful love story! My husband and I have been married for 16 years. Our first initial meeting was at a church I was attending that met in a school. A mutual friend introduced that day. He never came back to the church. I ended up going back to a church I had attended before with a larger singles group. The first Sunday that I went back to that church I walked into the Sunday School class and lo and behold there he sat! Talk about a divine appointment! Mind you we lived in a metroplex area..what were the odds? We did not end up dating until a year later. We both grew up with the same values and our families are so much alike! God definitely brought us together! And to take the cake…our names are Jon and Johnna! lol Looking forward to many more years with my sweetheart!

    • Johnna, that’s a very sweet story too, so glad you found your man! Dating in churches can be very tough, it always felt like competition to me and I didn’t have much luck with that.

  37. Yes, it can be. I have several friends who have met their spouses through online services and have been happily married for several years now! Congrats and wishing you and Mark many blessings!

  38. In August, my husband & I will celebrate 30 years! We met in high school (we went to rival schools), but did not date until my senior year of college. As we dated, we realized we had many, many near misses of running into each other again. However, God’s timing is perfect. And that is true of you and Mark as well. Y’alls is such a sweet and honest story. I wish you many happy years together.

    BTW, being a Texas girl, I have many pieces of James Avery…not the least is my charm bracelet from summer camp. Love that company and their story.

    • Thank you for sharing, Brandye, what a great story for you too. So many of you have long lasting marriages and that makes me so happy. It didn’t happen to me, but it did with my parents and I’m grateful for all the good role models you all have put out there.

  39. My love story is that I was married to a wonderful Christian man for 44 years 4 months and 4 days. We met at 16 , married at 18 have a wonderful son and daughter in law and 2 grandchildren . He was my everything, my best friend.
    Yesterday he has been gone for 4 lonely years

    • Linda, I’m so sorry for your loss.

      • Thanks Rhoda. I appreciate your kindness. IAM so happy that you found love again….remember to tell each other every day. ” I Love You ” like my husband and I did. We never know when the Lord will call us home.

  40. John and I got off to a less than romantic start way back in 1972. I was struggling in a chemistry class at the College of Charleston, and he was a teaching assistant in the labs. One day I accidentally started a fire in lab on a distillation apparatus. The next day Mr. Smart Aleck walked in and said “are you the dumb blonde who started the fire?” (This was back in the days before political correctness!!!). I looked around and realized I was the ONLY blonde so I had to admit it. He started tutoring me, I pulled my grades up and made an A. We got married a year later, and this April will be celebrating our 45th anniversary!

    I adore your magical love story and wish you and Mark many, many years of happiness!

    • Roxanne, that is so cute and funny! I love that you got married after all that and 45 years later. Wow, you ladies are inspirational with your long years of marriage. I’ll never make that, but I hope Mark and I get many years together.

  41. What a sweet story! I am absolutely thrilled for you. It reminds me of one of the stories they tell at the beginning of “When Harry Met Sally,” the couple that lived really close to each other in New York all those years and then met in Chicago. God’s timing is perfect! <3

  42. I love you story, I’ve followed you from the beginning when you started blogging. You both have been wonderfully blessed.

  43. I love to read love stories too Rhoda! Thank you for sharing yours with all of us. Mine is similar in that I found myself single at the age of 46 after 18 years of marriage. After my divorce, I bought a little house in town. Almost 2 years later, I was getting ready to let my dogs out for the last time that night when I heard several loud noises outside. I looked out of my front door to see a car had crashed in my driveway and the driver was taking off on foot. I called dispatch to request someone come out to my house if for no other reason than to get the car out of my driveway before I had to go to work in the morning. Being as it was a small town, dispatch sent every.single.person who had anything to do with rescue/law enforcement to my house. It was late at night and there I was standing in my driveway barefoot, in my pajamas and my hair pinned back off of my face with not a stitch of makeup on having just put on my old lady cream :). Minutes after half the town’s arrival, a police car pulled up and out came a 6’3″ state trooper. I immediately thought how handsome he was and was mortified at my appearance but figured since he was probably a bit older than I was, he was married. Well, he came back the next day to take some pictures of the crash site and made it clear he was not married. After testifying at the hearing, I didn’t think I would see him again but a few days later he asked me out. Like you, we started dating during the holiday season and the first gift he ever gave me was a necklace with our birthstones. He had it engraved with the day we met. We married three and a half months later and also like you, we did it alone with just the officiant and his wife who took photos. Next month we’ll have our 2 year anniversary. I never thought I would remarry but God sent me exactly what I had prayed for and I thank Him every day. Thank you for letting me share my love story.

    • HI, Shawne, oh my gosh, your story made me smile so big and what a neat way to meet and get married. I could just see you standing out there with no makeup on and still noticing a handsome trooper. Such a sweet story, congrats on your happily ever after! I LOVE love stories!

  44. Your love story should make any doubters believe in love!
    My husband and I married 17 years ago after meeting at the hospital where we both worked and where our son was eventually born. Just like you, we married in a very private ceremony. We were the only ones that mattered in that special moment.

  45. Deborah Dickson says:

    Rhoda, I surely enjoyed reading everything that you wrote. Thank you so much for the in-depth look into the making of your new love and marriage. I am so, so happy for you. Also, I love the way that you explain to inform without trying to impress. You seem so real, and if you were right here in Little Rock, I know we would be friends. Many happy wishes for a love that never ends. And, yes, I definitely believe that God brings people together. I want to share something with you that I have had for years. It is a quote by Dr. Charles Stanley … “His invisible hand is already at work on our behalf – arranging situations to accomplish His will, opening hearts, and preparing us to receive what He wants to give.”

  46. My husband and I have been married almost 41 years. We met on our college campus passing each other on the sidewalk going to class. We just smiled and said hi! Back then, if you were Greek, you would wear your tshirt with your letters and your name was across the back. Apparently, after we crossed paths, he turned around to see my name and called the president of my sorority to get my dorm room phone number. The first time he called, we talked for three hours! He invited me to a frat dance and we married a year to the day of that dance. Now, two daughters, one SIL, and two grandboys later, we are still best friends. Oh, yes, the James Avery! As a Texas girl, I have many pieces, as do my daughters. I wear a JA ring every day and I have the cross with pearl necklace mentioned above. I have followed your love story since you introduced Mark to your audience. He is a keeper! Best wishes for a long life together!

  47. Hi Rhoda –

    I was pulling for you and Mark from the beginning…I just had a feeling. Your story and family makes me smile every time!

    I met my husband in an interesting way. I worked with an “interesting” woman who wanted to introduce me to this guy who lived in her apartment complex that she thought would be perfect for me, but I wanted no part of someone she thought would be perfect for me. She was telling him that he should meet someone she works with who would be perfect for him, but he wanted nothing to do with someone she thought would be perfect for him because of who she is. On a side note and to tell you what kind of a guy he is, he continued to be “friends” with her because she had a young son, and he felt sorry for her son, so he hung out with the boy. Anyway, I work for a local government that was having a special night at the Baltimore Orioles, he went with this woman’s son, and I was there with friends, so she had her chance to introduce us.

    Literally, we looked into each other’s eyes, said nice to meet you and that was it. That was on a Tuesday in early May in 1997, we talked for three hours on Friday, had our first date on Saturday, and spent nearly every weekend together after that. We got engaged in August and married in November. That was 20+ years ago and still the best decision we’ve ever made. Because it seemed so fast, we used to say that we had been together for many moons. :0) .

    He is so kind, caring and loving. I am so lucky to still have him….he nearly died three years ago from a serious illness, which makes me appreciate him all the more!

    Thank you for the chance to share.

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

    • Hi, Lisa, thanks for pulling for us! It was meant to be and I loved reading your story too. That’s so cute, that “interesting” woman must have had an idea that you 2 would be a good match.

  48. The sweetest thing about my husband’s and my love story is that when he was ready to propose to me (unknown to me at the time) before he surprised me, he asked my then 9 year old daughter if it would be all right for us to get married. I knew he was a keeper when we started dating! We’ve been married 23 years now.

  49. Kellie Smith says:

    Thanks for the beautiful post! I have been wanting to know how you met! Great story.. Sorry to say, I don’t have a great love story to share. I’ve been divorced 15 yrs. I have tried online dating off/on.. just hasn’t been a good experience. I’m so happy it worked for you!
    The piece of jewelry you chose is really pretty! I enjoy your daily post/ blogs.. Thanks for sharing,

  50. Hi, Rhoda. I’ve followed your blog for a long time. You may not recall, but I decided one day to tell you how to spell mantel. Lots of bloggers and realtors get it wrong and usually hear from me. You and your special man have my best wishes and congratulations. I married my fourth husband when I was 47 years old, and our 30th anniversary is coming up on May 7. I won’t go into details on my past marriages because this one is the best. I give all the credit to my wonderful husband. He’s truly a blessing. Oh, yes, I’m one of those Texans with a large collection of James Avery jewelry. I’d like to add that James Avery started in 1954, not 1965. My first piece was a bracelet with a sand dollar on it that my aunt who lived in Kerrvile, TX, gave me when I was a teenager in the 1950s. Love all my James Avery items. It’s a wonderful company with beautiful products.

    • Hey, Daphne, I vaguely remember a mantel correction. I do have a reader who regularly spell checks for me and sends me early morning typo corrections, which I don’t mind, I just go fix them! So happy you finally found your Prince Charming too. For some of us, it takes a lifetime!

  51. Our love story…..we met at church Easter Sunday 2011, his marriage had gone south the year before, I had been widowed for 5 years. I was handing out bulletins and he was one of the last people to arrive. He was dressed in a suit, overcoat, grown a beard and tanned. I hadn’t seen him in a year and I think my jaw dropped! When he came over to say hi, I told him I loved the beard and he invited me to lunch. I think I told him I don’t think so but he looked wonderful! Problem was, I kept turning around looking at him and thinking this guy is way up here and I’m low on the hog, not going to work out! So after the service, I had made up my mind, this def was not going work out, but I walked over to him and told him it was really nice seeing him again. He asked me the second time to lunch and in a split second, I grabbed a paper, wrote my name and number on it and told him, if he was interested, give me a call. He did, we went to lunch, 3 weeks later we knew something was going on, got married in late June. I found out on the first date he was 14 years older than, “ my GF’s words were “ age, smage, what’s the difference, he’s good looking, great guy, what’s your problem”? After that analysis there wasn’t one! We needed to clear it with our children, all 6 of them. We had a lovely small wedding in a local park, God is so good!

  52. Oops, I forgot to mention, he is 86, I’m 72.

  53. Vicki Davis says:

    Dear Rhoda,
    Thank you for sharing your love story with your readers. Mark is such a fine man and it is a blessing to see you so happy. You know my love story! We met at a Halloween Party when I was 18 and wouldn’t dance with him when he asked. We had mutual friends and ran into each other throughout the next year and began dating. During the 5 1/2 years we dated, we had problems including a broken engagement. Once we both committed to living according to God’s will for our lives, we had an 8 day engagement and were married in a private ceremony at my parent’s church, AT CHRISTMAS TIME! You were my only attendant! Yes, the past 36 years have been mostly wonderful with some bouts of anger, bitterness and unforgivingness. But it is the tests of difficult times that strengthen the bond. Our history from our younger days, our families, and now our sons, daughters-in-law and our 4 precious grandchildren are integral to our commitment to each other and to God. We had a deep love for each other from the very beginning. God has blessed our efforts. “A cord of three strands is not easily broken”. Blessings to all.
    Vicki

  54. VintageBeachgirl says:

    What a wonderful love story, I’m so happy for you and Mark. Thank you for sharing your love story with us. I love your necklace, it’s one I might have chosen for myself if I were shopping for myself. I’d never heard of James Avery Jewelers before and will enjoy looking at their lovely selections of jewelry.

  55. Michelle H. says:

    I also love hearing how couples met and fell in love. I met my husband of 42 years in church. I was a senior in high school and he was a senior in college. After attending for 6 months, with him as my Sunday School teacher (high school class), he asked me out and the rest is history. He was the first boyfriend I ever had, the first boy I ever kissed, and has always been my sweetheart, my best friend, and my rock! Interestingly, it was his mother (who passed away a year ago) who suggested he ask me out! We were married a little over two years after our first date and have two daughters and two grandchildren.

    • Aww, sweet story Michelle. I love that you found him early on, you were very blessed not to have to go through some of the misery many of us have had through the years.

  56. Debra Cleary says:

    Hi Rhoda!
    I so loved your love story as I love all your wonderful posts of your beautiful life with Mark! My sister recommended I follow you telling me that I was you, so of course, I had to take a peek and I am so hooked!
    My husband and I met on EHarmony as well, we married in 2015 and are happy as can be running a ranch and a ministry, loving our children and grand children, and dogs, did I mention dogs?
    We raise wild sheep, wild goats, Bongo and white tail deer on our ranch.
    We live in a big rambling ranch house that we will begin to renovate just as soon as our ranch family’s house is complete and they move into it! I’m so excited for that! I wish you were closer to give me guidance as I love your style! I’m thrilled that you share so much on Instagram, you almost feel like a friend to me….
    As for James Avery, they are our long time friends. Every girl in our family has a loaded JA charm bracelet and many other pieces to go along with it. It’s the perfect gift, always quality, timeless beauty. We are Texans and they do that very well!
    I hope I haven’t over shared here, thank you for your lovely posts! Have a good weekend!
    Deb

    • HI, Deb, it’s so nice to meet you and so glad you are following along. Sounds like a wonderful love story for you too and what an exciting life of animals on your TX ranch. Thank you so much & I hope you’ll enjoy all our projects!

  57. A beautiful story and a beautiful couple inside and out!

  58. I love your “love story” Rhoda and I remember when you met him and of course on our cruise I knew you had fallen for your new guy and although we had fun on the cruise and you posted about the week we had on Carnival you could not wait to get back home to be with Mark! It has been a wonderful story to follow and when I finally met Mark I was thrilled Y’all met and it was the real deal! A perfect match! I love y’all and can’t wait to see all the projects y’all will do! Congratulations newlyweds ❣️

    • Thank you, Beth, you were with me on that cruise and even though it was so much fun, I was excited to get home to Mark!

  59. OH, I love hearing your story!!! But, I really wish this weren’t true: “Gone are the days when your best friends set you up on dates or you meet someone at work or at the grocery store. ” I’m 46 and “single, never married” as they say here in the South. I’ve tried online and it was awful. It’s been almost 10 years so maybe I should try again? But, honestly, I wish my friends had other single friends and would introduce me. But, they don’t even have unmarried friends. Sigh.

    • HI, Kristin, oh I hate to burst bubbles, but it really has changed and it’s so much harder to get introduced to friends especially as we continue to get older. The date pool and prospective partners diminish the older we get and then we’re dealing with divorced people and yep,I’m one too, but that’s what you face, as you know. With everyone online now, it just makes sense to look there as an avenue for connecting. So don’t give up on it too fast, maybe it’s time to give it another try. It can definitely work, it did for us!

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