This week I”m excited to feature my own love story. Believe me when I say that our marriage is a true testament to the fact that Love Always Wins! My husband is my best friend, my biggest cheerleader, my personal comedian, and all-around partner. To say I love and appreciate him is an understatement!
engagement photo, 2001
Wedding Day, 2002
1. How long have you been married? We were married September 7, 2002 so as of today, 11 years
2. Tell us about your love story.
Madelyn- Although our hometowns are not far apart from each other in rural Alabama, we didn’t meet until we were both students at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, AL. We both had majors in the school of Agriculture and were required to take a Computers in Agriculture class. I took it at 8 am and Shaffer took it at 10 am. One day we were both in the lab after hours with other students working on an assignment for the class; each student had to create some type of letter or invitation and do a mail merge with a database we had created. My invitation was a mock 21st birthday party invitation, of course! As entertainment for my mock party, I listed a DJ that was very popular in both our hometowns. As I was printing the invitations to the one printer in the lab, Shaffer was standing at the printer waiting on something to be printed also. As he
nosily picked up my invitation, and noticed the DJ’s name, he screams out across the room “who in here knows Dr. Rock!?” I responded with “I do! Why?”.
A few days later I convinced my friend Wanda to talk to him and see if he was interested in me. In his “own way” he said he was and the rest is history! It was 6 loooonnnngg years later when were engaged on September 8, 2001.
3. Tell us a bit about your wedding (color, location, attendants, etc). Is there anything you would change?
We were married in an outdoor ceremony at a Southern, antebellum mansion named Gaineswood, in my hometown of Demopolis, Alabama. The bridesmaids wore orchid/lavender, two-piece, a-line ensembles with silver shoes while the groomsmen wore grey tuxedos. We had a total of 8 attendants each, 3 flower girls, 2 ring bearers, a mini bride & groom, and several personal attendants. My attendants and I walked up the aisle under 100 year old crepe myrtles that had grown together to form an arch overhead- gorgeous and the epitome of Southern! Our reception was held at the Demopolis Civic Center which overlooks the Tombigbee River home of the well-known Christmas on the River.
Madelyn– I would change two things about our wedding day: (1) I would have a smaller more intimate wedding. We sought to please so many people by adding everybody that wanted to be a part of the day. At some point, it became overwhelming. (2) I would take the time to enjoy the day and my guest more. The planner in me refused to let go of so many things. I was depending on so many friends and family to handle things and many things didn’t happen because of that and I found myself frustrated and upset at times on what should have been one of the happiest days of my life.
Shaffer– I would have more dancing at the reception!
4. What is your favorite wedding memory?
Madelyn– Jumping the broom!
Shaffer– Seeing Madelyn walk down the aisle and escorting my Mom to her seat. My mom had been very sick for years with kidney disease and the question arose several times if she would ever make it to my wedding. To be able to walk her down the aisle to her seat was an experience I sometimes thought I might not have.
5. What is the key to making your marriage successful?
Madelyn– Keep God first in your individual lives, learn to let things go and remember to laugh often together. Shaffer and I are always on the lookout for what we call “good material”- stuff that we can use later to laugh at when it’s just us.
Shaffer– (1) Knowing that this is a lifelong commitment and you have a covenant with God and your spouse. (2) Asking yourself during an argument, “will this matter tomorrow”? (3) Allow your mate to be themselves.
6. What are some of your favorite things to do together as a couple?
Madelyn– Dream big together & travel- We were married seven years before we had our first child so we traveled a lot. Some long trips and many short, weekend trips. We found that many of our best dream sessions and funniest moments happened as we were driving down the road and just talking. Even today, we love taking trips just because of the great conversations we seem to have.
Shaffer– Because Madelyn is my best friend, I just like spending any kind of time with her.
7. What would you tell the younger you on the eve of your wedding day?
Madelyn- Focus as much on your marriage as you are on your wedding. Prepare to be a loving and caring wife. I was so caught up in getting married and having the perfect wedding that I forgot to really pray and prepare for being a good wife and partner to my future husband.
Oh, and get another hairstyle for tomorrow! You’ll regret the one you have planned.
8. What does LAW (love always wins) mean to you as a couple?
Madelyn– Keep love at the center of your relationship always. If you focus on God’s definition of love (I Corinthians 13), you’ll never lose and your marriage will always flourish.
Shaffer– Love conquers all. The bible tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. When I think about how much He loved us and what he did for us in spite of what we’ve done, I can always find a way to forgive or do whatever is needed to get through troubled times.
9. How did you know your spouse was the right one for you?
Madelyn– It took me a while to figure out what I really wanted in a spouse. In the beginning I just thought it was cool and fun to have a boyfriend! Once I realized that having someone who loved the Lord, had a strong work ethic and made me laugh was important to me, I knew Shaffer was the one.
Shaffer– Madelyn really complements me in so many ways. After realizing what it was that God had planned in my life, I knew I would need some help. I also needed someone that didn’t mind dreaming big. Madelyn is that person.
10. What is your best marriage advice for couples soon to be married or considering marriage?
You really do have to have more than a natural, physical love to make marriage last. There will be days when you love your spouse but you don’t like them very much. Many things that you were smitten with in the beginning may annoy the heck out of you in later years. You need something deeper at the core of your relationship than just a natural, physical love.
We were both children of divorce and realized early on how that had negatively effected us. We both agreed that divorce wasn’t an option and we would do what it takes to make our marriage work. That determination, as well as having God at the foundation of both of our lives individually (not just as a couple), has been the secret sauce to our successful marriage.