On the oak tree, I hope we feel like this forever… (OutKast, “Ms. Jackson”)
I wanted to highlight a couple who took a sip from young love’s cup; and couldn’t put it down.
One of my closest friends, Crystal (29), and her husband, Carl (32), serve as proof that “puppy love” can develop into something beautiful and eternal; even in this day and age. Crystal and I have been friends since we were 5 and 6 years old. She’s smart, a devoted mom, gorgeous, always there when I need her and one of the funniest people I have the pleasure of knowing. Carl seems quiet, but he’s super witty and very insightful. He’s an amazing father and role-model for their 3 handsome sons. (And one is my godson!)
We were in high school when she started talking about this guy named Carlton. She’d light up whenever she brought him up. I was like, “Yeah, yeah that’s great…” because all I really wanted to know was if Carl had a cute friend, so we could double date and all hang out together.
It’s been a joy to watch my friends’ relationship grow from crush, to “going together”, to engagement, to marriage. They are truly one of the most loving and solid young couples I know. Below, you’ll find that they were asked the same questions so that we could get both perspectives.
Cheers to Carl and Crystal!
How long have you two been together?
Crystal: 12 years in August.
Carl: It’s been about 12 years.
How long have you been married?
Both: It’ll be 9 years in August.
How old were you when you two met?
Crystal: I was 16.
Carl: I was 19 already… she was 16.
How old were you when you started “going steady”?
Crystal: We started dating a couple of weeks before my 17th birthday.
Carl: I was 19, she was 17.
What are some of the challenges you faced as a young couple?
Crystal: We were so young… it was hard trying to be a woman with the mind of a child. I had to remind myself who I was (as a mother and wife). I didn’t get to respond like a typical 19 year old.
Carl: For me, it was challenging to be a good husband at the age of 23. The transition was challenging because I was still immature. All of my friends weren’t really on board with me getting married… they were still trying to be out every night… I couldn’t do that.
When did you realize your partner was “the one”?
Crystal: It sounds cliché, but I always knew he was the one. After our first conversation, I knew I wanted to know more about him.
Carl: Her loyalty to me made me realize she was the one.
Thinking back, is there anything you would have changed?
Crystal: Yes, I would have fought for myself as much as I fought for him early on. I think it’s important for young women (especially young women) to not lose themselves throughout the relationship.
Carl: Yeah, I would have manned up a lot sooner. It would have made my life easier in the beginning; instead of trying to have my cake and eat it too. It took maturity and me understanding that my wife was everything that I asked for. So I needed to man up by any means necessary in order to keep her.
What advice would you offer to young sweethearts?
Crystal: Love is beautiful; but it’s not perfect. So you have to work hard on your relationship. Understand your partner’s wants, needs, likes and dislikes and make sure they understand yours. The more you grow together, the closer and stronger your relationship will be. Be patient with one another!
Carl: For the men, cherish her heart. Always treat her like a queen and make sure to always apologize.
For the women, do not compromise yourself to be with a man. Teach him how to treat you. Also, if you appreciate him, tell him. Let him know. We need to hear that.