Thirty years ago, college sweethearts and recent college graduates John and Julie Cook sealed their bond in marriage. In a world of online dating and IMs, Julie and John met in person. John remembers, “We were fixed up on a blind date at a pool party! I met her in the living room of our friend’s home and she was very nice. I quickly noticed her outgoing personality and felt very comfortable with her although it usually takes me a minute to warm up to someone. We ended up in the carport and talked deeply for a couple of hours. My friend asked me what I thought and I replied that we’d be best friends or one day get married! What a prediction!”
After building a friendship for a few months the two began dating. “John and I didn’t really begin dating till about six months later,” Julie fondly recalls. “That next winter, he visited me at Samford University where I was an undergrad student in music. He was a student at the University of Georgia–so we kept the road pretty hot between Athens and Birmingham! It was during that winter that we truly began dating and realizing that this friendship could be the real deal!”
Marriage is the ultimate “I Love You” expressed between a man and woman. Not just by the initial act declared in front of friends and family or on Valentine’s Day, but in everyday scenarios. John consistently works for Julie’s love and their marriage by professing his love in the form of letters. “John writes beautiful love letters to me. Every so often, I will find one resting on my pillow. I have saved every one of them.” The couple celebrated their 30th anniversary with a vacation to four Hawaiian Islands. “We got the whole Aloha experience through exploring, going to luaus, snorkeling, and eating the best barbeque I’ve ever had!” John shares. Julie and John often travel together, but find joy being with family or watching a movie.
If your spouse or family is taking a back seat to your career, social life, or other pursuits, it will take a toll on your marriage eventually,”John follows up with “Enjoy life! Walk with God, and He will direct your path.- The Cooks
Their union birthed a son, Robby, and a daughter, Abby. The couple is looking forward to their first grandchild this year. “The best thing you can do is love your spouse and let your children see that priority is placed on the Mom and Dad relationship,” Julie explains on tips to new couples. If you hit a rough patch–seek counsel! Early in our marriage we promised each other that if need be, we’d go see a counselor to help us before we let a problem get out of hand. Don’t be afraid to go for counseling! If your spouse won’t go–you go! We all bring things into our marriage that can affect the way we process things and view the world. This affects our ability to freely love our spouse and receive love! I have discovered that when handling the sharp knife of truth (discussing the painful things) we must have the mind-set of a surgeon rather than a mugger. The outcomes are vastly different. One brings healing–the other . . . destruction. Be ever so careful with your words! There really is a sweetness to working through adversity and finding level ground once again!”
With divorce looming over half of the couples who trade vows, Julie and John offer advice not only for a great marriage but for a great life. “Ask yourself this question, ‘What do I want my legacy to be?’ If your answer does not align with your current priorities–make a change! If your spouse or family is taking a back seat to your career, social life, or other pursuits, it will take a toll on your marriage eventually,” Julie warns. John follows up with “Enjoy life! Walk with God, and He will direct your path.”