Around Valentine’s Day, love is easily and beautifully communicated between loved ones. One couple has made it their point to communicate and has done so effectively and charmingly for the past 25 years. The Clarks, Sharon and Larry, originally met while both were on active duty with the US Army in Germany. The couple’s first date was a dinner in Kaiserslautern.
The two began dating and later married. They welcomed two daughters, LaKiah and Jasmine. As the couple adjusted to civilian life they motivated each other to be successful inside and outside of the home through love, admiration, and support. “We compromise, not sacrifice. Relationships should be about mutual happiness, which means you should be flexible when disagreements arise. Communicate, communicate, communicate–do not assume you know what someone is thinking. The best way to avoid disagreements or hurt feelings is to clearly articulate your issue or concern. Do not wait for days to go by and allow it to fester into something else, as this can lead to resentment. You both have to grow, if not you will grow apart. There must be at least two types of growth: personal and couple (if you have kids, then you will need family growth). Growth means change; in marriage and life in general growth is optional, but change is inevitable,” Sharon states.
The experience of falling in love is more than tingles and butterflies. Love is about the actual action and work that takes place for each other and with each other. “Marriage is a journey with two people who love, respect, and honor one another. However, it is a journey and not a race. Always remember to get up, give up, and grow up!” Larry adds:
Get Up: Don’t be still, always do something together at least once a month.
Give Up: When you grow you have to leave some things behind; when you are in third grade you don’t continue to learn second grade material.
Grow Up: To quote the good book, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways,” (1 Corinthians 13:11.) Married couples should be grown-ups; kids play around.
When I became a man, I gave up childish ways, Married couples should be grown-ups; kids play around.- 1 Corinthians 13:11
The pair offers sound and practical words of wisdom to other couples. “We work towards specific financial goals and we come together frequently to ensure we stay on track. We have attended financial courses to help us shore up our foundation and give us a better understanding of finances. Do not be afraid to have money talks . . . when it comes to combining money and marriage, while it may not matter what you do with your money, it is, however, important you both make decisions together and respect each other’s opinion. Just as each relationship is different, so is each couple’s financial situation. You both should discuss joint bank accounts, who’s paying which bill, and how you both will use any discretionary income jointly as a team.”
The Clarks strongly believe in working at their marriage and strongly suggest the same for new and seasoned couples. “Always go back to your ‘Why.’ Why do you love this person? Why did you marry this person? Love doesn’t come from the heart, it is just a muscle. Love is a verb, it is what you do that shows your spouse how special they are to you.”