When Harry met Sally, he was kissing another girl. And when they ran into each other again years later, she was kissing another man. From the get-go, they despised each other — until they fell for one another. Love is funny, isn’t it? Meet four dynamic duos who share their own love stories and how they keep the sparks of romance alive years down the road.
Pete and Kitty Dobbs
Married 60 Years
In the late 1940s, Pete Dobbs was working as a soda jerk in a local drugstore. “I went there almost every day to see him, ” Kitty says. “He made the best cherry Cokes.”
Two years his senior, Kitty helped Pete focus through high school. “I used to make straight A’s (at Murphy), until I fell in love and started doing his homework, ” she says. One night after his graduation, Pete and Kitty went out with friends. On the drive home, Pete said, “We need to get married.” He surprised her with a beautiful ring the very next night.
On Nov. 3, 1951, Pete and Kitty took their vows at West End Baptist Church. “We never kissed when the pastor announced us husband and wife, ” Kitty exclaims. “We don’t do that here, ” Pete had told her. But, she assures, with a laugh, “We made up for it when we renewed our vows at our 50th anniversary ceremony.”
While engaged to his bride-to-be, Pete became a partner in his dad’s construction company. One day, while at work, he lost his wallet. Twenty-five years later, the Dobbs were still living in Mobile, where they had raised their three children. Out of the blue, he received a call that someone had found his old wallet. A family was remodeling their home, and discovered it tucked in a crevice in their attic. Inside was Pete’s first dollar he’d earned as a working man – and a picture of Kitty. On the back of the photo he had written, “Skinny legs but will do.”
Throughout their six decades of marriage, Pete has never adhered to Kitty’s request that he wipe his feet before coming in the house, but she has gotten over it. “I realized it just wasn’t that important in the overall picture of spending our life together, ” she says.
The couple’s No. 1 piece of advice: Continue your relationship by doing things together and enjoying each other’s company. The Dobbs have traveled many miles seeing the country, foreign lands, and following the Alabama football team in their R.V. They credit God and prayer for getting them this far on their journey together. “And I always remember a saying I heard when I was first married, ” Kitty says. “‘If you don’t go with him, someone else will.’”
David and Margaret Richey
Married 25 Years
During the brisk October of 1985, Margaret and David Richey shared a common passion: ministry. At a conference, he noticed her across the room; she noticed him, although neither one was looking for a relationship. At first, they were simply colleagues, but sparks soon began to fly. “She was in my every waking thought, ” David says. “After 5 days of fasting, I knew he was the one for me, but I wasn’t going to tell him unless he approached me, ” Margaret says.
He doesn’t remember where they were; she doesn’t remember the date. But they both vividly recall what he said. When David proposed, he quoted Psalm 18:22. She said yes, and they were married that February. “Why wait when you’ve found the best thing that ever happened to you?” David says. (Harry would agree.)
They were married in David’s hometown of Detroit during the worst snowstorm of the season. “But it was still a great wedding day, ” David says.
In an argument early on in their marriage, David said to her, “Divorce is not an option.”
“Those words were said in such loving authority that they remain in my heart today, ” Margaret says. “I made a covenant with him in the presence of God to remain for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.”
Two years later, they headed to the warm, sunny South for work at a Mobile church. The Richeys are now proud parents of five children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Both David and Margaret pastor at Gulf Coast Christian Center where he regularly facilitates couples’ counseling.
David believes the home should be a safe haven. “Work with that vision in mind, and no matter how long it takes to build that sanctuary, you build it until it’s complete. Then, you protect what you’ve built.”
Margaret says they’ve made it this far by putting God first, praying together and encouraging each other. “We respect one another’s space and opinions, ” she adds. “And we listen to each other.” They table issues that they disagree on so that they don’t try to persuade the other. “Hence, no motorcycle for me, ” David says.
On the homefront, Margaret loves to have her feet rubbed, but David hates rubbing feet. “There’s not a point to it, ” he says, but he still does it. “I love the response, ” he laughs. “There’s nothing better than a relaxed woman.”
Margaret describes David as a semi-perfectionist, type-A personality. She’s the opposite. “I’ve learned to adapt, ” she says. “It brings a much-needed balance to my life and vice-versa.”
When they were struggling newlyweds, David would always say, “Stick with me, kid.” The saying has stuck — and so has Margaret. “Through all the hardships and good times, I would marry him again in a heartbeat, ” she says.
The couple never took a honeymoon, but this year for their 25th anniversary they took a cruise out of Mobile and celebrated properly.
Matt and Lauren Busbee
Married 10 Years
During second-grade Sunday school, a little boy named Matt met a little girl named Lauren. Several years later, Matt asked Lauren to his high school’s homecoming. She couldn’t go to the dance because of a volleyball tournament, so they went to the movies instead. “Since I was only 15 at the time, my dad drove us, ” Matt says. “Now he accuses me of riding in the front seat with him.” Matt doesn’t recall this detail.
Nine years later, Matt left a jewelry store with an important ring in hand and drove straight to Lauren’s apartment to pop the question. She said yes. The day after the proposal, they headed to Auburn for the Florida game and to celebrate with their families. “I still have the tickets from the game, ” Lauren says.
They were married in Mobile, and Lauren fondly remembers waiting until the ceremony before they saw each other. When they left the reception, they realized there was no champagne in the limo. So they headed to the only store open at such a late hour on the way to the hotel: Wal-Mart. “That was the best bottle of Korbel I ever drank, ” Matt says.
Matt adores Lauren’s patience and sense of humor, and says he honestly wouldn’t change a thing about her. “My wife is perfect, ” he says smiling. Lauren values Matt’s steadfastness in his faith, relationships and work. However, she loves to be on time, and Matt isn’t as time conscious. “I’m learning to deal with it, embracing his relaxed nature and finding the joy in not being so rushed and anxious all the time, ” Lauren admits.
Inside jokes are their norm. For example, when they tell each other to do something obvious, they always follow it up with, “Don’t fall down the stairs.” The quote originated with her mom, who regularly cautioned Lauren while she was pregnant with twins, Walker and Katherine. (They now have a third baby, Frances.)
Throughout their 10-year marriage, Matt has taken his dad’s advice to heart: “You can be right, or you can be happy.” Lauren says their continued happiness comes from their unconditional love and mutual respect. They also strive to keep their priorities in order: faith, each other and the kids, followed by everything else.
Jason and Michelle Touchton
Married 5 Years
A guy and a girl walked into a bar after a Poison concert. That momentous night, Jason met Michelle. She vividly remembers how, only moments after their introduction, he got down on one knee and serenaded her with the Beatles song “Michelle.” (He later gave her the record as a birthday gift. It now hangs in the couple’s home, alongside wedding photos and baby portraits.)
Michelle quickly knew Jason was the one, even though her dog, Dooley, bit him on the nose the first time they met. The couple began talking about marriage soon after they started dating. One year later they were married at the Country Club of Mobile.
Michelle is a wedding planner by trade, so she was especially invested in her big day, but she assures you can’t plan for everything. “Crazy things happened that day. The air conditioner at the Club broke; the dressing room was broken into; I forgot to bring the rings.” Jason clearly remembers “melting under all the candles at our ceremony.” And somehow the cake top was cut and served. The entire day, Michelle remained calm though, because she knew all that really mattered was that she was marrying Jason.
Years later, Jason still appreciates the way Michelle is straightforward and sincere. He least loves her laziness, but says “there’s no dealing with it.” Michelle loves the father that Jason is to their three daughters. She says that little things, like the toothpaste in the sink, still bother her, but she tries to shrug them off. “I have too many other good things going on in my life to focus on the small stuff, ” Michelle says.
Current photos taken on location at Fort Conde Inn.
Christy Dobson Reid