• Love Stories: From College Sweethearts to Happily Ever After

    Love Stories: From College Sweethearts to Happily Ever After

    Building a life together over two decades.

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Seventeen years ago, on February 27, 1999, I met the man—really a boy then—who would become my best friend, my husband and the father of our two children. While those three titles happened in that order, they have become one and the same over the years.

Everett and I met in Nogales, Mexico, a spot known by University of Arizona students as a good place to spend Saturday nights, long before you could spend time in the local college bars. I know this seems an unlikely place to meet a future husband, but it worked out and we began dating shortly after we met. We spent the next four years working hard to get through school, making sure we were building foundations for our future careers and—probably the defining attribute of our partnership—preserving our individuality and maintaining our friendships and separate interests.

After graduating from college, Everett moved home to Phoenix while I started my public relations career in Tucson. I drove to Phoenix every weekend, and during one particular trip I had had enough of people asking me when we were getting married. Over hamburgers and French fries I said, “When are we getting married?” In his typical romantic fashion, he responded, “We can get married.” This wasn’t really the engagement I had dreamt of, but Everett is someone who shows his love, rather than repeating the clichés I had expected.

We were married on September 4, 2004. Everett is not the same man I married, nor am I the same woman. We are better. Each life-altering event, from the birth of our children to the painful loss of loved ones, has changed us in ways I could have never imagined. I don’t have a crystal ball to show me what the future holds, but I do know that as long as we continue to strive to improve ourselves every day, both as individuals and as a team, there’s a good chance we have found forever.

— Nicole and Everett, Carefree, Ariz.

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