SNAP Love Stories Entry: We were young and our love continues to last

Published 9:26 am Thursday, February 14, 2019

Editor’s Note: The following entry in the SNAP’s Love Stories Contest is from Jeff and Julie Simpson.

My husband Jeff and I grew up in the same small town in Stanly County where everyone knew everyone. Our story begins with me being 14 years old (soon to be 15) and Jeff 18 years old and just graduated from high school. Yes, we were very young.

One day while my mom and I were grocery shopping at our local Food Lion, we saw Jeff there working. My mom said to me, “Now that’s the kind of person I want you to marry someday.” She went on to say, “he seems to be a good boy and he comes from a good family.”

I just rolled my eyes as usual. I mean, what does she know? He wasn’t “my type.”

As time passed by, my mom had another encounter with Jeff. She worked third shift and when needed, she would stop by the convenience store in town to fill up with gas on her way to work. One night, she went in to pay and guess who was now working at the gas station in our small town?

Yep, it was Jeff.

Jeff told my mom to have me give him a call. She did relay the message, but I didn’t call him.

On most evenings, I would go walking through town with my grandma for exercise. One evening while walking, not long after mom had spoken with Jeff at the convenience store, a little black truck pulled over on the side of the road right after it passed us.

As we walked by, someone called my name.

Yep, it was Jeff.

My grandma walked on a little ahead as I went over to his truck. He proceeded to ask me out on a date. I told him I didn’t know, that I would have to ask my mom.

I had never actually been on a date with a boy before. After talking with my mom, of course she agreed to let me go. Remember, she is the one that said she wanted me to marry him (or someone like him). You know I used that in pleading my case to persuade her to allow me to go on a date with Jeff.

The night of our first date, Jeff came to pick me up in that little black truck. He took me to the Concord Speedway to watch his brother race. We had such a wonderful time. We talked and laughed so much.

Believe it or not, we even talked about getting married on this very first date. We were inseparable from that night forward.

One month and nine days from our first date, Jeff proposed to me.

I said, “Yes!”

We then proceeded to tell our families the news. The following June, when I was 15 years old and he was 18, we were married in Chesterfield, S.C., where it was legal for a 15-year-old to get married with a parental signature of consent. In North Carolina, you can’t get married unless you are at least 16 years old or pregnant. I wasn’t either of those.

On our wedding day, my daddy was there to give me away, my best friend was maid of honor, Jeff’s dad was his best man, and the rest of our families attended.

Not long after we were married, we met a friend of Jeff’s that he went to high school with. He told me of a time that him and Jeff were at school, when they were seniors and I was a freshman. He said that they saw me walking down the hall and Jeff said then, “I’m going to marry that girl one day.”

Wow! How amazing is that?

This coming June we will celebrate our 25-year anniversary. Our daughter, soon to be 21 years old, is just recently married to our now wonderful son-in-law. Our son, soon to be 18, will be graduating from high school this year.

We are proud of our story, our life and our children (son-in-law included)! Along the way, we have defiantly had some trying times. Getting married at a young age is not for everyone, but it was right for us. If I had to do it over again, I would not change a thing.

What is our secret to a great marriage you ask?

Number one is God. Jeff and I come together every evening to pray and seek God in unity. God is at the center of everything we do. We serve an awesome Creator who created us to love.

Number two is communication. You should be able to openly and honestly talk with your spouse. Jeff and I talk to each other about everything. When I say everything, I mean everything.

I would rather spend time with him than anything else. Jeff is my best friend and I am his.

We are more in love with each other today than ever.