Jewel was attending Towson State University on February 17, 1990 when Jewel’s cousin Kelvin and Steve came to visit and attend a party on campus.  Jewel said she fell in love with him after her first all night phone conversation with him, and so their story began. It was a pleasure sitting with the Marsh’s as they shared a part of their story with me. I hope you enjoy reading their story as much as I did.

Woo Forever: What does loving wholeheartedly mean?

Jewel: Loving wholeheartedly means sacrificing everything maybe not your values, but making sure the other person’s needs are met. And hopefully it is reciprocated.

Steve: Seeing the person you love enjoy life. It’s also the willingness and wanting to make the other person happy.

Woo Forever: Did you have any idea of what marriage was going to be like?

Jewel: I was 21 when I got married and Steve was 26. So, I guess my idea of marriage had to be what I saw from my parents. They will be married 50 years next month. They’ve had a really good 50 years. We never saw them fight or argue. Now that we are older we see more of the truth and recognize the compromises they made in their marriage. But they are in a happy, loving committed relationship so that was my expectation. My expectation was that we would be able to work through all of our problems.

Steve: I was raised by a single mother and really didn’t have any examples of what a relationship should look like. I believed that you have to want to be committed to the person. It’s not about being superficial. I believe in our vows and rules set forth by God. Being married is about compromise. My first marriage lasted three months because we weren’t willing to compromise. Jewel compliments me because I am stubborn.

Woo Forever: What’s been your greatest joy about being with each other?

Jewel: Steve is my soulmate. I fell in love with him the moment I met him. I was willing to make our relationship a priority because I felt an instant connection to him. We would talk on the phone all night long. We are still very connected to each other. Although in many ways we are complete opposites in most ways it creates a bond that keeps us interested in each other.

Steve: We have a lot in common and it enhances our relationship. We spend a lot of time together and it doesn’t bother us and we don’t get on each others nerves. I want to come home to her. I want to see how long I can stay up to see her fall asleep. I married my best friend, we compliment each other.

Woo Forever: What came as a surprise to you?

Jewel: I thought he would be a mild disciplinarian with our boys but he was tough. His mother never spanked him so I expected him to be the same way.

Steve: There weren’t really any surprises. We dated for four years and we were together a lot.

Woo Forever: What advice would you give to those considering marriage?

Jewel: It’s a good idea to live a little bit before you get married. I didn’t have that opportunity. It’s good to know who you are before you settle down. I must say, if I had to do it all over again I would do it the same way.

Steve: Explore who you are first before you get into a committed relationship. Make sure you are marrying the right person for the right reason.

Woo Forever: How do you get through the hard stuff?

Jewel: Prayer. If it gets real bad I call my parents for advice which makes him mad. I don’t harbor any ill feelings against anyone. I make sure I say what I have to say and it may come out nasty but I will always try to talk it out.

Steve: I get quiet. I don’t talk when I’m mad, I will walk away from it.

Woo Forever: What lessons have you learned?

Jewel: Men and women are different and they do not think alike. The sooner you realize that it will save you a lot of heartache. My mom after 50 years still doesn’t realize that my dad not wanting her to drive is not about her driving ability but more about him wanting to be in control and doing it his way.

Steve: Being quiet doesn’t work.

Woo Forever: What lessons do you still have to learn?

Jewel: I’m getting better with applying the biblical teaching that the man is be the head of the household. I know it doesn’t mean that the wife is lesser but when it comes to decision making he has the final say even if I don’t agree. Many times I think I have the best approach to a problem, so it’s difficult to step into that subservient role when I think I know best. The thing about it is, it works itself out. Sometimes we have to take a step down the wrong path to realize that I’m right and most often I’m appreciative for his quick thoroughly thought through decisions. I am learning to allow him to be the man God intended him to be.

Steve: Your partner can’t read your mind so verbal communication is important. I do a lot of assuming, “you should know this,” “why don’t you know that,” etc… I’ve learned to make it clear through verbal communication.

Both: We grew up differently. Steve helped provide for his family when he was living at home. Jewel’s parents provided for their children through college. Naturally, our expectations were different for the boys which made it important for us to work together on a shared set of expectations.

Woo Forever: How did you learn to trust each other?

Jewel: Trust came over time. When I was pregnant I was extremely jealous. When I met him I was extremely jealous. I actually climbed a tree outside of his apartment to see who was in his apartment on the second floor. The reality is that no matter how long you are married or how close you are, your spouse can cheat on you and you can cheat on your spouse; to me that’s reality. I can’t worry about what may or may not happen, I can only worry about what’s right for me.  

Steve: If I couldn’t trust her there was no point in us being together. I leave it in God’s hands, I don’t worry about it. It was never a trust issue for me.

Woo Forever: How do you keep it going?

Jewel: Steve was very affection when we met. We have an understanding of each other’s needs. We make it work. Now that the boys are older we go out on date nights, mostly on Friday.

Steve: You are not going to see us hugging, kissing and saying I love you baby, we are not that couple. We have a different type of affection for each other. We are hot and cold at different times but make sure to meet each other’s needs.

Woo Forever: What do you love most about each other?

Jewel: His sense of humor. When I think about all of the other attributes he may not I have that I may look for in a male, I won’t trade any of those for him. Steve’s core values, sense of humor and natural love for people is what I love most.

Steve: I’m not an easy person to please. Jewel has what it takes to balance me. She makes sure I have what I need and is willing to sacrifice her needs for mine, a lot of people wouldn’t do that. Most people are about themselves but Jewel is always giving. Now she is doing more for herself.

Woo Forever: What do you want Steve to always remember?

Jewel: I respect him. I am proud of him as a father, son, brother and husband.

Woo Forever: What do you want Jewel to always remember?

Steve: I will always care for her and will do anything for her. I know how she feels about me, we can co-exist without all that lovely stuff.

Woo Forever: What do you want your sons to always remember?

Steve: We came from two different types of family upbringings and had to work hard to develop shared values. Be willing to be flexible and live in the gray until you figure out what’s going to work for you.

Woo Forever: If you had to choose a song for your partner what would it be?

Jewel: Nothing Has Ever Felt Like This by Will Downing and Rachelle Ferrell

Steve: Share My Life by Kem

Woo Forever: Final thoughts.

Jewel: Do not measure your relationship against anybody else’s. I was very guilty of that early on in our relationship. The reality is you don’t know what’s going on in other people’s household, in their life, with their kids, or parents. What may look like a happy household may not be a happy household. You have to establish your own measure for success in your relationship.

Steve: People don’t talk anymore, they don’t talk on the phone and see each other in person. Everything now is so microwave and electronic. Everything is done over the phone, mostly texting. It’s more exciting to know you’re going to see each other in person. The whole human experience part is missing. There’s no way to get the fullness of what a relationship can be.

Woo Forever Final Thoughts.

Human connection is so important. It may seem old school to talk on the phone, go out on dates and see each other flesh to flesh but that’s what real relationships are. What a gift to have the opportunity to talk with couples about love and marriage. I laughed and gained some good insight on life as I listened back to their recording. I appreciate their truth and the willingness to share that with us. May their love continue to flourish and their three sons find the love they’ve witnessed from their parents. Love is the Marsh’s. Woo Forever.