“We are really good friends who happen to be married.” – Kurt

Kurt and Stephanie! Their love made me want to love more and love better. Kurt and Stephanie will be married for 20 years this year. This is their second marriage. With three sons between them, they are an example of how to make a blended family work even through challenging times. Kurt proudly admits that he pursued Stephanie. He also didn’t forget to mention that Stephanie couldn’t leave him alone after their first lunch date. You have to love this couple. Please enjoy our conversation.

Woo Forever: Love is?

Stephanie: Love is never denying love, even when you are angry. Love is selfless.

Kurt: Love is Stephanie. Love is having a special person that’s good for you, there for you and wants you.

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

Both: In our first marriages, we didn’t have an idea of what it was going to be like.

Stephanie: The second time I was a lot more cautious because I remember the heartache. I remembered the pitfalls. I thought about not just what the other person did but what I did and could do better.

Kurt: I was hurt from the first marriage. Aside from my mother’s death, it was a big loss. My relationship with Stephanie was built on friendship first and foremost. I remember telling Stephanie if we get married, it’s for keeps. I knew I wasn’t leaving my house or my wife; it’s me and her.  As a man I can’t hurt Stephanie because I am fearful of my Lord and Savior. I feel like I would get it bad if I did something to my wife and family. So that keeps me accountable. My peers see how much I enjoy being with my wife. We are getting to the point where they finish each other’s sentences. It’s fun and a great ride. Before we got married, my sister pulled Stephanie.

Stephanie: A couple of days before leaving town to get married Kurt’s youngest sister called me to wish us farewell. I remember her saying, “ We love Kurt, please don’t hurt my brother.” At first I was taken aback because I thought, why would she think I would hurt him? I quickly realized it was not about me but that they didn’t want their brother to be hurt ever again. I received it and told them how much I loved Kurt. I knew unless Kurt left me I wasn’t going anywhere.

Woo Forever: Is there anything you wish you had known about marriage before you entered it?

Stephanie: Other than both sets of grandparents, there were not a lot of examples. However, my grandparents didn’t talk about it. I wish somebody would have talked about marriage and encouraged healthy relationships. My parents were divorced. I believed my parents loved each other but were happier with other people. I saw my mother’s sister Alda, who I always admired. She was “that aunt.” Everybody could see that Uncle Darryl loved Aunt Alda. He doted on her. I feel like Kurt and I are like them. Kurt makes me laugh! Even when we try to be mad we can’t be for too long. We both always say, “I’m tired of being mad.” We can’t even make it an hour being mad. Anything that happens, I can’t wait to call Kurt to tell him, good or bad. He will share in the emotions with me.

Kurt: My mom always told me I was going to be a good husband. I didn’t have a senior married couple to tell me how a marriage works. I paid attention to the couples in my family. I noticed those that were happily married and those that weren’t. The people who weren’t, I knew I didn’t want my marriage to be like that. I saw some of the men mistreating their women and I knew I wasn’t going to be like that. When I was in middle school I would read my sister’s magazines so I that would know what women liked. Like Stephanie, my aunt Inell and uncle Venabel were married for 64 years and he doted on her as well. Their marriage was the positive marriage I always wanted.

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

Stephanie: As you know there was a rough time in my life. I prayed. I just wanted to be happy. I knew I wanted to be a wife. I have so much love to give and share. I joke with Kurt and tell him he’s not perfect but he’s perfect for me. I actually mean it. I believe down to my core that God sent Kurt just for me. He knew exactly what I needed. Kurt loves me for me. I love everything about Kurt. The best feeling is when I’m just laying in the bed and I reach over and touch him. I think to myself, I can’t even believe this is my husband. This is not make believe or a fairy tale. He loves me. It’s the best thing in the world to know that you’re loved; I don’t have to guess or wonder. I don’t have to wait for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or my birthday to know I’m loved.

Kurt: Just waking up with her. Being around her. It’s a continuous thing.

Woo Forever: What came as a surprise to you?

Stephanie: I’m surprised at how wonderful Kurt is. I’m surprised that our blended family can get along. It’s something we have grown into. There was a time when Kurt was going through a very tough time and everything was coming at him all at once. He didn’t think he could take care of family and thought he would have to leave only because he didn’t think he could support the family. He worked through it and told me how he felt long after it happened. I was devastated.

Kurt: My son KJ is very protective of Stephanie. It’s a good thing. Also, the feeling of thinking I was going to have to leave the family was short lived.

Woo Forever: What does happily ever after look like?

Stephanie: When you can’t wait to see each other; a healthy obsession. It looks like loving you in your mess, when you are skinny, fat…whatever. Kurt talks about when we are old and how we will take care of each other.

Kurt: There’s nothing Stephanie can’t do. I keep pushing her but then I realize I have to push myself too. She keeps me on my toes.

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

Stephanie: I would ask them their reason for getting married. If it’s because they can’t see the rest of their life without that person, then I get it. I would also say slow down and make sure you know yourself first and make sure you are willing to put in the effort. Find out the deal breakers. Marriage is not “la-la land”- it’s work. Both people need to be willing to participate. Make sure you both believe in something higher than yourself.

Kurt: I look to the Lord Jesus Christ and the way he loves me and the church. I have to love my wife and family just as Christ loves the church. It keeps me accountable during the good and the bad. I believe you have to have something bigger than yourself to believe in, whether it’s Christ, Buddha or whatever. You have to have a faith that will hold you accountable. I have my own relationship with God.

“It’s about loving the person past their looks, great sex and the good times.” – Stephanie

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

Stephanie: Prayer. When the hard stuff comes, we talk about it and go through the emotions like everyone else. We make sure we don’t stop talking.

Kurt: There’s therapy in serving. When you are doing for others it helps you get through your stuff too.

Woo Forever: What lessons have you learned?

Stephanie: I learned to listen to what’s being said and what’s not being said. I look at Kurt when he’s talking and his body language. As women we can say or do something that can shut a man down. I don’t want to do that because he won’t say what he needs to and I need to hear it. Even when he says things I don’t like, he’s not trying to hurt me he’s trying to heal me. He’s trying to be honest with me. Also, I’m not good with finances. I was ashamed to admit it. Being ashamed is a terrible place to be. I learned to never hold stuff in that’s bothering me.

Kurt: Loyalty. As a man I just want to fix stuff but I’m learning to be a better listener.   

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

Stephanie: We evolve and change, so I have to roll with the punches. I don’t need to change him into what I want him to be, but let him be who he is.

Kurt: I’m just living in God’s grace right now.

Woo Forever: Where do you see yourselves in the next five to ten years?

Stephanie: I can only see us growing. I feel like we are at a peak. It’s almost scary but we’ve been peaking for a while. Every year I learn something new about him. Did you know he speaks French?

Kurt: I think we will be advocates for those in law enforcement especially couples. We don’t spend a lot of time planning we just do what we want. I’m just here to enjoy the ride.

Woo Forever: How do you keep it going?

Stephanie: I never stopped pursuing him. I’m still try to attract him. I know what he likes. He likes to see me in heels. I make sure I’m always presentable. I’m still trying to be sexy for him, draw him. I want to catch him peeking at me. Nothing has changed except our age. I love him even more today.

Kurt: She’s my girlfriend. I do what a boyfriend would do. I still like looking at her and talking trash.

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

Stephanie: Kurt loves his family. He loved his mother. His pride in achieving. He has lifetime friends. You know the show Everybody Loves Raymond? I say Everybody Loves Kurt. If you don’t like him, it’s you. He’s never too serious. He always loving and fun.

Kurt: I love the way she smells. I love that Stephanie is the opposite of me. She moves fast and I’m slower. I know she’s in my corner, my ride or die chick. She likes football and stuff that I’m into. She’s too damn cool.

Woo Forever: What’s been most challenging?

Stephanie: Being a blended family. It was easier for Kurt because he didn’t face the same challenges I did with the exes. There was no butting heads or competition between them. It was an opportunity for Kurt to be the father they didn’t have. For me I was the new wife and trying to find my place. The challenge was keeping the peace. It was hell initially.

Kurt: I wish we had met a long time ago. I believe we would have had more children if we had gotten married earlier.

Woo Forever: What’s been really easy?

Stephanie: Loving him is so easy because he is super loving. I dare to say every person dreams of growing up and having someone that loves them and I got one. One of the things I’m most proud of is that I’m Stephanie Wall.

Kurt: That she understands. She lets me talk through my stuff. She’s just cool. I also have community moms and if I have to I tell on Stephanie, I will. They will get on Stephanie if they have to.

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

Both: There is music that reminds us of when we were dating. Artists like Will Downing, Joe and early Brian Culbertson. If it’s a ballad and it’s talking about love it’s our song.

Woo Forever: Final thoughts.

Stephanie: The most important thing for couples to understand is to know who you are individually. What do you want? What is love for you? What’s most important to you? And then find someone you mesh with. You don’t have to be exactly alike but you find things that make you gel together. I find myself sad because a lot of our friends are divorcing after being together for a long time.

One thing’s for sure, this love thing is very real. We are all faced with challenges but to overcome them and have a love so sweet to comfort you at the end of the day is a blessing. I wish Kurt, Stephanie and their family lots more of the good stuff. Thank you for sharing a part of your story with us. Love is blended families. Woo Forever.