Love Endures: Two Couples’ Journeys to Be Together

Love Endures: Two Couples’ Journeys to Be Together

by Eric Clow

(This article was originally posted February 14, 2017 as “Love is in the Air.”)

For me, love is being with someone and knowing that life would feel incomplete were they not in it. Love is the mysterious feeling that some divine power brought two people together. They may not have sought it or manifested it, but when it called to them, they certainly reveled in it. Love does not begin at first sight and slowly fade; it deepens over time. It’s a ceaseless, daily adventure.

Or, I’m just romantic to a fault. Whatever the case, it’s Valentine’s Day—a day to ponder what love truly means.

One of the joys of working at Art Spark Texas is witnessing the ways that love is shared and sustained. We have watched as program participants and longtime friends became life partners. Some, however, paired up well before we met them. A few even fell for each other in high school! Here are two fresh stories to cherish as we celebrate this day of romance.

The first is from David Dauber, former cast member and director of Actual Lives Austin:

As I looked in my rearview mirror and saw the jack-knifing eighteen wheeler crashing across all three lanes of the highway like a flipper in a pinball machine, I wondered if love was truly worth this trip. Terri and I had been together for ten months, and I was headed from Fort Worth to Austin for another weekend of euphoric love. Love that could not be denied or even put on hold. This weekend was our first Valentine’s Day together, and not even an ice-covered, snow blanketed road was going to keep me from making the trip to Austin for the romantic dinner I reserved months ago at Cool River with my love.

A tractor-trailer jack-knives on a snowy freeway, as seen from a rearview mirror

We had both discussed our lonely Valentine’s Days of previous years. It had only been a year ago that I sat safely at home with a combo burrito from Taco Bell, Lord of the Rings 3 on my TV, and a longing for more in my life. This year I was on an adventure of my own, and nothing was going to stop me from seeing “my precious,” Terri.

As we celebrate our fourteenth Valentine’s Day, our love for one another continues to grow. While a steak dinner at a cozy table for two has transformed to ordering a heart-shaped pizza at home and listening to our son scream demands for more Kindle time just to watch another Minecraft YouTube video, I wouldn’t change any of it. I’m no longer alone. We are loved by my Kansas friends that stop by to visit us as they drive through Texas on their family vacations. We are loved by our family church friends that we made together years ago. Terri’s friends she first made in Actual Lives love us by showing, that even in death, we are never alone and that circles are multipliable.

David and Terri, pose before a snowy forest backdrop with their son, Denver.
David and Terri with their son, Denver

Once we have true love, our circles connect. Once those circles are connected, they form the symbol of infinity. The infinite love that Terri and I share make every bit of it worth the trip. Happy Valentine’s Day, Terri. I love you.

And here is Speaking Advocate David Chapple with his own story of not giving up on true love:

In 1997 I met my future wife Kate at the Pittsburgh Employment Conference (PEC) for augmentative communicators. I was from Ohio and she was from Texas. Our eyes met and we just knew, it was love at first sight. But unfortunately Kate was in a relationship, so I had to hold back my feelings. We spent our time together throughout the conference and even took a romantic stroll to see the fireworks over the city. We almost kissed that night, but our feelings had to remain unrevealed for the time being.

Throughout the years, Kate and I kept in contact and we saw each other again at the same conference now and then. However, one day in 2011, Kate wrote to me on Facebook and said she had left her husband, and gave me her phone number. I could not believe it and said to myself, “What the hell?” I texted her right away and we finally revealed our feelings for each other that were denied all those years ago.

Dave and Kate, seated side by side in power wheelchairs, smile for the camera.
David and Kate Chapple

So we decided to have a date at the conference in Pittsburgh. We had a wonderful dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack. After dinner we went off alone and we finally got that long awaited kiss. Fireworks went off, the symphony started to play, and lightning struck, when we kissed. I knew right then I wanted to be with Kate, and she felt the same way!!! Over the next few months our relationship grew, we could not bear being apart. After some deep conversations with my family, friends and Kate; I decided to move to Austin. Every August 4th we go to Joe’s Crab Shack to celebrate our anniversary. But the 4th of August 2015 was very special because Kate and I got married at Joe’s Crab Shack.

How did you meet your special someone? We’d love to hear your story in the comments!

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