What is Love? Karen and Chris
" I hadn't been able to do recreational things with a girl and have fun, but when I met Karen we would do things together and it wouldn't matter if anyone else were there."
Karen and Chris live together in New Orleans with their three small children. Karen is from Guatemala, and Chris is from Mississippi. They have been together for eleven years, married for six( (today, Happy Anniversary). They met through friends, Chris' roommate was dating a friend of Karen's, it wasn't love at first sight, but as they began to date, their feelings grew quickly. Karen recalls, "I saw him on the dancefloor one night when we were in a nightclub with all our friends, and I thought 'he has some moves', and that really attracted me to him. I think it was a Michael Jackson song that we were dancing to; we are both huge fans of his music." Soon after dating, they decided to live together.
I couldn't wait to speak to Karen and Chris about what makes a successful relationship and see what love means to them.
After three years of being together, Chris bought a ring and planned on proposing. He was quite nervous and hid the ring in a pile of washing. Chris explains, "then, as we were folding washing, I pulled out the ring and asked her. I didn't have a lot of money at the time, most of the money I earned that month went towards the ring, and so the dinner and everything else had to take a back seat."
Karen said yes! And tells us why she wanted to marry Chris. "I never wanted to have Children, as crazy as that sounds now, but I knew that he did and when there was a very small chance that I wouldn't be able to have children I was devastated, as I didn't want to take that away from him and that's when I knew that I loved him. I knew as I was willing to change something that was previously a deal-breaker." Chris said that he knew Karen was the one for him when he realized that he could do anything with her, he explained; "previously I hadn't been able to do recreational things with a girl and have fun, but when I met Karen we would do things together and it wouldn't matter if anyone else were there."
Emmaleen: Can you tell us a loving story from your relationship?
Karen: "What stands out the most or me is one of the times I needed him the most, when I was in labor with our first child. I didn't want an epidural, and I had been induced, for ten plus hours he was there with me, bouncing on the ball and supporting me. It meant so much to me."
Chris: "For me, the first Christmas after we had our first child. We were living in an apartment at the time, and we went out together to buy a Christmas tree. It was a small Charlie Brown one; I told her that this would be our new tradition as a family."
What is the key to a happy relationship?
Karen: "Honesty, compromise, and respect."
Chris: "I would agree with Karen's answer. Honesty and compromise is very important."
What is Love?
Karen: "I think love is choosing each other every day and remembering what the best circumstances are in your life when you are having a hard time seeing it because of perhaps some bad circumstances in your life. So always see the best of things and look at the bigger picture. Small gestures are important, Chris will make me coffee, that is love, or he lets me sleep in. We take it in turns to change a diaper, it's the little things that go a long way. That is love."
Chris: "I think love is compromising with your partner and best friend, saying no when you want to say yes and putting your own agenda aside and coming together as a family unit. You want to drop being selfish and make these little gestures to your partner to let them know they are appreciated. Being able to take some criticism as a way to continue to improve every day in our relationship. You shouldn't get mad and distance yourself, especially at times such as these. Having someone to call you out on your shortcomings is important."
So what is their advice to anyone looking for love?
Karen: "You have to not be focused on the idea of looking for love in a certain place, or for a particular person, love comes to you in many ways, sometimes you have to open your heart and mind too. You might not allow love to come to your life as you are looking for something specific."
Chris: "Quit looking for it; you have got to be yourself. Treat people the way you would normally treat people, then you'll find that person who is receptive to you; the way you go about your day,carry yourself and how you interact with others. That person will find you; you don't have to look for that person."
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