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  • Richard & Tina Watkins

One Year Down

We made it! One year down and a lifetime to go. March 27th, 2023 will officially make a year of us tying the knot. As we made plans for our anniversary day, we took some time to reminisce about the last year. Oh, it’s been a year. Our first year had love, laughter, joy, disagreements, misunderstanding, disappointments, and fears but in the end all that mattered was that we still had each other. We felt a sense of accomplishment but also realized how much work we had to put in. Our parents cautioned us about the “growing pains” that we’d go through from their 43 years of marriage and experience. They would describe the “growing pains” as some temporary issues or problems that may come during the early stage of marriage. They have always been great counsel to us, teaching us about the ups and downs of marriage but also the great benefits that come along with having a lifetime partner.

Before getting married we completed two separate premarital counseling sessions, and even though they were helpful, we still came across some hiccups. There were times that we were drained emotionally from not trying to understand the other person’s perspective. There were times where we had to set boundaries with family and friends that could have been problematic. There were times that we disagreed on the parenting technique involving our children. Since we are a blended family with children ranging from fifteen to four, there were times when we just did not see eye to eye.

What really helped was the information we absorbed at the 2022 Heart of Marriage Retreat. The first half of the year we went back and forth about going to the retreat. We had to factor in financials, the children and transportation (we were in another state). In the end we were able to make it, with the support of our Godparents. Other than getting married, that was one of our best decisions. We had less than one year into our marriage and were in a room filled with couples who were together longer than we’ve been alive. The workshops were phenomenal and were just what we needed.

The weekend at the retreat was just the first step. We came back home to Philadelphia on a mission to use the tools we were given that weekend into our marriage, our friendship, our family, and our intimate life. We made the decision to choose each other and to choose our marriage all over again. Our communication is better, we spend a lot of time talking and not just responding but understanding each other. We give each other grace (john 15:12 NIV), sometimes it isn’t easy to overlook something you may disagree on, but the battle shouldn’t be with each other. Lastly, we are a team, we live in a home with four children, and we must be united when raising them.

Our marriage isn’t perfect, we aren’t perfect, but we are striving to be perfect for each other. We love each other and we will get through any obstacle with the grace of God and determination.

Message to my husband: Thank you for loving me, thank you for being my friend and thank you for being a safe space for our family. You are loved, appreciated and I can’t wait to spend forever with you.

Message to my wife: I appreciate all that you have endured with me over the past year. I wouldn't change a thing about what we have been through since it strengthened us to becoming even better for one another. To the light of my day, I love you and our forever has begun on a great note!

Richard & Tina Watkins

Philadelphia, PA



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