Carl & Mavis McKnight
It all began in 1972 at Bret Harte Jr. High, in Los Angeles, Ca. We met but did not connect. In 1973, we were both bussed to Robert Fulton Jr. High, where we did connect. That same semester Carl got kicked out of school and our friendship abruptly ended. He says he knew even then, while he stared at me in my seat, that I was the one for him; his kindred spirit. In 1976 we re-connected right after High School and dated for one whole week! We lost touch with each other and married other people. Then in 1999, after 24 years in a previous marriage, Carl started looking for me. Each time he saw a family member, he would ask, “How is Mavis, what is she doing, is she married or single?” He would always end his inquiry with, “I was supposed to marry her.”
Fast forward to June of 2005. My sister gave me an ad from the Los Angeles Sentinel, with Carl’s picture in it. He was a real estate loan officer and we were looking for a building and a “hook up”. The ad sat in my wallet for 2 months before I called him. When I finally called I thought it was to play games with him. He told me he was a Pastor, invited me to his church anniversary banquet, I made excuses, he countered every excuse. When the conversation ended I hung up the phone and said, “Have a nice life. I’ll never call you again! But God had other plans. No sooner than the thought came in my mind another thought on its heels declared, “That is who you’re going to marry.” I was flabbergasted! Almost simultaneously, a vision of something white passed through my mind’s eye, which turned out to be our wedding and reception set-up!
I made it to the banquet and we decided to go out three weeks later. I never shared with him the vision I had the day I first spoke to him on the phone. But low and behold, on our first date, dinner at Panchos restaurant, he said, “If you make it to the fourth date I’ll marry you.” That first date turned into a second date (a movie and dinner), then a third date (a Maze concert). And on the 4th date while sitting at P. F. Chang’s in Culver City waiting on our table, we started talking about marriage, and we decided then and there to commit to one another for the rest of our lives!
He immediately jumped into planning mode. His romantic self, set up a date at Lawry’s restaurant to officially propose, and invited my father to dinner. He toyed with my father for a bit and acted like we weren’t there to celebrate ‘anything special.’ But he had set it up earlier that day, for the waiter to bring the engagement ring over to our table and set it down when he nodded. About a half an hour later, that move fell into place as smooth as silk. He opened the box, asked my father if he liked the ring, and he said an impressed, “Yeeesss!” He asked my father for my hand in marriage, my father gave us his blessing, and we kissed deeply to seal the deal!
Six months later on April 1, 2006, we stepped into the beginning of our beautiful lives together. Thirteen years later, we are still very happily married, in love, and in the place God intended us to be. This was destiny. God put us together to bring His vision of marriage to life!
Recently, this question was posed to us: “If you could teach couples only one thing about how to have a successful relationship, what would it be?”
Without hesitation we said, “Couples should look at what characterizes their relationship. We understand every marriage is unique, but there are common things you can strive toward to create and maintain a fulfilling and satisfying relationship.”
We thought it might be helpful to list many of the things that characterize our relationship, as well as the things we do and don’t do that add to our relationship success. These lists are by no means complete but simply a majority of what represents our marriage.
What characterizes our relationship: Love; maturity; respect; playfulness; flirting; fun; excitement; fantastic sex; willingness; giving; romance; care and concern; humor; happiness; personal growth; encouragement; support; affirmations; honesty; friendship; good communication; acceptance; patience; courteousness; thoughtfulness; connectedness, bondedness; flow; words and deeds of affection; understanding; and recognition of our individual gifts.
What we do: Laugh; travel; talk; hug; hold hands; kiss; go on dates; nurture one another; check-in with each other; hold one another accountable; constructively correct one another; allow one another freedom to utilize what speaks to us in the area of personal growth and development; and cherish our relationship with God.
What we don’t do: Fight; argue; curse; yell; scream; put each other down; cruelly criticize or judge; or use physical abuse. When we find ourselves attempting to control each other, getting irritated, short-tempered, or snappy, we pull back, regroup, apologize if necessary, and remember the love we have for each other.
If this list intimidates you or seems unrealistic, remember that progress takes time. This didn’t happen overnight for us, but we both had the desire and understanding to be equally committed to nurturing our marriage. Our suggestion: Try it and you will love it!
Now see if you can list what characterizes your relationship and what positive changes you can add. Have an amazing time with it!
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