Finding Time for Your Marriage
By Mary C. Fairley
During the month of Valentine’s Day, it is important to consider the importance of finding time for your marriage. Here are the stories of two couples who seem to be “getting it right.”
Candice and Billy
Lucedale, Mississippi residents Candice and Billy Mitchell have been together for 15 years and married for 12. They have a blended family of seven children.
On December 5, 2011, Billy fell from a 12-foot ladder. He was airlifted to University of South Alabama Medical Center, where he spent 40 days in the hospital. Billy completed 26 days on life support. Candice vowed that going forward, she “would never take anything for granted.”
She said her family’s world changed completely on that day, and she never knew she could love Billy more than she already did.
“It reminded us that any day can be that last day,” she said.
She recollects that after the fall, when he could barely breathe, he told her how much he loved her. When he was taking what seemed at the time to possibly have been his last breaths, he was thinking of Candice and their kids.
“How could we not do everything in our power to live for each other and our family, and always strive for the best marriage we can have?” she said, in full faith that she was blessed with “a second chance” on that day.
Mornings start before dawn at the Mitchell house. Billy is a general contractor, and Candice is an Epic systems analyst who works remotely from home with hospitals and clinical staff. Billy and Candice always kiss goodbye, whether it is when leaving home for work or just before a quick trip to the store.
Even after all these years, Candice said a kiss can stop you in your tracks.
The Mitchells have three adult daughters and four other children remain at home. A typical week is busy, with five school sports events and the practices that go along with them.
Despite the tiring schedule, the Mitchells desire to be around each other. Candice said she gets butterflies when she hears Billy’s truck, and tries to meet him at the door. When he works out of town, she often drives a six-hour round-trip to meet him for dinner.
Intentional intimacy occurs when the couple goes to bed. It’s their time to be just who they are, a time to cry, talk, vent and laugh (the kids complain that Candice laughs loudly).
The Mitchells touch hands when they have had “one of those days.” If upset about something, a hug is in order.
“Our hugs are comfort,” Candice explained. “I know when we wrap our arms around each other, we are safe. Safe from the outside. We are where we belong.”
Caleb and Caroline
Love feels present in the home Leakesville, Mississippi native Caleb Fairley shares with his wife Caroline and seven-month-old daughter, Cadence. In April, the Fairleys celebrate two years of marriage.
“I do love Caroline so much, and her happiness is my priority,” said the husband. Caleb follows the tradition of both his paternal grandfather and his dad when he brings her bouquets of yellow wildflowers and sunflowers. Caleb and Caroline pray for each other daily, and hold hands as they fall asleep.
Caleb works 12-hour swing shifts at Drax Biomass. On Snapchat, he shares a picture of his work clothes laid out with a note from Caroline.
Husband and wife are both avid hunters. Caroline’s grandmother, Elizabeth Rushing, takes care of Cadence while the couple spends time in the deer blind.
When Caleb is scheduled to work a holiday, Caroline prepares their little family a pre-holiday feast. For Thanksgiving, she constructed a meal consisting of deer meat, dressing, hash brown casserole, yams and homemade coconut cake.
In Caleb’s love letters to his wife, he tells her how much she means to him, and how well she takes care of him and their daughter. He describes how she makes their lovely house a home.
“I’m really blessed,” Caleb said.
The Fairleys and Mitchells are wonderful representatives of the George Sands quote: “There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.”
Freelance writer Mary C. Fairley is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. She lives in Lucedale with her husband, Buddy, who brings her bouquets of wild pink honeysuckle blossoms. She is a mother and a grandmother and is related to the second couple included in this story.