Tony and Stephanie Lemons married after they’d dated for about a month. Nearly 24 years later, they say they still give each other butterflies.
“We met on a blind double date,” Stephanie said. “My friend told me there’s a guy she wanted me to meet. We went to Chili’s. I thought he was quite good-looking and I had fun listening to him talk.”
He was funny, not goofy, she added.
Although it wasn’t love at first sight, they were drawn to each other through conversation and common knowledge.
“I was thinking, Wow, this is someone nice and really cool. Within a few days, I knew this was something as we started talking more,” Tony said.
After helping a friend move from Las Vegas to San Diego, Stephanie decided to stay in San Diego to get to know Tony better. She was 21.
“I stayed with him for two weeks, and that’s when I called my mother,” she said. “I had gotten into an argument with my mother … She didn’t like that I had moved.”
Tony, who was in the Navy, came home and found Stephanie upset after the argument. He proposed.
“I felt it was the right thing to do,” Tony said. “I thought, you only live once; I’m not getting any younger.” Tony was 26.
They had only known each other for three weeks. They married a week later in front of a justice of the peace in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, 1993.
“I remember the clock read exactly 10 p.m.,” Stephanie said.
Tony said he knew Stephanie was the one within a few days of meeting her. In the early days, the couple would talk on the phone for six or seven hours at a time, Stephanie said.
“I wanted to know everything about him,” she said. “I didn’t want to know just the big stuff; the little things, too. What type of person he was, how he was with his family.”
They agree that marriage is hard work, and you have to be committed. That has helped their relationship last.
“(It’s about) communication and privacy. You have to have a good balance of both,” Stephanie said. “Sometimes we finish each other’s sentences. But, every once in a while, you need a breather from one another.”
Another key to a good marriage, Tony said: Don’t go to bed angry with your partner.
“If it takes eight hours to work, talk and scream it out,” she said. “Do it. Never go to bed angry, because you don’t know what can happen at night.”
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