Honest answers on marriage | Joe and Diana

For the final installment on this series on honest answers on marriage, I present the last set of college sweethearts, Joe and Diana Carr.  This couple hold a special place with me because they have allowed me the honor of sharing memories with them from the beginning.  I did Diana’s Bridal photos, I was their wedding photographer, I shot a maternity session for them, as well as a family session for their first son.  This couple has shown strength, loyalty, and dedication that some older couples could learn from.  Above all, they love to have fun as you will see from the images from their shoot!

Husband name Joseph Carr II
Wife’s name Diana Carr
Wedding date July 26, 2008
How many years have you been married 8 years
College attended Prairie View A&M University

1. How did you meet?

a. Her: On campus at Prairie View through a mutual friend.

b. Him: She came with her friend to visit my roommate and I called her a “tall drink of water” [old school]

2. When did you know they were the one for you?

a. Her: I could only think of him. We talked on the phone from sun up to sun down. I would actually miss him while I worked on the weekends. I would also look forward to seeing him on campus when I got back.

b. Him: I always wanted to date her but the moment I knew I wanted to marry her was the summer before we got engaged. Spent all our time together and I didn’t want to kill her (lol) just wanted to spend more and more time with her

3. What’s the one key to the success of your years of marriage outside of communication and trust?

a. Her: Always have fun. Joe and I laugh nonstop. We have our own inside jokes that people would NEVER understand. We also know how to have disagreements in a loving way….that took a LONG time to learn.

b. Him: Laugh and learn together. And take the vows, the covenant you made with God seriously.

4. Have both parties remained monogamous? (Have either of you ever cheated) If so, how did you reconcile?

a. Her: Neither one has cheated.

b. Him: No need to do that when you have the one

5. What are your goals/aspirations for the next 25 years in terms of becoming empty nesters if children are involved etc.?

a. Her: My goal is to live debt free and just enjoy life upon my retirement. I also want to work and be involved in art (paintings, drawings, etc.). In addition, I would also like to travel with my husband to the Maldives.

b. Him: I’ve traveled but I want to show her the world. I want us to gift the world with two amazing adult sons and I want us to be an example for families in our community.

6. Was there ever a moment when you gave up, and were just roommates, and how did you come back from that?

a. Her: Unfortunately, I can never stay mad at my husband for more than two days. At the moments when I felt like giving up, the arguments that we had were very trivial when I look back on it. We always end up just talking after an argument and we always begin our conversations with trying to understand how the other person felt.

b. Him: I don’t believe in failing. I never give up. I also don’t want the judicial system in my life in any form (jail, divorce, child support, etc.) so that motivates me to always work it out.

7. What advice would they give others in regards to making it work?

a. Her: Always have fun together and laugh together. Date one another and make time for each other.

b. Him: Remember it was the two of you first then you added God with that covenant so it can only get better. Nothing is too hard if you look in the mirror before you look at each other to blame.

8. If they could do it all over again what would they do differently to improve their marriage

a. Her: I would spent more time just dating Joe. I would have lived alone for awhile before Joe and I got together. (I had a nice apartment and let him stay with me over the summer and we were dating). I think the time alone would have let me “miss” him more while we were apart.

b. Him: I would work on me and establish myself more so I can give her the world.

9. When life got hard, how well did they know their spouse to give them the support they needed in their time of need?

a. Her: I know my husband well enough to know that he needs verbal support when times get hard. I feel that he actually needs to hear how well he is doing or how proud I am of him. Hearing supportive words just lets him know how much I have his back 100%.

b. Him: I know my wife is a dreamer and I let her know that she can do anything she puts her mind to. I also show her support through action. If she wants to paint, I get art supplies. If she wants to see, I get a sewing machine. If she wants to barber, she can cut her sons hair not mine lol.

Prairie View Panthers, PVAMU, HBCU

10. What do you do to stay connected when your marriage hits a dry spell?

a. Her: I don’t think my marriage has hit a dry spell, but I love when we go back to campus during Homecoming and just relive our days when we fell in love. So every year, it’s like we rekindle what we have.

b. Him: We always go back to the starting point PVAMU. It’s an actual place to remind us of why this [our relationship] exists in the first place. I also take it upon myself to try to be the spontaneous one hoping she’ll follow my lead and even if she doesn’t I enjoy doing things for her.

11. Are you still as happy as in the beginning?

a. Her: I believe I am! We have more responsibility because of children, and we sometimes get caught up with work, but we always make time for one another which makes us both happy.

b. Him: I’m happier. We’ve been blessed in this Union with children, careers, family and friends so keep them coming God.

12. Do you do EVERYTHING together?

a. Her: Not at all! We are so comfortable in our marriage that he has his likes and I have my likes. I think we would get on each others nerves if we hung out too much. We also really don’t like shopping together, I’d rather go by myself….all the time.

b. Him: I like spending time with her. I also like missing her. I like they we have taken on some of each other’s hobbies but still have our own things. It helps us maintain and grow in our differences.

13. Is one or the other the “boss”? How do you handle “submission”?

a. Her: I do believe that I have to submit to my husband because it is in the Bible, but Joe loves me like Christ loved the church. I feel that we make a great team, but Joe has the final say in all decisions that affects us and our family. I respect that, but before he makes a decision, he also asks for my opinion or my advice. I did have a problem with submission before we got married, but after marriage counseling, I learned what my role of wife is and should be.

b. Him: The boss in this relationship is God. My role is to take responsibility for this family that she manages. We both have things we’re great at and recognize each other’s strengths and weaknesses. She submits to my role based on my submission to God’s role. That’s the only way it will work.

PVAMU, HBCU, College sweethearts

14. Do you both work outside the home? How does that affect the relationship?

a. Her: We both work full time and it affects us greatly. We both come home extremely exhausted, and have to cook, clean, feed the kids, and put them to bed, and try to carve out time for ourselves. We usually end up falling asleep on the couch watching TV after the kids have gone to bed.

b. Him: Working is fine. Working and parenting tats different. We both had to adjust to sharing time as mates and as parents. We still make sure to Netflix and Chill though. Sometimes just On Demand and Sleep.

15. When you married were your long term goals exactly the same?

a. Her: Yes. We both agreed that we would have 4 children…but those plans have changed!!! We now agree that two children are just fine. We also wanted to be homeowners, which we are.

b. Him: Other than kids we didn’t really have goals together. But we have them now and they’re aligned.

16. Have they changed over time?

a. Her: Now we have a long term goal of furthering our careers and continue our marriage.

b. Him: Enjoy our careers, strengthen this marriage and achieve financial wealth.

17. Were you both believers when you married?

a. Her: Yes, we actually hadn’t gone to church in awhile before we were married. But Joe got us back in church not only attending church, but serving in ministry in church.

b. Him: Always. I also knew an important part of keeping a strong marriage was a strong faith walk so I found us a church home to nurture us as a family.

18. Is there any one thing that has held your marriage together?

a. Her: Faith. We know that we are keeping our covenant with God and we are following His plan for a successful marriage.

b. Him: Faith. Knowing that God won’t put more on us than we can bear.

19. Anything that has caused it excessive stress?

a. Her: Of course, disagreements over money and how I shouldn’t spend it all.

b. Him: Money. That’s not her particular ministry. It’s like trying to teach a cat to bark.

20. Have you ever needed counseling?

a. Her: At one point when Joe was working a very stressful job, and the stress affected our marriage because we couldn’t come up with any resolution for Joe to keep work at work and not bring negativity home. Our counseling has helped us.

b. Him: Once. I was at a job that was tearing me down. I wasn’t praying. I wasn’t being appropriate. I needed someone to help me see where I was messing up.

21. Have either ever felt “less in love” or loved less than in the beginning?

a. Her: No, I think since we have been through so much (good and bad), that had actually brought us closer together.

b. Him: No. I think it has been said in anger but never shown.

22. Where do you see your marriage in 10 years?

a. Her: One child getting ready to go to college, and dealing with the financial aspect of that, and also being prepared to spend more time together as we enter the phase of an “empty nest”. I also see our marriage becoming more “comfortable” in terms of doing more things that make us happy apart.

b. Him: Stronger than ever. Sending a kid to college. Helping another through high school. Having more time with each other.

23. Is marriage how you expected it to be when you were single or engaged? If not, how is it different?

a. Her: I actually believed that I would feel this “wedded bliss” after the wedding, but we were so used to each other and being around one another that it actually felt natural. I felt that nothing changed.

b. Him: Marriage is hard but it’s right. It feels natural.

24. How have you stayed together when the culture around says to leave if things get hard?

a. Her: Joe and I have so much invested in this marriage, that there is no way we can leave each other. I also think no other man can handle my personality. We always keep our faith strong and always know that God despises divorce. Before we got married, Joe told me that he doesn’t believe in divorce and it will never be an option.

b. Him: Plain and simple I don’t believe in divorce. I don’t participate in Abuse or Abandonment so I see no other reason to divorce.

25. Have you ever felt as if you loved your spouse, but were not “in love” with them? Did you struggle with that? Did that tempt you to leave?

a. Her: It took awhile for me to be “in love” with Joe. I told myself that I wouldn’t marry him until I fell in love with him. After being together and having a long engagement, I fell in love with him. We have had our disagreements during the engagement and I have been tempted to leave but the fact that I was about to marry this man and he and I were in love, that always brought us back together.

b. Him: Never had that struggle. I was sure to make sure my feelings were true before I put her feelings on the line. Didn’t want to risk hurting her.