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Going the distance

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On February 14, many singles and couples across the nation will prepare to visit the nearest movie theater or sit in the comfort of their home and watch a romantic movie. It will probably go something like this: girl meets boy; boy chases girl; girl falls in love with his good looks, witty charm and bad boy persona; boy loses girl's trust; boy mopes around during a minute-long music montage; boy realizes he made a mistake; and boy goes through drastic measures to win her back. Next, cue the classic eighties love anthem, a taxi driver who is oh-so-willing to “follow that car!” and you've got the makings of a Hollywood hit and, consequently, every girl's dream. But, what if love doesn't actually fall out of the sky and hit us on the head, instantly inciting a Journey song? What if love requires patiece, kindness and an endless amount of hard work? Perhaps love is promising to, not only spend the rest of your life enjoying someone's company, but to also spend the rest of your life arguing with them; signing up for the good, the bad and, sometimes, the ugly. In addition, perhaps young couples and singles shouldn't look to big screen romances for lessons in love-- they might be surprised to find that examples of true love can be found right here in Madison County. Greenville natives, Bobby and Jan Brown have been married for 59 years. Their love for one another is evident to their relatives, friends and church family at Greenville Baptist, where the couple faithfully attends. They were married in 1956 when Jan was 21 and Bobby, 26. They were young, in love and determined from the start to make their marriage work. “Ruth ‘Ma-Pop’ Reams introduced us,” said Jan Brown. “I was living with her at the time and she told me about Bobby and thought I might like him.” Many believe love means that a man locks eyes with a girl across the room and the world stops spinning. But, maybe, finding love requires putting ourselves out there, venturing out of our comfort zones, making friends and, like Jan, perhaps it’s agreeing to meet someone a close friend recommends. Either way, a little foot work is involved and, just maybe, love happens somewhere along the way. It did for Bobby and Jan. On falling in love, Jan said: “They grow on you. We enjoyed doing the same things and shared many interests. We grew to really like each other. Plus, my mother told me Bobby was a confirmed bachelor and I would never get him-- of course that was simply a challenge!” Jan proved her mother wrong, of course. She and Bobby fell in love and have been together ever since. But, falling in love is easy -- it’s “till death do us part” that sends the masses running. On making it the distance, Jan noted, “We always hashed out our problems-- sometimes you just have to forget about it and move on.” In addition, Jan attributes their happy marriage to a beautiful daughter, Karen, and a marriage rooted in a strong Christian faith. Jan graciously offered some advice to young couples who are just begininng their journey: “A long time ago, our good family friend Lawton Burnett told Bobby and I to never leave the house without kissing each other goodbye. And, of course, never go to bed angry.” Jan and Bobby are a great example for young couples to follow. They chose each other, worked hard and never let their faith in God or each other waiver. Making it the distance requires dedication and persistance, but, if you still get butterflies when your sweetheart walks into a room 59 years later, wasn't it all worth it?

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