By Deb DeArmond

There are times in life you make a commitment to something without full understanding of what that entails. Kind of a leap of faith, a we’ll roll with the punches and hope for the best sort of deal

We just returned from a family vacation. I mean the w-h-o-l-e family. Adult sons, their wives, two grandsons—and one of the girls is pregnant. We did the beach, Disney and Universal Studios; some saw a Tonight Show taping, while others headed to a concert in San Diego. We knew going into the week there might be some moments when we might become frustrated or impatient with one another. As a family, we can be a bit dramatic, so we weren’t blindsided when it happened. It all worked out.

But it was the sundown on the sands of Corona Del Mar that took an unexpected turn . . .

It was our late afternoon plan to take family pictures on the beach just as the sun was going down. We engaged a talented young photographer to snap some photos, both of the entire group and each individual family as well. Each son, his wife and baby (one still hitching a ride in Mama’s tummy) stepped in front of the lens to capture a special moment at the edge of the Pacific.

At last, with the sun threatening to disappear beneath the sea, my hubby and I stepped up to have our picture taken. The photographer positioned us, asked us to kiss, and then something odd happened . . .My husband took a knee. Literally, he fell to his knees in front of me. For a brief moment I thought to myself, Oh Lord! He’s having a stroke! But I quickly realized my concern was misplaced when I saw him produce a beautiful ring box from his pocket.

“Would you do it all again with me?” he asked. “Will you marry me?”

I was stunned. The kids all stood nearby, whistling and clapping. Apparently, they had been in on the surprise. I was completely caught off guard, but I negotiated the lump in my throat, and finally found my voice.

“Yes, Sweetheart. I’d do it again. I still choose you.” He beamed. I cried a little. Then I reached for the ring.

He did good. Clearly, he had been taking notes as I looked in jewelry store windows at the mall. It’s one of the things I love about this man. He has a giving heart. We finished the evening with a fabulous dinner on the beach in Laguna—one of my favorite places on the planet, surrounded by the 8.5 people most important to us in life.

But the best part of the night for me came later, as we sat and talked about our evening.

“What on earth gave you the idea to do this?” I asked him. “You never even proposed 38 years ago.” We met young and quickly knew we would marry, so we simply began making wedding plans.

“I know,” he said with a grin. “You didn’t have a proposal story. Every woman should have a proposal story and I wanted you to have one. This is yours, even if it’s a little late.”

Somehow, that makes it even better.

At 19 when we got engaged, we didn’t know anything.  I mean it when I say we knew nothing about what life would bring our way. We had no clue that marriage would be a full-time job requiring energy and effort we didn’t realize we could produce, much less, sustain.

We hadn’t envisioned babies with ear infections at two in the morning, or caring for elderly parents while raising our children. Layoffs, second mortgages, braces, and college tuition. Moments that pushed us hard and created conflict between us on occasion. It wasn’t always easy, but it was always worth the effort—made possible, because we did it together.

So when the question came, “Would you do it all again?” it was with a full understanding of what those 37+ years of life together meant. That he’d desire to repeat it all meant the world to me. The fact I was able to say “yes” without hesitation tells our story. We love one another fiercely.

Love is not a feeling, and neither is marriage. Each is a choice, one that must be made every single day, even if it’s spoken through gritted teeth. And we are smart enough to know we could never manage on our own; we understand the path—united in Christ is how we started, and how we will have to continue if we plan to finish strong. And that is our plan.

It’s an act of our will to choose our marriage, day in and day out. And it’s His grace that makes that choice possible. Those couples whose marriages thrive have learned the secret: it’s all in the choices you make.

Are there more surprises ahead for us? Sure—and we will handle it, just as we always have. Together, in Him. It’s a winning combination.

And Sweetheart, I choose you, again, today.





Deb DeArmond: Deb is wife to her high school sweetheart, Ron, who showed her the path to become a Christ follower 38 years ago. Mom to three incredible sons. Gigi to two perfect grandboys. But Jesus is her favorite, and the guys have learned to live with it. Speaker. Author. Entrepreneur. She is a transplanted Californian who has been a proud Texan for almost 8 years and she Ioves the Lone Star state!

She is optimistically mid-life and excited about the next stage of life and what God has for her now. She longs to see experienced women find their passion and place in the body of Christ, show up and finish strong. One of Deb’s favorite quotes comes from author Agatha Christie, who said, “I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming… suddenly you find – at the age of 50, say – that a whole new life has opened before you.”


  1. 5-20-2013

    You’re so brave…a whole week with the whole family! Great story of keeping love alive. What a precious memory.

    • 5-21-2013

      Sharon- it’s a memory I will treasure always.

  2. 5-20-2013

    Love it, love it, love it!

    • 5-21-2013

      Thanks – it’s been a sweet gift I will savor for a very long time.

  3. 5-20-2013

    What a great way to share a wonderful truth. True love is work, and chosen love is the best kind of love. Your husband sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing that story with us. It makes me love my husband even more today.

    • 5-21-2013

      For those of us who are married, Cheri, we know what work it is. But you are absolutely right that chosen love is the best kind! Thanks-Deb

  4. 5-20-2013

    Deb I love your article. What a wonderful surprise!! And what a joy to have your entire family present to witness your love and commitment to one another. I couldn’t agree more…it is all in the choices we make. Marriage takes work and commitment, but when we keep the Lord at the center He blesses it. Congrats on finding the winning combination! Terri

    • 5-21-2013

      Terri – Having the whole family there WAS one of the very best parts. Thanks for your comments! Deb

  5. 5-20-2013

    *Sigh*…how romantic! Good job, Ron!

    • 5-22-2013

      Yes, Katie, I agree. Ron has always been the more romantic one. I am so grateful!

  6. 5-21-2013

    Love and marriage is not a feeling. DD you continue to be a breath
    of fresh air. congratulations..if you have any more children(sons)
    would you think about naming him Tex? haha

    take care
    You the best

    SueCaldwell, Houston

    • 5-21-2013

      Sue – no more sons! But grandsons are still a growth opportunity. Thanks for your sweet support and encouragement. Deb

  7. 5-23-2013

    Your story made me teary – in a good way. What a wonderful relationship! What a fabulous memory to remind you of it! I agree with love and marriage (and many other positive and negative “feelings”) being daily choices. Thank you for sharing this story!

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