". In your eyes, the light, the heat, in your eyes, I am complete."
- Peter Gabriel
Keith was stationed outside of Washington, D.C. while in the Marines. He remembered the day, December 6, 1991, that he decided, out of the blue, to phone Amy. Because of his affinity for numbers, he recalled Amy's home phone number though they had not spent much time together since Keith moved away from their hometown in Michigan in the tenth grade.
Amazingly, he was informed that Amy was also in Washington, D.C. He was elated and quickly contacted her. They agreed to meet on the Capital Building steps. Amy fondly retold how, when she turned the corner, "I remember catching my breath, 'Oh my. Keith Watson,'" she thought. "He is so tall and good looking." She had fallen in love with him in the sixth grade and seeing him again confirmed it. "Wow, this is the guy I want to marry."
They spent a short time together before he left to be stationed in Okinawa, Japan. Over the year they wrote letters to each other that were six to eight pages long on both sides. It took six weeks for each letter to crisscross the globe. Through those letters they learned about each other. Their deep and open writings led to their decision to get married. "My grandmother claims credit for our marriage," Amy said. "She really liked Keith and encouraged me to write the letters and tell him exactly how I felt." When he returned they married and didn't really start dating until after they were married. During the early years they would stay up late into the night, sometimes till dawn, getting lost in their conversations. There were many times they drove well beyond their destinations as they talked - so engrossed in their discussions. They were and are true friends.
Both Amy and Keith give credit to pastor John Krieger of the Community Bible Church for his great advice that married couples should continue to date each other. Every week they have a date night, which has kept their marriage sturdy and strengthened their friendship. "It's so important to do. Couples tend to drift apart if they don't communicate regularly," Amy reflected. They also learned how to better interact after reading the book, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. The book taught them how to apply primary love languages, e.g. Acts of Service and Quality Time. Their efforts have helped to keep their love alive.
Through the love in their marriage and their commitment to God, they have, in their sixteen years of marriage, happily enlarged their family by eight. Their children range in age from newborn to fourteen years. "As each child joins your family, they just join the fold. There's plenty of love and time for all." They did not make a conscious decision to have a large family. They don't believe they are the authors of their life. "You can't half-way trust in God, that's not trusting God. Trust is trust," Keith said. They felt like God wanted them to trust Him with their family size so they did and it's been joyful.
Amy home schools all of their children. "I wasn't on board at first but God seemed to be preparing me." She felt she was receiving signs about learning to become more organized and subsequently prepared for the endeavor. "We have a one room school house upstairs. All of the children participate and the younger ones pick up on what the older kids are learning." Amy said. "It is an incentive for the older kids to answer before the younger ones, and also the older siblings like to read to and help their younger sisters and brothers." It has been a win/win situation. Part of the strength of Amy and Keith's relationship has not only been their friendship, date nights and love languages, but also that they are secure in the knowledge that they are the primary relationship in one another's lives. They know they will always be each other's strength and support for the rest of their lives. Keith and Amy are passing on their legacy to their children - a legacy which was passed down by their families. Both sets of parents are still married, as are all of Keith and Amy's siblings. It's a family strength and value.
Their wedding song was "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel, which is also Amy's ring tone on her phone. During our conversation, they often looked to each other for support and acceptance of what each was saying. It is easy to see that love is communicated with every word and glance. The glow in their eyes stems from mutual respect and appreciation. Their kind of love is clearly what songs and poems are made of.
Years in the Low Country: 12
Children: Five girls and three boys
Interesting fact about Amy: Worked for a US Senator after college
Interesting fact about Keith: He was a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, but more than anything, he relishes spending his free time with his wife and children.
Most unique aspect of their marriage: They continue to date each other.
Shared opinion: The honeymoon continues.