As of the publishing of this column, I’ve been married for 1.5 weeks. 

Just a lifetime to go. 

Saturday, Dec. 28, will be a date I’ll always remember. After 5.5 years of dating, including about 2.5 years of engagement, we wed in Greenwood, Texas, a small community about 10 miles north of my hometown of Decatur. About 100 family and friends attended. 

This was supposed to happen sooner, but life also happened. 

Maci and I got engaged in July 2017. I was working at a newspaper in my hometown, my first job out of college. We both lived with our parents. In October, I lost that job as the newspaper downsized. 

I’d been pursuing an alternative certification in teaching, with several of the required tests already completed. I planned to leave at the end of the year to start student teaching. 

All of a sudden, I was facing the possibility of a much longer period without a paycheck. What if I didn’t get hired to teach? A future of unemployment while living under my parents’ roof loomed. 

So, I took a chance. 

I applied for 15 jobs at newspapers, TV stations and magazines in Texas and surrounding states, hoping to find one no more than four hours from home. 

In the end, and after several interviews, I got an offer from my farthest pick, The Jonesboro Sun in Jonesboro, Arkansas, located in the northeast corner of the state and about eight hours from home. 

Newspaper jobs are hard to come by, and, after a long discussion with my fiancee, I moved. That year, I worked on Christmas Day before leaving at 3 a.m. the next Wednesday to spend the New Year’s holiday with my family. Over the next 1.5 years, I’d call home a lot and drive home occasionally. 

Getting engaged, then living eight hours away from each other, wasn’t the plan, but we made it work. 

She flew in to Memphis and we’d eat barbeque before spending a couple of days together. 

It was nice, and part of me loved the bachelor pad apartment I’d found in Jonesboro and the life I’d carved out with the local gang of cyclists, but it was no home. 

In July, we got the news Maci had been accepted to Southwest Baptist University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree Program. It was the call we’d been waiting on, because once we knew where she’d be in school for the next three years, I could plan a job search there instead of ticking off the months away from both my family and my fiancee. 

Plus, the four hours from Jonesboro to Bolivar is four hours shorter than the drive to Texas. After a number of visits, I found work here at the BH-FP in February and moved up just a few weeks later. 

Since then, I’ve had an early preview of married life, living together and even moving across town together. 

So, when Saturday rolled around, I was ready. People have wished us well and given tips, like, “Never go to bed angry,” along with asking if married life feels different. 

It doesn’t. It feels like home.  

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