Bethany & Donny's Inspiring Love Story
My grandparents were married for over 50 years, my mom and dad were too. These are my role models about how marriage is supposed to be….for life. My husband’s parents still hold hands. I remember when we first started dating telling him how cool I thought that was.
When I met my future husband, Donny, we were in college. But we didn’t meet in college, we met ice skating. Yes, ice skating. My group of friends would go skating at the local rink on Wednesdays and Sundays, and so did his group of friends. At first one of his friends, Jeff, hit on me and asked me out. We went on a total of two dates before I figured out what a jerk he was. But I thought Jeff’s friend Donny was cute. Donny and I started hanging out a bit as friends, still at the rink. Then I invited him to a couple of college parties with me. However, being young, dumb and in college, I didn’t really see it for what it was at first. I thought of him as a friend, and actually another one of my friends was interested in him, so I tried to keep him as just a friend for her sake. It wasn’t until a party, where I got stupidly drunk that things started to change. I was in rare form and acting like a complete idiot, but Donny was there to pick up the pieces. That was when I started to realize, this guy may be more than a friend; this guy has seen me at my worst and hasn’t headed for the hills yet.
My junior year of college I moved in with a group of five other girls, we had parties all the time in our house and Donny came over all the time to hang out, which turned into him just starting to stay over. I remember sitting on the floor of my bedroom facing each other cross legged having a chat, when he first told me he loved me. It scared me at first and I kind of backed away. Maybe I didn’t want to believe it….or trust it yet…but the look in his eyes was so genuine and sweet, that was when I knew I had fallen. When I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in theater, there wasn’t much opportunity for a budding actress in Omaha, Nebraska, so I decided to take an office job. Donny worked at Best Buy at the time, and would take me to work every day. It was awesome having that time together in the mornings and after work to just sit and chat, and grow closer.
Later, Donny was hired at the same office job where I worked, but it was then I decided to go back to school for sign language interpreting. He supported me all the way through two of the most grueling years of college learning a brand-new language. We were both so busy at that time, it was harder to get together. College was about a 45 minute drive each way and we didn’t get to ride together anymore. There seemed to be a distance growing between us and I started to have doubts that we were going to make it, but he was steadfast and going nowhere.
On Christmas eve 1995, he surprised me at his parents’ house with a gift. I told him I didn’t want to open it because we always opened gifts at his Aunt and Uncles’. He asked me to open it while his mom and dad watched (well his dad was playing with the dog really loudly, but was still watching). The gift was a Precious Moments statue that had the little boy with a sign saying “check yes or no.” Since I collected Precious Moments, I didn’t think anything of it and thought it was cute. I asked him, “couldn’t this have waited to open until later?” It was then he got down on one knee and the first words out of my mouth were…No way….and I started to cry. But it was true, he was proposing. My mother-in-law was filming it all and crying, I was crying, even Donny was crying. It was beautiful, and we got to tell our whole families at our Christmas get-togethers.
That was right before my Grandpa died. I am so grateful that Donny was able to meet my Grandpa and we could share our engagement with him. We waited the two years for me to graduate from my program before we got married. In the meantime, Donny’s job transferred him to Des Moines, Iowa and I was able to move there to do an internship there too and be with him. July 12, 1997 was the big day-- we got married!
Of course we had our ups and downs. Living in a new city we didn’t know anyone, so we traveled home almost every weekend at first. We went through the “7 year itch” like some couples do. But we managed to fight through it and came out the other side even better. To celebrate our 10 year anniversary, we decided to do something big and we renewed our vows in Las Vegas. The ceremony was performed by Elvis and about twenty-five of our closest friends and family joined us.
We have been through a lot together, my Grandparents passing, his Grandparents passing, losing other family members, moving back home to Omaha when my mom was so sick, and one of the hardest things ever; the passing of my Mom in 2018. Most recently, all three of our dogs (aka our kids) passed away in the span of 5 months and a good friend of Donny’s was killed in a car accident. But through it all, we have been together. Through it all, we have held each other up when we felt like we couldn’t stand. And no matter what happens we tell each other, “We will get through it together.” We have and we will continue to do so. We never leave the house without saying “I love you.” Because you never know if that will be your last time to say it and it’s so important. One friend even asked Donny why he said he
loved me a few times before hanging up the phone. He said, “I want her to know, life is uncertain, you never know what could happen and it’s so important that she knows.” That is the motto we live by.
In this difficult, unsure time, I always know I have my rock to lean on. This year we will celebrate 24 years of marriage, but we’ve been together for 28 years; more than half our lives. I could never make it without Donny. He is the love of my life and the one that I lean on through this pandemic, through the good times and the bad. Forever and ever, Amen.
~ Love Story written by Bethany Koubsky
Note: This love story is part of on ongoing curation in a series called Love Stories that details how couples met and their advice on how to create a long and happy marriage. Want to tell your love story and be a featured Love Story on Happy Little Vows? We'd love to hear it! Check out our HLV Instructions for more details.