When Jackie and Tom first started dating, Tom was 25 years old. At the time, he says he never imagined himself getting married until he was closer to 55.
"We started dating, and I had just all these incredible strong feelings of, 'I want to be married to you. I want to have babies with you,'" he says. "I couldn't believe it because I was just not at that point in my life, and yet, those feelings never went away."
Jackie and Tom tied the knot nine years ago, but Tom admits marriage isn't what he thought it would be. "I thought it was going to be maybe like dating, only legal," he says. "I had no idea...it was like kind of becoming part of something bigger than myself for the first time."
Over the years, Tom and Jackie say they've gone from being two 20-somethings in love to the parents of two children. "It's been amazing to me how we've been able to accommodate each other's growth at different times and on different levels," Tom says.
When Jackie was considering marriage, she says she looked to her parents for inspiration. "My parents were great role models," she says. "They fought and they laughed and they cuddled and they did all of that stuff."
Now, Jackie says she's learned for herself what it takes to have a healthy marriage. "I think a lot of marriage is understanding the other person," she says. "Not just communicating, but actually understanding what he's saying."