Life is too short to live with regret.
Forty-three years ago, Jeanne Gustavson of Portland, Oregon made a decision that she instantly regretted. She broke off her nearly-8-year relationship with Steve Watts, a fellow student at Loyola University, because her family disapproved of their interracial romance.
“I regretted what I did right after I did it,” Jeanne said. “It was almost immediate. I knew I shouldn’t have ended the relationship the way I did but at that point, I didn’t know what else to do.”
Decades later, Jeanne still hadn’t forgotten about her first true love. She embarked on a seven-month mission to track Steve down to find out if there was still a spark between them. When she found him disabled and living in a nursing home in Chicago, Illinois, she knew right away that their love was still alive and well!
Jeanne, a retired nurse, moved heaven and earth to bring Steve back to her home in Portland, where she can care for him herself. They live together now, and they’re still madly in love. Six months after Steve moved in with Jeanne, they finally made their love official by getting married!
The wedding was held in the backyard of their home. Since they met in German club all those years ago (Steve also worked as a German teacher during his career), the event had a German theme complete with music, beer, and food. Jeanne wore a pale blue dress, and Steve wore a matching blue shirt with his suit.
In their vows, the couple promised to never be apart again.
“I’ll love you forever,” Jeanne told Steve. “You’re my soulmate, my best friend and I want to share forever with you.”
“The first time I saw you, my heart whispered, ‘She’s the one,'” Steve replied. “My heart was so right.”
In a sweet act of family solidarity, Jeanne’s brother, Tony Mathis, officiated the ceremony. He remembers how his parents reacted to their friendship back in the day, and he has helped Jeanne reunite with Steve any way he can.
“It doesn’t matter what others may say,” Tony said tearfully. “What matters is how you feel and what’s in your heart.”
Jeanne says she has forgiven her parents for their racism. She hopes that now that her mother has passed, she somehow understands that race doesn’t matter; it’s all about love. Most importantly, Jeanne and Steve no longer care what others think!
It was a hard-won lesson, and one that cost them over 40 years together, but better late than never! Please join us in wishing these newlyweds the best as they finally make their love official after all these years.
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