Tracey Yoakum & Justin Dillard - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Always & Forever Finalist

Tracey Yoakum & Justin Dillard

Justin and I first met when we were both working at O'Charley's.  He was a server and I had just started as a hostess.  It was towards the middle of 2002.  I still remember the first time I saw him.  For anyone who has ever known Justin, they would agree that his personality just draws you to him.  This November we will have been together for nearly four years.  I would love to sit here and say that we haven't had our share of rough times, but that just isn't so.  One of the things that make Justin and I so strong in our relationship is our ability to work through those difficult times. What couple hasn't had to work at their relationship?  Both of our parents are divorced, so we know firsthand the things that contribute to marriages falling apart.  Today, marriage seems to be no more than two people moving in together, giving it a try, and then giving up when things get tough.  Justin's parent's divorce did not affect him in the way that my parent's divorce affected me.  When I was younger I made a vow to myself that I would never let my marriage fail.  As a result I became scared to death of commitment and didn't realize it, at least right away.  It took a little while for me to come to the realization that this wonderful man is never going to leave me.  I thank the Lord every single day for blessing me in the way that He has.  Justin and I have grown so much over the years in so many ways.  Our love for one another is simply amazing, and it gets stronger every day.  The most wonderful way we have grown is in our faith and commitment to the Lord.  Justin joined my church earlier this year, which is where I have attended since I was a little girl.  Justin and I feel in our hearts that it is the Lord's will for us to be together.  I think that so many marriages are unsuccessful today because people don't put their marriage in the hands of the Lord and trust Him.  We feel that He wants us to be dependent on Him and to glorify him in every phase of our lives.  Marriage is simply one's promise of a lifetime.  Not only is it a promise to one another, but it is a promise to the Lord.  Justin and I realize that a marriage will be more than just the good times.  It is about communication, hard work, trust, accepting one's faults, honesty, and most of all, unconditional love.  Justin and I have had to work at our relationship and will work even harder at our marriage.  We believe what makes a successful marriage is the willingness to work through anything.  My grandmother always told me that two people planning on being married should experience certain aspects of life together to see how one another handles and reacts to various situations.  Together, Justin and I have experienced death, marriage, and divorce within our families.  We have had the opportunity to observe one another in various social situations with family and friends.  Just and I are planning to become engaged around the beginning of 2007.  Justin is a firefighter and I start cosmetology school soon, so financial ability is definitely a factor we will have to consider in planning our wedding. If we are chosen as the 2007 Always and Forever bride and groom, not only will we have wonderful memories of a dream wedding, but we will be able to begin the rest of our lives together, for which we will be forever grateful.

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