Make It Last Forever: Travis And Jackie Greene Talk The 7-Year Itch And Other Marriage Myths
This week, we had the privilege of catching up with gospel recording artist Travis Greene and his lovely wife, Jackie Greene. The pair spoke candidly about some common marriage myths—including the one about the seven-year itch and the assumption that your first year of marriage is the toughest. Continue reading to find out what the Greenes had to say about these misconceptions and what marriage taught them.
How did you meet?
Travis: We met at a college ministry event about nine years ago. I was there to sing. After that, we were walking in the parking lot, and I saw Jackie with two of her friends. I just started talking to them, told them my name and asked what their names were. She said her name was Jackie, and I was like “Oh, you look like your name should be Kathy.” She was like, “Okay.” But yeah, that was the first time we met, and that was it. I went home. I lived about an hour and a half away. I had just graduated from the college. I came back out about a month later, I had another event, and she was there. I literally just put my number in her phone and called myself from it. We stopped by the Waffle House, and the rest is history.
Dating as a Christian can obviously be very challenging. What was your dating experience like and what kind of obstacles did you face?
Jackie: Truthfully, it can be difficult to date as a Christian. But one thing that I thought was so unique about our situation, which was also an obstacle, is that we were long distance. Just in totality, thinking about how God knew how we would be in the future with him traveling and different things like that, it was a setup for our good. I believe even with us being long distance; it allowed us to talk through a lot of things that I think a lot of people don’t take the time to get to know about each other in the beginning. Travis and I had countless numbers of five and six-hour conversations. We talked about our dreams and what we wanted to be. I think that when we entered into marriage, there weren’t a lot of things that we didn’t know about each other. It really strengthened our ability to communicate and the way we would actually walk in our relationship. So I guess, I would say what was an obstacle for us, in the beginning, turned out to be a strength for us.
How long did you date before you realized that you had something serious?
Travis: I think she knew all along. I knew that it was definitely different and unique, but I had just character issues. Pride. I just had to grow up. When we met, she was nineteen, and I was twenty-two. I just had to work through that stuff, and mature and grow up a little bit. We dated for like four years. We met in 2007, and we dated until 2011—kind of on and off. I proposed in January of 2011, and we were married in December of 2011. It was a long process.
The only thing I would tell people is don’t be engaged long. You can date long, but a long engagement sucks, and we were engaged for 11 months. That wasn’t fun because you’re kind of married but you’re kind of not.
So let’s talk about the proposal.
Jackie: Travis will tell you that I definitely know that it was coming. He didn’t believe me when I told him that I was actually surprised. I guess it’s kind of good and bad being connected to God. I was in dental school at the time, and I remember being in the parking lot talking to the girl that I was closest with at the time. I remember telling her that it felt like something was going on—like there was some type of stirring—but I didn’t know specifically that it was Travis proposing. It was also the weekend that I was getting ready to go to the Stellar Awards because he was nominated for a Stellar. I just figured, “It’s a big weekend. Maybe he’s going to win.” I really didn’t know exactly what was going on, so there was a lot of anticipation inside of me. I knew something was up, but I definitely didn’t know that he was going to propose so I was really, really surprised and excited.
What was the biggest shock of married life?
Travis: We adjusted very quickly to married life. I think she said it best when she said that we had a lot of time to get to know each other while we were dating long distance. Not a whole lot changed once we were married because she was still in dental school, which was very time-consuming. I was working out of state at a church, so we were commuting all of the time anyway. It wasn’t much different. We don’t really have the story of the first year being the hardest year and all of that stuff. It was just an adjustment, and as long as you have two people who are willing to be unselfish and the first to apologize, everything turns out okay.