Creating new memories is a way to keep an old marriage healthy. That is a message Kim and Krickitt Carpenter will be delivering when the couple speaks in Columbus on Nov. 12.
The two will be appearing at the Right from the Start luncheon at the St. Luke Ministry Center.
Perhaps, nobody knows more about having to create new memories than the Carpenters.
Their story was told in the Carpenters' book and the 2012 hit movie by the same name, "The Vow," in which characters based on them were portrayed by Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams.
It was 1993 and the couple had been married almost 10 weeks when they were in a serious automobile crash on Interstate 40 near the New Mexico-Arizona border. It was the night before Thanksgiving.
Krickitt was driving their Ford Escort. She swerved to avoid colliding into the back of a slow-moving flatbed truck that had no taillights. When she did, a pickup truck slammed into their driver's side door. The Carpenters' car flipped over a couple of times.
Kim suffered injuries including broken ribs and a punctured lung. Krickitt suffered a head injury that would keep her in a deep coma for 21 days and coma status for four months.
When she awoke, the nurse asked Krickitt who her husband was. Her reply was that she did not have a husband. She could not recall anything about the previous 18 months and did not recognize Kim at all. She was not interested in having anything to do with him. Looking at their wedding photos and videos had no effect, either.
"I had made a vow until death do us part," Kim said. "I was not going to give up on Krickitt. Regardless of how Krickitt felt, I loved her."
They began to date all over again. She fell in love with Kim again, and in 1996 there was another wedding ceremony.
They now live in New Mexico with their two children.
She rekindled the relationship with Kim, she said, because she figured if she had fallen in love with him before, she could again.
"You are going to have challenges but you can overcome adversity," Kim said.
Their story is a fitting one for the fundraising occasion that is bringing them here.
Right from the Start is a family and marriage initiative dedicated to building strong marriages. The goals of the organization are to lower the divorce rate, lower the rate of out of wedlock pregnancies, and increase father involvement in the lives of children in Muscogee County.
The Pastoral Institute, New Horizons, Neighborworks, The Family Center and Enrichment Services Program are community partners.
Krickitt said couples need to take their wedding vows seriously.
"You make a vow, you need to keep it," she said. "It is a promise. Whatever you do, you need to be a person of your word and do the right thing."
Kim said sometimes people who have been married a long time get into a routine and that can kill a marriage. He said couples "dig ditches" with the husband digging his and the wife digging hers.
"Soon, they are so deep they can't reach other," Kim said.
He said a solution is to create new memories, do new things together.
"Personalities change, habits change," he said. "You are not the same person you were 20 years ago and neither is your mate. You have to adapt."
Kim said he met a 93-year-old man who had been married for 71 years. He asked him for the secret of his successful marriage.
The man placed his hand on Kim's shoulder and said, "Keep the fire alive, baby."
Krickitt said if counseling is needed to keep a marriage going, people should not hesitate to get it.
Faith has played a big part in their success.
"The Lord does amazing things," Krickitt said. "We could not have done what we did without faith. Our biggest disappointment in the movie is that they left the faith out of it."
She said she is told by people that their story is inspiring.
Kim said the book they wrote in 2000 has now been printed in 22 languages. An updated version is available.
The luncheon will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The cost is $25 per person or $200 for a table of eight.
Those interested in attending should call 706-507-0895, ext. 1247.