Love Conquers All
Written by Tony Chalek Photos by Meghan Shupe
Sometimes love blossoms from ongoing exposure and proximity to that special someone. But other times, it is a chance meeting, a one-in-a-million shot, which, if shifted in time by just an hour — or perhaps even a minute — would have never come to pass. That’s how it was for David and Michael. David was in from Philadelphia, visiting in Rehoboth Beach at what was back in September 2006 still known as 59 Lake (but has since become Stingrays). As luck would have it, Michael, whom the U.S. Navy had stationed in Virginia at the time, was hanging out at 59 Lake, too. Michael saw David from across the proverbial room, and thanks to the goading of his friends, he worked up the nerve to ask David to dance, even though David had been dancing with someone else. And their lives would never be the same again.
Following years of long-distance courtship, including five-hour drives from Virginia to Philadelphia and periods during which Michael was out to sea, the two realized they had something special, something worth fighting for. Despite all the trials and tribulations along the way, Michael proposed in June of 2019, and he and David will be married on Sept. 26, 2020, at the Rehoboth Beach Yacht & Country Club, before more than 200 of their loved ones.
What have been the key ingredients to your relationship’s success?
David: Respect, not only for who we each are separately, but for each other’s dreams and contributions. We truly admire each other’s strengths and strive to understand each other’s challenges.
Michael: Communication, especially since one of us is introverted and the other is extroverted. In many ways, this is our critical strength and challenge. We actually have never had a fight: We may brood; we may get silent; we may get upset; but we do not fight.
What’s been the best part of being with your partner?
David: The best part is how we’ve grown as a couple and how each of us has grown as an individual. While we have a lot in common, we also have a number of differences. We come from different religious and cultural backgrounds and of course that has shaped us. And while our upbringing was different, we both come from a sense of family and a belief in God.
Michael: Love. That belief helps us learn from each other and from those around us. We feel very fortunate to have a wide and diverse circle of people in our lives. We inspire each other to be more than we were yesterday and believe in who we can be tomorrow.
What do you find most attractive about your partner’s personality?
David: Michael is just so amazing. Without thinking twice, he would try to cross through fire to help someone. He has such a zeal for people and a belief that everyone deserves respect and kindness. You can see it in his interactions with people, his contagious laugh and smile, and his love for our dog. He continually inspires me to be courageous and to open myself to others.
Michael: David is like the best person on earth. He has a heart of gold and continually strives to see the best in everyone and see their perspective. You can really see his heart when he interacts with children, as well as our dog. He is truly a giving person and inspires me to be more patient and understanding.
What advice would you give to couples to remain dedicated to their relationships?
David: Find somewhere that means a lot to you as a couple and make that your happy place. One of our favorite places is to see water and the Indian River Inlet Bridge. There are times we drive just to look at the bridge, especially at night. It makes us smile and dream, so we visit it at least once a month.
Michael: It really is a simple choice. Make a choice to focus on the positive in the other person and believe in the relationship. Remember that while each of you may need alone time, the relationship needs continual attention. Go do something new and different as a couple. And if that is not your thing, relish the things you enjoy.