Barlows keep romance alive
Branden and Tabitha Barlow look like giddy teenagers who have found the loves of their lives — and if you ask, they’ll say they have.
As Tabitha went through a divorce, she said she began praying for the right person to come into her life.
“I began praying for God to send me someone like Branden,” Tabitha said. “Looking at it now, I know it had to be God because it was totally opposite of what I had.”
Tabitha was sitting at church with her three children when she caught Branden’s eye.
“I was the youth pastor at the time at Liberty Baptist Church when I first saw her there,” Branden said. “Her sister had invited her to the church and she came with her children. I knew her from school, but seeing her there kind of made me nervous.”
Those nerves would stall the meeting of the two until a member of the youth group Branden led got involved.
“Her niece was a part of the youth group and she just kind of got things going,” Branden said. “I was too nervous to ask for her number, but her niece got her phone number for me and gave her my number. I was 27 and it was like high school all over again.”
Branden said the couple got a chance to connect when a friend hosted a game night.
“We were both invited to the game night and got to spend time getting to know each other,” Branden said. “After that, she came over after a college class one night and it just took off from there.”
Tabitha said her three-year marriage to Branden has been a blessing — and a joy.
“We hear about other couples having arguments,” Tabitha said. “We just don’t argue. We have never had a fuss about anything.”
Branden said his decision was to start fresh and make a happy life for his family.
“This is a second marriage for both of us,” Branden said. “We both agreed we were starting over and leaving the past behind. Starting over was a surprise for me. I thought I would spread my wings a little. I know this is where I’m supposed to be.”
Some men may consider a woman with children a deterrent for marriage, but Branden knew what he was heading for in a relationship with Tabitha.
“The first time I saw her, she had her children with her so I knew what to expect,” Branden said. “I love children. I was the youth pastor. It was just a perfect fit.”
Tabitha said Branden’s love for the children and their love for him made it easy to fall in love.
“The kids took to him right away,” Tabitha said. “I knew from day one that he was going to be my husband. He learned all about all of us and accepted us as a package. He never skipped a beat and never did anything that didn’t include the kids. He never said to leave the kids at home to go somewhere. He knew we were a package and never let it slow him down. He has a big heart.”
As he planned to propose, Branden said his nerves kept the evening going longer than he hoped.
“I was just so nervous,” Branden said. “I would start to ask but was nervous I couldn’t. I did that a couple of times before I got up the nerve to ask. It was getting really late and I knew she would be ready to go home. So I just had to get it out and ask.”
Branden’s proposal took her by surprise and resembled something out of a romance novel, she said.
“He said, ‘Would you dance in a white dress with me?’ and that’s all it took,” Tabitha said. “Of course, we couldn’t wait to get married and the whole white dress thing never materialized. We set a date in May to be married, but in January I went to the courthouse and got a marriage license and surprised him by asking him to get married on a Friday evening. We got married in Bay Minette because it was the only place we could find that we could go to on short notice. We went to Malbis for dinner afterwards and spent the night at a log cabin inn in Bay Minette. We drove back to Brewton to church and worked all day handing out food to the needy. That was our honeymoon.”
A honeymoon cruise in May had been planned, and Tabitha said six months into the marriage it was a great vacation.
“We still went on our honeymoon cruise, but it was more like a vacation then,” Tabitha said. “It was nice and it just worked out perfectly.”
The couple, who have been married for three years now, have added another member to the family since they married filling the house with love and laughter.
Makenzie, Riley, Parker and Liam continue to bring laughter into the home of their parents, Tabitha said.
“We are just one big, happy family,” Tabitha said. “God has put this family together.”