"When Karen met Andy and I stalked this guy who describes himself as a robot from the future, I knew I’d like this Anditron3000 guy. I love Andy because he accepts no BS but does so in a thoughtful way. He questions, he has reasoned things out. I greatly respect him because he sees how love fails. The institutions of religion which should be all about love are often representatives of humanities baser nature: greed, malice, hate, and all the darker sides on display. Love seems to fail.
Andy and Karen have been through the ringer in love. They thought they both had something but both ended in divorce. What Andy thought was love was simply going through the motions. What Karen thought was love was a different kind of love. These were both hard times, yet they have healed and learned and have become stronger.
And through this, they have discovered new depths. New uncharted continents. Andy has learned to love and take care of himself. Karen has discovered new power in herself and loves Nick as a friend and co-parent. I think you both have discovered love in its fullness and depth. A greater depth and rooting....A love that won’t dissolve and fall once the season changes. Your roots are entwined and you are one tree, not two." - Sermon by Pastor Luke Lindon
How did the two of you meet?
We both had multiple attempts at some not-so-great dates. Some were just not able to keep up with the conversation, some were bland and there was no connection, and some had no understanding of what life is really like. Our relationship started with a simple swipe to the right. We started off with a conversation through text about how to be a good wedding attendant for our friends that were getting married. Karen tried to go a little deeper, but Andy wanted to wait until we met in person. We met at the Rossi for our first date. Karen walked up to meet Andy, standing perfectly posed outside of the restaurant. We walked in together, and Andy said "reservation for Porter." Karen was shocked; no other date had planned ahead by making reservations. The conversation was lighthearted and deep at the same time. Andy truly listened to Karen's story without judgement. Karen left feeling like Andy would be an amazing friend, but quickly realized that she couldn't go more than a couple of days without seeing Andy. From there, we navigated the crazy world of relationships together.
How did you decide to get married?
Our relationship was one in which we knew we wanted to take our time and think through every step together. We often said, "I don't know how this is supposed to work," but what we realized was that we were not doing what everyone else was doing; we were "doing us." Both of us had been married before, so we did not take marriage lightly. In fact, neither of us had specific plans to get married again. Our relationship progressed naturally, and it was too good to not symbolically agree to be together forever. We did it for us, we did it for the kids, and we did it knowing that this love was real and everlasting.
What is your philosophy on love and marriage?
Never become complacent, always work together, keep things interesting, travel, and love deeply.
How have you approached merging families and parenting responsibilities?
Karen came to the relationship with a somewhat complex family situation: two kids and an ex-husband that remained her friend. Andy accepted the children as if they were his own, but knew that it was important to not try to replace their father. Together Andy and Karen work to provide the kids with a fun-filled, loving home. There are times that Karen gets frustrated with parenting struggles, but Andy knows how to balance out the frustration and support both Karen and the kids. He often makes mundane tasks into a game, and they quickly get accomplished by the kids.
What have you learned about life and family that you would like to share with others?
Life is forever changing and completely unpredictable. We can focus on how hard the the challenges have been, or we can recognize how strong we are and how much we have grown. Since we met, we have grown as a couple and as a family. We truly value the love and support we have from our family and friends and will never take that for granted.
Photos by Rachel Joy Barehl
Rachel Barehl is a photographer in Columbus, Ohio who is known for her abilities to build community and tell stories. She and her partner Adam live with their pup Clooney and several chickens in a little oasis in the middle of the city that they refer to as the Barehl Homestead. If you want to see snapshots of her life, follow her on Instagram @racheljoybarehl