– Traditions continue for one family at SU –
It was a fall day in 1991 on what now seems like an ancient Shorter campus. The streets were lined with college students who had come for a street dance happening between the Sheffield-Thompson building and Roberts Hall.
“The school was a liberal arts school so the feel of the school was quite different than it is today,” said Shorter alumna Christy Deloach (Slade), who met her future husband Donnie Slade at that fall dance.
Twenty-six years later, student Taylor Slade has continued in the footsteps of her parents by meeting someone special at Shorter.
“We met in FSU one night my freshman year,” Taylor said when describing the time she met student Austin Weller, who is now her boyfriend.
Since then, Weller and Slade have formed a relationship that resembles her parents’ journey 26 years ago.
The Slade family is an example of two sequential generations of Shorter students who found love on this campus.
Donnie was a Rome local who “was recruited to play baseball for Shorter in 1990,” Christy said. She “transferred from Macon College in January of 1991 to study vocal performance.”
According to Christy, there are multiple similarities between the two generations of couples. Both couples have strong faiths and have grown in their relationship with God through their time together and at Shorter. After meeting, both couples waited a few months before dating while still remaining in each other’s lives as friends.
“One memory we love looking back on is one night all of our friends went out after midnight and played “Sardines” around campus and we got partnered up,” Taylor said.
According to national statistics, college is where many females hope to meet their mate.
Taylor is one of at least two women in this statistic. But she didn’t come to Shorter expecting to find love like her parents had.
“Absolutely not. I had a boyfriend coming into Shorter so I never expected to find someone else, but it has been the most incredible opportunity. I love doing life with him!”
So, in a society that is ripe with failed relationships, is the Slade family the exception or the rule of college relationship ventures?
According to an article on Elite Daily titled “Why Relationships in Your 20s Won’t Last,” an individual’s 20’s – especially their college years – are a time for growing and developing oneself as a person. Furthermore, one’s 20s should be devoted to choosing a career path, maintaining an active social life, and coming into your own.
But the Slades are proof that you are able to have both — a journey of finding out who you are as a person while growing with your significant other.
They are also elated that Taylor was able to find someone special at Shorter.
“We approve and wish God would open doors for them to speak and teach other students some key things to have in a dating relationship,” Christy said. “Their dating relationship is one that is so rare these days … the boundaries they have set and commitment they have to honor God in their relationship …”
Christy Slade says the relationship between Austin and Taylor is a lot like her relationship with Donnie, especially in the way that they enjoy being around each other.
“If you are around Austin and Taylor for very long, you will see this playfulness they have toward each other. It’s adorable to watch.”
Though Donnie and Christy Slade are among the fortunate few who meet their life partners in college, the Slades do not endorse abandoning your purpose for being in college to find a mate.
“Don’t go looking for love … Trust God to bring who He wants in your life. Don’t compromise for anyone. Always be who God made you to be. The right person will see the real you and will love you even with all your quirks.”
According to the Slades, respect for one another is one of the keys of a lasting relationship.
They advise college students who are falling in love to respect each other’s convictions and respect each other’s space.
Most importantly, they say to find your fulfillment in God and not in the other person.
“Don’t depend on the other person to meet all your emotional needs,” Christy said. “That’s God’s job. Honor their heart by listening to them…Be proactive in showing kindness and gentleness to them and laugh a lot.”
The Slades will celebrate 25 years of marriage this year on April 16. They hope that their marriage can be an example to others. Taylor, for one, holds on to many of their life lessons.
“Don’t do the worldly dating path,” Taylor said. “Put Jesus first and then your significant other second and be obedient to the Lord within the relationship.”