Love in Louisiana: Sandlins met, married at Fort Polk

Love in Louisiana: The Sandlin Story

DERIDDER, LA (KPLC) - Picture this, it’s 1969 and you and a friend are on a double date. Four months later, you’re married to your friend’s date from that night.

That’s how DeRidder couple John and Sharon Sandlin ended up together.

“A mutual friend from Fort Polk had introduced me and a girlfriend to John and one of his friends,” Sharon said. “His friend asked me out, and I fixed him up with one of my friends and we double dated a little bit.”

John and Sharon lived in Fort Polk when they met. John was stationed at the army post, and Sharon was a financial advisor on the base. After a month of double dating other people, the two attended the General’s Formal together.

“I turned 23 on our first date,” Sharon said.

That date was the best birthday gift Sharon ever received. The pair said they knew it was love, and they were married four months later in December.

“It was basically family and really close friends,” Sharon said. “We got married at Fort Polk at one of the military chapels.”

Shortly after that, the now-married couple was transferred to a military base in Nebraska. It was very important to both of them to continue their education.

“Do it together, grow together,” John said. “Even though I say we started out late, we did learn something.”

John got his PhD in psychology, and Sharon got her masters in business. After moving all over the country, the couple finally came back to DeRidder.

John uses psychology for his simple approach to love.

“It’s the unconditional positive regard for another,” John said.

John’s positive regard for Sharon definitely shows.

“Well, Sharon, to me, is the personification of the perfect wife,” John said. “She’s not only my wife, she’s educated, she’s intelligent, she’s very much involved in parts of my life. And it’s a pride, after 50 years we can say we have never separated, we never played that game.”

This year will be the couple’s 50th anniversary, and they’ve inspired many others with their love.

So, what’s their advice for staying together? Communication.

“Communication, that is the biggest thing,” Sharon said. “When I come home at night, the TV goes off, the coffee pot is on, and we sit for 15 or 30 minutes and we just talk.”

John said that you should always be on the same page as your partner.

“Cooperate together, trade and exchange ideas, and treat the other as an equal,” John said.

That’s what Sharon loves about John.

“He’s always been there to encourage me,” Sharon said. “Plus his upbeat personality! What you see now is what I see everyday, from the time we get up in the morning to the time we go to sleep at night. It’s not like he has one personality at home and one personality somewhere else.”

Overall, John said don’t complicate things.

“It’s not very complicated, if you know what you’re looking for and you find it, don’t wait,” John said.

The couple is still planning on what they’re going to do for their 50th anniversary.

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