A couple who tied the knot in a shotgun wedding just 11 days after meeting each other are still happily married – 35 years later.
Military police officer Douglas Allegar, 53, from Washington, USA, was just 21 when he met now-wife, Billie, 50, by accident after bumping into her while visiting his friend’s girlfriend at work.
Amazingly, the pair had both planned to go on dates with other people that night, meaning Billie initially turned down Douglas’ advances.
But when Douglas, who was on leave from the military, asked Billie out again she said yes and following their first date the soulmates both decided they were destined for each other.
“As soon as I met Billie, the voice in my head told me I had to be with her,” Douglas said.
Six days later they were engaged, planning originally to get married six months later as Douglas’ army career was due to take him to New York.
But when Douglas’ friend dropped out on a trip driving through Nevada back to New York, Billie took his place.
While travelling, the couple saw signs advertising for couples who could instantly get married in Nevada without the need to apply.
The pair stopped at a petrol station and asked where the nearest place was that they could get married and was told to head to Elko, Nevada.
“The same voice that told me to ask her out, told me to marry her,” Douglas said.
“We got married both wearing t-shirt and shorts, after washing at a service station.
Billie said she ‘couldn’t seem to get away from him’ and had ‘no intention of getting married’.
“But when Douglas asked me, without missing a beat, I said yes,” she said.
Since then, the lovestruck couple have stood the test of time and are approaching their 35th wedding anniversary, with four children together and the same adoration for each other they first had all those years ago.
The couple insisted their excellent communication is what has kept them together for 35 years.
“We didn’t have outside influences, we really had to learn how to rely on each other and figure things out together,” Billie said.
“What keeps us together is that we really talk to each other.
“We have opposing opinions on things, we don’t always agree, but we respect each other completely.
Douglas added: “I try to never take her for granted, it’s easy to do that.
“Every year I still ask her if she’ll be my Valentine, but she always makes me wait.”
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