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RIGHT TIME RIGHT PLACE: It took them 30 years to get together as a couple

by Kimberly Dishongh | August 27, 2023 at 2:30 a.m.
Christy and Dr. Luke Crawford were married on Feb. 14, 2014. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette)

Christy Hussey met her match on the tennis court, although neither of them realized it until 30 years later.

"Luke Crawford was fresh out of college playing tennis when he coached me," Christy says. "He was my buddy. He was an interesting person."

As a tennis pro, Luke noted that Christy was talented, but that was about it.

"She was a kid," says Luke of that time back in the 1980s.

Luke quit coaching to go to medical school.

"I kept playing for a little while with another coach," Christy says. "I probably would have played college tennis but I stopped playing. I had my oldest daughter right after I graduated from high school and there just wasn't much time for tennis."

Luke graduated from medical school around the time Christy's daughter was born.

"But of course, we didn't know any of that about each other because we had no contact," she says.

By 2012, Christy had divorced.

"I had kissed a lot of frogs, I like to say," she says. "I was actually trying to do better at just being single."

A friend invited her to go on a Caribbean cruise, and while there she met a man from New York. Their relationship didn't work out, but it put her on a path toward something better.

"Something about the experience was eye-opening, like why am I flying across several states to find love, number one," she says. "Number two, people in New York are really good at being single. They're really good at working and keeping themselves busy and doing hobbies. So that's what led me to say, 'I need to get back into tennis.'"

Christy's friend, who was married to a college tennis coach, set out to help her find a tennis partner.

"She gave me Luke's phone number," Christy says. "I hadn't talked to him in years, but she said, 'You might give him a call and see if he knows some people you could hit with.' She was trying to help me find people in Little Rock."

Luke returned Christy's call, and he suggested they go hit some tennis balls at the Little Rock Racquet Club and then get something to eat after, just to catch up.

"I was a little surprised to hear from her," says Luke, who had been widowed years earlier. "But I didn't have any problem remembering her."

There was an instant connection between them the day they went to the court and then caught up over Chinese food, Christy says.

"We talked for hours," she says. "I don't know if it was because we had known each other 30 years ago or what. We were talking about life experiences and what we had learned about ourselves and about relationships and things like that."

They talked on the phone again soon after that and decided to get together again.

"It was pretty casual at first, just meeting to play tennis and stuff like that," Luke says. "One thing led to another."

About a year later, they went together to Christy's friend's wedding.

"I caught her bouquet. That was in July, and I was in her wedding," Christy says.

She wasn't expecting a proposal, though, despite the superstitions associated with that move.

Luke showed up at Christy's door late one evening with roses and a card.

"I don't remember exactly what he said," she says. "I was in my 40s and he was in his 50s and he said sweet things and he wanted me to spend my life with him. I don't think since both of us had been married before that either of us took getting married again lightly. We wanted to make sure."

Luke says the time just felt right.

"I think we both knew it was coming but we needed to be kind of formal about it," he says. "I'm kind of straightforward so I don't think it was that big of a surprise."

They exchanged their vows on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, 2014, at Hamilton House in Hot Springs.

"It had a really nice view of the lake and it was like a little private getaway," Christy says.

One of Christy's friends took wedding photos and was their only guest.

"We went to the Arlington afterwards for dinner and dancing," she says. "It was great."

Luke and Christy took a delayed honeymoon to 10 states, with stops including Chicago, somewhere along the Great Lakes, Mackinac Island, Mich., and Louisville, Ky.

"We were at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati on the Fourth of July," Christy says.

Christy went to real estate school in 2008, before she and Luke reunited. She recently completed a master's degree in counseling. Luke is a psychiatrist.

They enjoy spending time together, doing simple things.

"We like the same types of movies, for the most part," says Christy, "and we'll watch certain series over again."

Christy says she knew as soon as she saw him again after 30 years they were supposed to be together.

"It ended up being true," she says. "Maybe it was the familiarity or maybe some similarity because I think sometimes for people to end up together they have some similar qualities and quirkiness."

If you have an interesting how-we-met story or if you know someone who does, please call (501) 425-7228 or email:

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The first time I saw my future spouse as a grownup:

She says: "It was a great moment. There was something about his face. ... I just knew this was my person."

He says: "She had been a little kid the last time I had seen her but I would definitely would have recognized her."

On our wedding day:

She says: "I was in real estate and I think I had just had a closing and it was a difficult day in a lot of ways, but Luke was very understanding and I could tell he really wanted to make it a special day, and that made a difference."

He says: "It was a private romantic time for us. We were both older and it was really nice to have a wedding that was just kind of the two of us."

My advice for a long happy marriage:

She says: "Keep things lighthearted and fun when you can. Life has plenty of stress anyway. Pray every day God will give you grace for your spouse and for yourself."

He says: "Give appropriate space for each person to be who they are."

  photo  Christy says that when they saw each other again after 30 years, “It was an instant connection.” (Special to the Democrat-Gazette)

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