Denise Ray Shields and her husband, John Shields, celebrated their first anniversary this fall. The couple was married on Sept. 9, 2011 by the Rev. Kevin R. Johnson, senior pastor of Bright Hope Baptist Church, where Denise has been an official member for over 38 years and an attending member for more than 50 years.
Denise reflects upon a very joyous and special year and said, “Whoever said that piece of paper does not matter was mistaken. Our first year of marriage was very different from our lives as singles. Our first months were characterized by mentally getting used to the idea that we were actually married. As corny as it is, we called each other ‘wife’ and ‘husband’ for a while. Once the literal and figurative honeymoons were over, we had to settle down to the real world. It was quite an adjustment getting used to living together. I think we have come very close to mastering it. He knows what I like and I know what he likes; we were meant for each other. It Seems I heard that melodic phrase somewhere.
The couple recently celebrated this milestone occasion on board the largest cruise ship in the world, Oasis of the Seas. It was an incredible Eastern Caribbean cruise to three beautiful islands. We joined two other couples, the Vuonos of Bala Cynwyd, and the Roths of Florida. Denise and John considered these couples as, “Our angels on the cruise who helped to make our first -year celebration memorable.”
As Denise and “Tee”, as Denise lovingly calls her husband, have settled into their new roles, they have mastered their daily routines. They share many duties around and pertaining to their home. Both are retired from positions with the city, but their lives remain quite full. John continues to fulfill his duties as a board member of the Glen Mills schools and Denise is an adjunct professor at two local universities. She has also maintained a private practice focused on treating individuals, couples and families since 1991.
Denise and John met 31 years ago while employed at Philadelphia Family Court. At the time, John was a juvenile probation officer and Denise headed a volunteer program for youths involved in the court system.
This is a couple who continue to nurture their relationship with faith, mutual respect and, of course, much love. Their maturity has been a factor in a marriage that flourishes for all of those considering this step.
“We are strong in our faith and grateful to God for the change he has brought to our lives. The richness of living comes from Hhim. We pray for many more years together as husband and wife,” said Denise.
The lyrics from the song they first danced to as husband and wife, “Close to You” by Bebe and Cece Winans, represents this beautiful couple’s relationship.
May your dance continue for many years to come!