There are moments in life when the connection you make with someone is pure magic. For Amy Smith and Deann Dowell, thanks to a little bit of fate and a lot of good timing, their meeting was just that. After a simple introduction through a mutual friend, Dowell and Smith soon realized that they had found something special. Each had found that person whose vision for the future and values of life were in sync with her own. The day before their four-year anniversary as a couple, Smith surprised Dowell with a proposal, and each soon married her best friend. The newlyweds are now taking the time to enjoy every moment together and agree that it doesn’t matter where they are or what they’re doing—just as long as they’re together.
Tell me about when you first met.
D: We met through a mutual friend. She introduced us. We just started hanging out and were friends. She is also the one who married us.
A: We asked her to get ordained…and here we are now!
What do you love most about your partner’s personality?
D: She has the biggest heart and the gentlest soul. She’s pure and genuine. Meaning, she’s just always herself. She’s never trying to be something else for someone else. She’s also the hardest working person I know with unstoppable energy. She’s always striving to be better… she’s just a force.
A: I adore that she’s so kind to everyone that we love in our life, but also kind to strangers. She’s funny, and she’s fun. She just makes my heart happy when I’m around her.
Do you have any gay couple role models?
D: Not particularly gay role models, but we have a lot of role models as far as partnerships and marriages go. Both of our parents, in different ways. Our parents are two totally different types of relationships, but they both work and they’ve both been together for more than 30 years.
A: We also have some close friends who have amazing partnerships. They respect each other and have fun together. You can really tell that they enjoy being around each other, and that’s something that I think is so special. They always put each other first. They come first as a couple, and then together they can support everybody.
What’s something else that readers should know about you?
D: I would want them to know that I’m proud of this relationship. It’s not something that I feel like I need to hide anymore. I’ve been there. And now, I’m 110 percent accepting of myself and of the relationship.
A: I would want them to know how much we respect one another and what a team we are.
What’s the secret to a strong, long- term relationship?
D: Putting each other first, respecting and adoring—building and lifting each other up 100 percent of the time.
A: I vowed, at our wedding, that I would always put her first because that’s the only way that we can build a family and support everybody around us.
Tell me about your marriage ceremony.
D: It was really emotional. We wrote our own vows. Amy found the location. It was amazing. Perfect.
A: We got married on the rooftop of the Strand Hotel in midtown Manhattan. It’s a few blocks away from the Empire State Building. We were in the shadows of the Empire State Building during the ceremony.
D: We made speaking about the community and our friends an integral part of our ceremony, about the community and our friends and how that would always be a part of who we were as a couple. Our friends, lifting us up and always supporting us and providing a positive environment. When you have a good support system, it’s easy to be who you are.
Why is marriage important?
D: I think that “marriage” and “being married” really does mean something. I didn’t understand that before Amy. When you’re with somebody that you know that you want to be with forever, then marriage does mean something and it helps the people who are around you, who maybe don’t understand it, but see that there are two people who have made a commitment and it means more.
A: A lot of people would say, “Well, why are you getting married in New York?” What’s the point because it doesn’t matter here?” Our response to that is that one day it will matter here.
When is your anniversary? How will you celebrate?
D: We just got married in March, so for our first anniversary? There may be some surprises in store!
A: …maybe we’ll go to New York.
What’s your favorite place to visit as a couple?
A: I would say Italy. We went to Cinque Terra, Italy, and hiked all five villages. During the time that we went, Deann was training for a Half Iron Man and she wanted to swim in the Mediterranean.
What does family mean to you?
A: Now that I’m in this amazing, committed relationship and I’ve created a family with Deann—even though it’s just the two of us, she is my family and I’ve had such a greater appreciation for my own family. As we’re starting to plan for our own family, it’s so important and it’s a priority for us.
Describe your relationship in one word or phrase.
A: Magical. It sounds over the top, but this is pretty rare and special. It’s magic.