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Darrell and Stevie Waltrip

'We went through a lot of years of not having children and some tough financial times, and we never jumped ship.'

For years, auto racing was strictly "a man's world." But not for Darrell Waltrip, one of the top NASCAR drivers of the past quarter-century. Stevie Waltrip, Darrell's wife of 27 years, has always considered racing not just her husband's career, but their career. The Waltrips live in Franklin, Tennessee, with their daughters, Jessica, 9, and Sarah Kaitlyn, 4.

I was first attracted to Stevie because of: her '66 Oldsmobile 442. It had three carburetors and a high-performance engine—a real hot rod. All I had back then was an old '53 Ford.

I was first attracted to Darrell because of: his blue eyes and his great sense of humor.

The toughest thing we've faced: was having two miscarriages before we had Jessica. We had been under a doctor's care, trying to get pregnant for seven years. And when we finally did, we lost the babies.

No one would ever guess that: we have food fights and shoot spitballs with our children—right at the dinner table!

What I most appreciate about Darrell: is that he has a depth to him that touches my heart. If I catch him at the right moment, I can talk to him about anything.

What I most appreciate about Stevie: is her honesty and her faith—not just in God, but in people. I'm the skeptical type. But Stevie always sees the good in a person.

My biggest surprise in marriage: has been seeing the changes in Darrell since he became a father. He's gentler and more thoughtful now. Plus, he's not as selfish as he used to be, back when he put his career first. He has chosen to be a good husband and a good father.

The best marriage advice we would give is: Love is a choice. You choose whether you want to stay married. You have to work at staying married, and it's not something that's always easy to do.

One of the wisest things we've done is: making the effort to do everything together. And now we even take the kids along. Auto racing is hard on marriages and families, and so many couples end up getting a divorce. But we never did like the idea of the guys leaving the women home with the babies.

Our marriage works because: we believe in commitment. We went through a lot of years of not having children and some tough financial times, and we never jumped ship. But truly, the main reason we've been married 27 years is because of the grace of God.

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

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Commitment; Marriage; Relationships
Today's Christian Woman, Spring, 1997
Posted September 12, 2008

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