By Lisa Morgan –

I think there are perhaps more people like me than there are people like Darren and Kandie.  I, like so many others, have experienced on more than one sad occasion the painful demise of a marriage and broken family and have struggled to pick up the pieces in the aftermath.  The most painful part of these experiences, I think, is when you start to doubt the very foundation of not only the institution of marriage, but the ideal of love in general.  The idea that a love can survive a lifetime; that the commitment to cherish, honor and protect can be upheld and can be done so without utter misery, becomes a lofty intangible thing.  When you feel that part of your faith crumble, life can have an undercurrent of cynicism.  In the last year or so, I have had the incredible blessing of sharing a home with these two people who have, unbeknownst to them, relit my faith in the beauty and possibility of true love.  I don’t suppose I ever saw such a thing up close before, so now, thanks to them, true love is no longer a whimsical fairytale.  It is a tangible, obtainable, beautiful thing.  For that reason, when my publisher approached me to research couples befitting of a Valentine’s Day Issue, Darren and Kandie Worden were the first two people to pop into my mind, and I would be remiss not to share their story with you.

“Honestly, we did not know each other in high school that well. We went to school together at Indio High School, but it was only by chance of fate that I happened to have his phone number and needed a ride somewhere.  After that, he just started hanging around. I was a single mother at the time, and back in the early 80s, it wasn’t as accepted to be a single, unwed mother. I actually purchased myself a fake diamond at Safeway in Palm Desert to wear on my ring finger so that the older women would stop giving me dirty looks.  I was on my sixth or seventh date with Darren the night after I purchased the ring. When he saw it on my finger he asked me about it, and I told him. We were on our way out to meet with two friends of ours to have a nice dinner and he thought it would be funny if he told them that he had asked me to be his wife. When he did, they got so excited that they went completely overboard.  They bought champagne and our dinner and wanted to go out and party to celebrate!  We felt so guilty!  Then, as we were sitting in the back of their car, Darren looked at me and said, “Well, why don’t we NOT make it a joke.”  Then he proceeded to REALLY ask me to marry him!  So that’s how it all started almost 30 years ago!  Before the engagement, we were actually only just semi dating. I went away with my parents during the summer and apparently, the last three weeks of that vacation, he would drive by my house every single day to see if I was home. He was always like that – very loving, very giving and very attentive.  How could I not fall in love?  How could he not have won my heart? And he won it fast! I was definitely a challenge.”



Darren’s heart was obviously won over early on as his pursuit of Kandie reveals.  The first time that he gave Kandie a ride home, “She kissed me on my cheek, turning down a kiss on the lips.”  Most guys might feel a sense of rejection, but not Darren.  “That’s when I fell really hard for her.”
“I think we are very blessed. The reason I feel that we are so fortunate in our marriage, is that we both desire the same thing. To be successful at Marriage, I think you have the same goals in mind. We are huge believers in what we constantly refer to as ‘blessings’. Blessings are the things that you give to each other and to other people, be it emotionally, physically or financially. It is what you’re going to get back every time.  As with all things, you get back what you put into it. Sometimes it’s not immediate but you get it eventually! We want to be a united family.  We want to be a loving and strong example for our children.  We want to be able to help others, our friends our community and most of all, we want to have a great marriage! We want to be continually attracted to each other and keep stirring up that desire for each other. We want our blessings!”

“We have had some bumpy patches in our lives as well as our marriage. All marriages have bumpy roads; we sure as heck have!  We’ve had the typical tiffs over disciplining the children and money issues – the basic struggles.  We’ve also shared the terrible sad moments of losing a parent. But we’ve learned how to support each other through all that because, like I said, that’s what we want for each other. Sometimes it’s hard to go outside yourself and give to another person when you’re sad or you’re feeling sorry for yourself, but it sure makes things better faster. It’s kind of like putting a smile on your face until you really are smiling.”

“The fact that we are now approaching 30 years of marriage is amazing.  We even decided to see a therapist. We thought, ‘Why not have more tools in our toolbox as we approach another portion of our lives.’  We want more and more wins in our marriage and in our life goals. We want to keep on keeping on and let’s face it, life is just challenging. You have to learn, grow and not just expect things to work out just because you want them to.”

“I’m still finding out stuff about him, and he’s finding out stuff about me – stuff you would think that we would’ve known a long time ago. It’s fascinating!  It brings in a deeper level of compassion and appreciation as well as more softness to the marriage. Our lives can get quite hectic, both physically and emotionally, but we know that we can never be too busy for each other. And I can’t reiterate it enough; it’s because we both want the same thing.  I truly feel that is why we are a success.  And heck, it doesn’t hurt that I think he’s absolutely funny, adorable, sexy, witty, charming, and I want to rip his clothes off all the time!”


This is the part where the two of them look at each other with a mischievous, loving grin and say in unison, “We’re still on our honeymoon.”


And that my friends, is why I love these two people and how they have breathed new hope into me and so many others who know them.  I can assure you, that they are the “real deal”.  And I’m not the only one who thinks so.  “Rarely do you see a couple so in love and happy.  It is that type of relationship that everyone hopes to have, but as many of us realize, aren’t a dime a dozen.  I feel fortunate to have been surrounded by such amazing role models (my own parents included) that gave me the hope that love like that does exist.  It taught me to hold on and wait until I found that same kind of love in my future bride, Brenda.  Because of them, I know the love and respect and adoration we have for each other will also stand the test of time.” ~ Nick Balsamo, honorary son and business partner.