After being friends for 14 years — six of them while serving together on the Memphis City Schools board — Lora Jobe and Barbara Prescott decided to form a new partnership.
While at dinner together one night, Jobe coined the term "heart marriage" to describe couples who are all but married. The conversation became the basis for the pair's new book, My Heart Got Married and I Didn't Know It: Unspoken Vows and Shattered Dreams, about couples who short-circuit the process of getting to know each other.
"It's about people who have been together for 10 years and get divorced after their first year of marriage," Jobe said. "They ignore red flags early on."
Using real-life examples, the book helps couples recognize a heart marriage, decide whether to end the relationship, and take steps to prevent a heart marriage from occurring.
In addition to being former school board members, Prescott has a doctorate in counseling, with a concentration in marriage and family counseling. Jobe worked as a nurse before becoming a field representative for U.S. senator Lamar Alexander. And both women have had friends and family members involved in heart marriages.
Along the way, the pair found one successful marriage.
"The writing process was amazing," Prescott said. "Not one disagreement in three years."
The women edited each other's chapters, but the voice is the same throughout the book.
"I kind of remember the first chapter I wrote, but after that I'm not sure who wrote what," Jobe said. "We happened to be thinking the exact same way."
Prescott and Jobe said their relationship has always been strong, even while they were school board commissioners.
"We didn't always vote alike," Jobe said, "but there was a respect for the other's opinion. In general, we had the same heart and idea."
Prescott said the book has taken their friendship to a different level.
"It has deepened our friendship, love, and respect for each other. It's a good marriage," she said.
My Heart Got Married and I Didn't Know It can be purchased at bookstores or at myheartgotmarried.com. Prescott and Jobe also will do a reading Sunday, October 25th, at First Baptist Church of Memphis on Poplar.
"It's a blessing to have a friend like Barbara," Jobe said. "To develop a friendship to this level is huge."