Dana Gabbert changed the trajectory of her husband’s life forever, and he is eternally grateful for this.
When Alan first met Dana, she instantly became a light in his life that he never thought he would have, and she helped to straighten his life out. He says she is the reason he is where he is today, and he is glad he re-met her when he did.
“We knew each other in high school,” Alan said. “However, we didn’t really run with the same crowd. She was a good kid and I was a stupid jock. After high school I was roofing houses in the same town we grew up in and she was my mom’s secretary at the King Ranch. I talked to her for a little bit whenever I would see her and I had my eye on her one day when I went in with my friend. I told him, ‘Her secretary is the woman I am going to marry.’ He thought I was crazy, but after my mom hired me as a tour guide there, the rest was history.”
After about six months or so of them working together and talking, Alan and Dana traveled to Austin to visit some friends together, and that weekend out there wound up being their first date.
Alan will tell you that she was certainly worth the wait, as his wife who he is celebrating his 30th anniversary with is the total package. She brings so much joy to his life and she has the most amazing personality, and it does not hurt that she is a sight for sore eyes.
When asked what stuck out to him right off the bat, Alan said Dana’s legs were amazing. She is 65 percent legs and he is a big, burly guy, so he figured that he was marrying a beautiful woman who was going to help him produce some huge football players. That was until they only had daughters.
“We ended up having two girls,” Alan said. “My football dream was crushed back in ‘94 when we had our first daughter Mallorie and when our second daughter Madeline was born in ‘98. Mallorie was a singer and a theater kid. All throughout college she got scholarships for opera singing and we always went and traveled around the country to see her. We chased Madeline all over the state while she was playing soccer as well. What always stuck out was that Dana was always there and always the rock that is there for us. She is a rock for our grandkids as well.”
While Alan’s early retirement dreams from producing NFL talent were dashed back in the 90s, he would not change his life with Dana, Mallorie and Madeline for the world. With Dana being the matriarch that she is and constantly bringing so much love and joy to his world, Alan is perfectly content with the family that he has.
And while Alan has had the opportunity to see Dana grow throughout the years of them being together, she has also helped him grow a lot as well. Being married for 30 years is not something to scoff at, as there are a lot of learning processes along the way beyond just how to be a great father to their children.
“It’s give and take,” Alan said. “For example, if she cooks dinner, I clean the kitchen. When the girls were growing up it was either clean the kitchen or bathe the kids and put them down. If it’s not give and take it’s not going to work. At the same time, she has her stuff that she does on her own time and I have my own stuff. We have to have time away from each other. But more than having our own time to ourselves, we have to make sure we prioritize family time and spousal time.”
While there is no perfect marriage formula, Alan says give and take is arguably the biggest key to any marriage. He and Dana spent 20 years of not seeing each other but on the weekends, and that is what has worked for them.
With spending so much time apart, though, Alan has also come to realize just how much he appreciates Dana. He always cherished those times of getting to come home and see her smiling face, and while they may occasionally get on each other’s nerves, her legs, beauty and personality trumps any argument they might have.
Alan loves Dana so much and he cannot imagine life without her. He is thankful for their 30 years of marriage and the years beyond that of being able to know each other, and he is looking forward to the next 30-plus years with the love of his life right there by his side.
“She is very selfless,” Alan said. “She takes care of her parents very well. She takes care of her kids. She takes care of my parents. I don’t know where I would be if she hadn’t come into my life. She’s the best thing that has ever happened to me and the last 30 years have been a joy. She’s a great grandmother to our grandkids too. Happy anniversary, Dana. I love you!”