The Longest Love Story Ever?

This may not be the longest romantic relationship on record but it must be close.     87 years!!!!

 

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20709191,00.html

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Robin and Sue

Sue is 63. Robin is 64. They’ve been married since 1971 and say they were together for 6 years prior to that. They met when Sue’s brother set them up on a blind date. They were attending separate colleges at the time.

You can find Sue online at

www.helpformomcoach.com

Were you actively looking to be in a relationship?

Sue: Yes. I was looking for a trustworthy, honest, dependable male. Tall, strong, decisive, stable.

Robin: I was new to the US, and was looking for a fun relationship.

What first attracted you to him/her?

Robin: God knows, she spent the first 3 hours talking to a guy on her other side (at a football game), but later on we got to know each other. She had a good sense of humor, was fun to be with, held her booze extraordinarily well, and was cute, and sexy.

Sue: Tall, athletic, cute, English accent.

I’ve had people tell me that there was a certain instance when they ‘knew’. Was there a specific time or event when you knew that this was the person you wanted to be with long term?

Sue: He told me he would give me the world if he could.

Robin: I knew the weekend she came back to visit, after I almost blew her out of a third story window, when our gas stove blew up.

What if anything did you learn from previous relationships that you feel has helped you build this one?

Robin: I learned that sex was not the most important criteria.

Sue: I learned from my parents’ relationship what not to do.

How do you feel that your creativity impacts your relationship?

Sue: I love my spontaneity & it heightens my relationship. Creativity keeps it moving.

Robin: My cooking, I think was one of the keys???

You have varied interests, some of which over lap and some that seem to be a long way apart. What effect do you think this has on your relationship?

Robin: Our best moments came under the pressure of really tough decisions around what to do with our daughter. Boy did we get on the same page fast, and stay on it.

Sue: Our co-ownership of solving problems is hugely impactful for us & our family. Those things way apart are great teaching moments for learning acceptance & love for just who we are.

If you run a business together, what do you view as some of the challenges and rewards of this life style?

Sue: Have had a great deal to do w/children in business together – not enough influence to have kept it going. They are their own people & journeys.

Robin: I actually look forward to helping the boys, while in retirement. I need to learn to only give advice when asked, and then drop it.

On what did or do you base your decision to be married or not to be?

Robin: To spend every day with my best friend.

Sue: To share this life together.

Any words of wisdom for others who think they want a relationship to last as long as yours?

Sue: Don’t think it doesn’t take work, but the results are so much more than just a “relationship.” There are many different levels in a long-term relationship. Growing with (not necessarily together, in the common sense) one another allows for each to be their own person within the relationship. That freedom makes for the ability to BE with one another long term and to appreciate each other.

Robin: Second all of the above. Have the confidence to be yourself and let your partner be themselves.

Tom and Irene

Irene is 67 and Tom is 71.  They’ve been married 17 years and have known each other for 27.

How did you meet?

We met on the job.

What was your life like, what were you doing when you met/got together?

Tom: Divorced, working long hours and stagnating

Irene: I had been single for about 5 years.  I was seeing someone. We both worked for a beer company. When we got together as a couple, Tom had been inviting me to go to Kerrville for about 10 years and I finally went.  Tom was not working for the beer company any longer, but I was.  We had kept in touch all those years by telephone.

Were you actively looking to be in a relationship?

Irene: Neither of us was looking to be in a relationship with each other.

Tom: No

What first attracted you to him/her?

Tom: Her blue eyes and big boobs

Irene:  He was very good looking.

I’ve had people tell me that there was a certain instance when they ‘knew’. Was there a specific time or event when you knew that this was the person you wanted to be with long term? 

Irene: I knew the first weekend we were together at KFF. * My problem was how to make it happen since I lived in Houston and he lived in Dallas.

Tom: Yes, in a tent in Sudden Creek ((dry)) @ KFF *

What if anything did you learn from previous relationships that you feel has helped you build this one?

Tom: Age and prior experience

Irene: Honesty above all.  Not just honesty but being truthful and faithful which all falls under the honesty tab.  I wanted a man I could trust.

How do you feel that your creativity impacts your relationship?

Irene: It makes life not only interesting, but as I told him before we got married.  Life with me will be many things, but I promise it will never be boring!

Tom: You need creativity just to maintain.

You have varied interests, some of which over lap and some that seem to be a long way apart. What effect do you think this has on your relationship?

Tom:   The secret ingredient!

Irene: I think our interests together and apart make our relationship stronger and deeper.

On what did or do you base your decision to be married or not to be?

Irene: We both needed to be in a legal “partnership”.

Tom: For us it’s the big “C” (commitment), a friendship in the truest, no open anything, understanding and vocal.

Any words of wisdom for others who think they want a relationship to last as long as yours?

Tom: Don’t look, think, or concern yourself about what happened in Vegas!

Irene: I don’t feel that we have been together that long, but if I had a thought of why we are still together it would be because we love each other.  We have been through some very difficult times together.  Some things so hard I’ve wondered how we would make it through.  Stick together.  Set goals and work to achieve them. Amen!

* KFF refers to the Kerrville Folk Festival.  You’ll find numerous references to it on this site because I have so many friends who go there.  It lasts for 18 days and almost everyone camps there.  Being away from your ‘normal’ life and responsibilities while dealing with heat, magical late nights and a campground crowded with other people really takes you outside of yourself.  It’s been the start of relationships for untold numbers of couples over the last 45 years.

Jenn and Craig

Jenn is 37.  Craig is 39.  They’ve been together 14 years, married 10.

How did you meet?

Jenn:  First day of law school, at orientation.  I was so nervous.  I got there late, sweating and rushing.  I find one of the few open seats.  Then, lo and behold, someone is later than ME!  He sits down next to me.  As orientation is going on, I notice that he’s looking at the sheets I’m holding in my lap.  I figured he was trying to find out what classes I was in.  Turns out we were both in the night classes and had several classes together.  Providence.

Craig:  I sat down next to her at law school orientation.  I was happy that her hand was already on my seat.

 

 

What was your life like, what were you doing when you met/got together?

Jenn:  I was at the end of a terribly co-dependent relationship, trying to figure out how to get out.  I used to just “ghost” (disappear … fall of the face of the earth until the guy stopped calling me), but there was so much history with this guy I didn’t know how to separate.  I didn’t want to be together, but I didn’t know how to be apart.

Craig:  I was having a terrible time dating.  I didn’t understand American women.  I was ready to move back to Canada.  I figured I’d give law school one year then decide what I wanted to do.  I was working full time with law school at night.

Were you actively looking to be in a relationship?

Jenn:  Gods no.  I wanted OUT of the one I was in.

Craig:  I was sort of in a relationship, but only going through the motions.  I had decided to be single.

What first attracted you to him/her?

Jenn:  Curly hair, glasses and most of all SUSPENDERS.  SO good looking!!!

Craig:  I thought she was pretty.  And she had nice hair.  and…*gasp* she actually seemed to want to talk to me.  She also didn’t ask me what I did for a living.  That was a big deal to me.

I’ve had people tell me that there was a certain instance when they ‘knew’. Was there a specific time or event when you knew that this was the person you wanted to be with long term?

Jenn:  I can’t say there’s some specific instance, but there’s a story about the first time I said … or didn’t really say … I love you.  That might have been when I decided that I wanted to pursue something serious with Craig. We’re sitting in a crowded bar with a bunch of friends.  I’m talking to a mutual guy friend of ours telling him how I’m head over heels for Craig.  Apparently (unbeknownst to me), this guy says to Craig, “I hope you’re not messing with Jenn because she really likes you.”  Craig looks at me, I grin uncontrollably and then he says to me, “I love you too.”

Craig: Yeah.  I just knew.  I asked my dad how you know.  He told me, “You just do.”  So, then I bought the ring.

What if anything did you learn from previous relationships that you feel has helped you build this one?

Jenn:  Honestly, part of what’s made our relationship so awesome for me is that I feel like Craig’s taught me HOW to be in a relationship.  Before I was all about myself.  So, mostly I learned to not be selfish, but still be yourself.

Craig:  Don’t be clingy.  Don’t be jealous.  If she’s gonna cheat, there’s nothing you can do about it; just hope you learn about it early on.  Tell her you love her.  And always work through your disagreements, even if it means having a fight.

How do you feel that your creativity impacts your relationship?

Jenn: Creativity is what MAKES a relationship.  That means being creative in how you care about each other, how you interact with each other and most of all what you do to … er … with each other.  😉

Craig:  Spontaneousness and funny conversations.

You have varied interests, some of which over lap and some that seem to be a long way apart. What effect do you think this has on your relationship? 

Jenn:  We actually have a lot of overlapping interests, which is what makes conversation so much fun, in my opinion.  We love science fiction, so we hypothesize a lot.  Craig is very scientific and I’m more social … so I feel like we teach each other.  There’s no competition between us.

Craig:  The differences create a give and take.  We don’t assign duties.  If something needs to be done, it just gets done.  That’s key.  I honestly can’t tell you if I changed the last diaper or she did because it just doesn’t matter.
If you run a business together, what do you view as some of the challenges and rewards of this life style?

Jenn:  Oh, I batted around the idea of us working together.  Then we realized that would be insanely terrible for us.  Our home lives and work lives are VERY different.  We like it that way.

Craig:  We would never run a business together.  Period.  We try to leave work at work.

On what did or do you base your decision to be married or not to be?

Jenn:  I just think it’s what you do.

Craig:  I think the formal acknowledgement is important whether other people want to admit it or not.

Any words of wisdom for others who think they want a relationship to last as long as yours?

Jenn:  Learn but teach.  Be humble but be proud.  Give in but stand your ground.  But above all else, be open.

Craig:   This nugget is handed down from a friend of my grandfather to my parents, on the evening that my father proposed to my mother:  We hope you’re as happy as we thought we would be.  This actually has great meaning because if you can’t take your relationship with a grain of salt sometimes, especially if you have kids, you’re never gonna make it.

 

 

Mark and Susan

Susan is 48 and Mark is 53.  They’ve been together for 21 years.   Find them and their music here: http://www.viatormaxey.com/

How did you meet?

Susan: We met at the Kerrville Folk Festival in 1991. Our camps were set up pretty close to one another; Mark was camping alone, and Susan was part of a large camp that included her dad and stepmom. One afternoon when it started to rain, Susan’s dad invited Mark to come under the tarps around the tents and motor home to get out of the wet.

Mark: We then spent 4 solid days together and started a conversation that never really ended. Within a few weeks we were together and have been so ever since.

What was your life like, what were you doing when you met/got together?

Susan: I had just been hired as a full time teacher at an Austin-area school district. I would start in the fall. I was playing a little guitar. I was singing, but not professionally. I was in a 5-year relationship with someone when I met Mark. The relationship was not necessarily unhappy, but there were some issues there. 

Mark: I was going through a divorce, had been separated for about a year. I was living in Houston and working as a social worker fresh out of graduate school. I was playing music professionally and seriously pursuing that vocation/profession since my early twenties.

Were you actively looking to be in a relationship?

Susan: Well, I was not, since I was already in a relationship.

Mark: I definitely was not looking for anything, quite the opposite. I was ready to be alone for as long as I needed, but this relationship just took off with a power of its own.

What first attracted you to him/her?

Susan: Well, first of all Mark was (and is) very good looking. So there’s that. And his guitar playing was very attractive to me. But he also is very smart, which is super sexy. And funny. The first few days we knew each other was at the Kerrville Folk Festival. We spent a lot of time talking and laughing. I loved that we talk for hours about many diverse subjects, but also we were comfortable with silences. We had similar values and we both were in to music — different music, but that was fun too.

Mark: I found Susan attractive, very intelligent, open to the all kinds of ideas, and searching for greater meaning, as I was. Our conversations were just like a force of nature, they went on and on, and into areas I never anticipated. She was living a fairly conventional life at the time, but her mind was and spirit were wide open to the unconventional and to adventure. There was a lot of action in her thought processes.

I’ve had people tell me that there was a certain instance when they ‘knew’. Was there a specific time or event when you knew that this was the person you wanted to be with long term?

Susan: You know, it’s funny. I think I knew for certain that I was in love with Mark when we went camping in Big Bend in March, less than a year later. But I don’t recall a specific time that I knew we’d be together long term. In fact, for about the first five years, we would say that — this is great! Hope it lasts. But we tried not to put the “happily ever after” expectations and pressure on the relationship. So I guess I’d say were were together for at least five years before I realized this might last a while.

Mark: I agree with Susan. There was no one moment; my love for her just grew and grew the first couple of years. We consciously put no expectations or labels or restrictions on our relationship. In hindsight, I’d say that rather than us defining our relationship, it began to define us and change and enlarge who we were. By the end of the first year we knew we were onto something bigger than either of us had known before, and I felt totally committed.

What if anything did you learn from previous relationships that you feel has helped you build this one?

Susan: I always say that I kissed a lot of toads before I found Mark, but the truth is that the two long term relationships I had before I met Mark were both with very nice men. They just were not the right guys for me. I found that I had to compromise myself — one of them did not like the attention I got when I sang. So I learned, for sure, that I needed to be with someone who was strong enough to let me have some attention. I also found that I really needed to be with someone who I had more in common with — someone who was creative and liked to talk about books and songs and politics and philosophy and… well, just liked to exchange ideas. Also, the relationship in my home when I was growing up made me realize that I needed to be with someone who is calm and does not live in chaos. I grew up with a lot of yelling and anxiety in my house, and I recognized that this came from repressed anger and unfulfilled needs. I think we work very hard to try to talk about how we’re feeling, rather than bottling tension and anger or resentment. 

Mark: Without a doubt! I had been in two short, unsuccessful marriages with people who wanted very different things out of life than I did. After that I felt like I was ready to define myself much more clearly and live with purpose, then hopefully find a relationship that fit. I was ready to pursue a musical life and have a partner who was a friend and ally. I also wanted to be done with conflict as a defining feature in a relationship, or to find a mate to fit my larger family.

How do you feel that your creativity impacts your relationship?

Susan: Creativity is  a huge part of our relationship. We both have projects, ideas, and goals that are generative in nature going all of the time. In the beginning, I’d say that my emotional and spiritual support of Mark’s creativity — his music —  was the glue of our relationship. I understood, respected, and appreciated his goal of playing music professionally, which was unlike his previous partners. My role on stage with him has gradually increased to the place where we bill ourselves together, but early on, I was in a supporting role. I think that one thing that’s very necessary in a creative relationship is that you have to give each other a lot of space. Mark needs time to write. He needs time to play. I need time to read and think, so we do a lot of things together, but we still have things that are individual pursuits. 

Mark: Creativity is one of the defining feature of our relationship. We recognize that if either of us doesn’t feel like we are living creatively – by writing, performing, producing in some way – then we just aren’t very content. In the beginning I was identified as the creative one, but that has balanced out over time. Susan is a tremendously creative person, and our differing approaches, I think, enhance each other. There is always space for writing, dreaming, and imagining, and playfulness in our relationship.

You have varied interests, some of which over lap and some that seem to be a long way apart. What effect do you think this has on your relationship?

Susan: We had a lot in common, basic values and we both are really jazzed by intellectual pursuits, and there is music also. I think that our interests have grown closer together over the years. I’m a reader of novels — literary fiction mostly. Mark often reads the same books I do now, which he did not in the beginning read so much literature. I have a much more conversant understanding of Carl Jung’s work, which I was familiar with but Mark is a voracious reader of. Also, our musical backgrounds are very different. Mark learned to play country music and I now know who David Lindley and Richard Thompson are — and I love them! I think the diversity of our interests and our willingness to dabble in each other’s proclivities has helped us grow together, rather than apart. But the other good thing is that if Mark wants to do something that I’m really not in to, he will do it without me. He’s not dependent on me to continue pursing an interest that he has. Similarly, I will go off on my own tangential interests, without the expectation that he’ll join me.  

Mark: We do a lot of things together, as best friends, and that that allows us to really explore these things deeply. But, we also have separate interests that give us individual lives. I love hearing her talk about things that excite her, even if they don’t appeal to me much, such as some of her educational work. I think we’re good at appreciating the energy generated by the other, and we both are enthusiastic people.

If you run a business together, what do you view as some of the challenges and rewards of this life style?

Susan: So we work together musically, and it’s a lot like running a business. It’s sometimes challenging, mostly because you don’t get a lot of money for something that takes a lot of time and energy, but it’s so much fun and it’s become who we are. Playing music is so essential to who Mark is and who I am now that I cannot imagine our not doing this together. It’s become who we are. We always have this to talk about and work toward, so it gives a huge common goal.  Mark does the really hard work — writing, recording us, booking us — so he’s probably got more to say on this topic than I do.

Mark: I think the difficult part of managing the professional side of music is doing so in context of other careers and time constraints. Susan is especially busy and taxed by her profession, but I also get drained sometimes by the psychotherapy work I do. I have the benefit of being able to do that work on a less than full time basis, so that helps a lot. Running a business together obviously has us switching hats on a daily basis and challenging each other from time to time. Susan is more more organized than I am, so I turn to her for help in that area, and she probably turns to me for calm in her sometimes chaotic work. We tend to be very supportive of each other.

On what did or do you base your decision to be married or not to be?

Mark: Our choice not to marry has left us unencumbered by the expectations that tend to go along with marriage. We could marry, and may at some point, but coming in I had huge disappoints with marriage, so just being in a committed relationship – one I choose to be in day after day – was liberating.

Susan: I’ve never really wanted to be married. I was in two committed, long-term relationships before I met Mark. I lived with the guys, but I didn’t want to get married. I had not seen too many examples of happy marriages when I was young, so I don’t think I ever intended to marry anyone. When I met Mark, I was pretty clear on the fact that I didn’t want to have children. We are not really closed to the idea of getting married, even at this point, but there just never seemed to be any reason to do so. If either of us really wanted to be married, we would be — I think. 🙂

Any words of wisdom for others who think they want a relationship to last as long as yours?

Susan: I’d say find someone you like to be with. I think it helps to have a lot of respect for the other person’s ideas and interests and career. I also think wanting similar things out of your time on the planet is pretty important. If you start having to compromise your own goals and ideals for another person, that’s a deal breaker. I think having a lot of space to grow up and out is very important. If someone is trying to isolate or control, again — deal breaker. 

Mark: Shared interests are important, so it’s easy and common to spend time together, but separate pursuits are also necessary, as well as an interest in what the other is doing. Your partner has to get who you are and be able to appreciate that without looking to change it. I think that having a history with relationships is an advantage. We have often talked of our relationship in terms of me, you, and us, as if there are always three entities involved, with each needing it’s own space. Ample conversation, ample silence, and for us keeping your family of origin at arms length and out of the decision making process. Plus, I try to never be too critical of anyone in her family; she’ll state the obvious when it needs to be said.

Lisa and Maurine

Lisa and Maurine have been together for 30 years. They are 61 and 55 years old respectively. They have a band called the Therapy Sisters.  https://www.facebook.com/thetherapysisters  

How did you meet?

Lisa: We were in different bands.  played some of the same gigs/benefits.  Maurine had a crush on me.  I thought she was straight and couldn’t figure out why she kept asking me out.

Maurine: I was a fan of Lisa’s band. I also had a band, and we met back stage when both bands performed at a benefit for Amnesty International.

What was your life like when you met and got together?

Maurine: We each played music and studied at the University (of Texas) or ACC (Austin Community College). Lisa lived with 2 housemates and I had a garage apartment, living alone.

Lisa: My father had recently died.  That was a major huge giant life changing event.  I was about ready to go back to school after having dropped out when i was 20.

Were you actively looking to be in a relationship?

Lisa: I was on the tail end of rebound and not looking too hard.

Maurine: Definitely. I was lonely.

What first attracted you to her?

Maurine: Amazing guitar talent and sense of humor.

Lisa: I was intrigued, wondered why this straight woman kept asking me out.  I loved her energy, creativity, sense of adventure, the fact that she made up poems, loved music and Shakespeare, and I was always surprised by what came out of her mouth.

I’ve had people tell me that there was a certain instance when they ‘knew’. Was there a specific time or event when you knew that this was the person you wanted to be with long term?

Lisa: Not so much.  It was very much one day at a time.  I had been dumped recently enough that I was a little gun shy.  I kept waking up deciding that I’m going to be here when Maurine gets home to see what happens.  So far, so good.  

Maurine: After we went out a few times, I was hooked. Our backgrounds and up bringing were similar. I knew she was complicated enough to keep me intrigued for a long time.

What if anything did you learn from previous relationships that you feel has helped you build this one?

Maurine: The fact is that it’s worth it to fix the relationship you are in and not just quit and look for a new one. The same problems will appear, since they have their roots inside you.

Lisa: I learned to take it one day at a time.  I also learned that, at some point, you have to commit enough to believe that you can fuck up and disagree and argue and get sick or stupid drunk and they’ll still be here — and so will you — through the worse part of better or worse. I also learned that if I hope to change and grow, I need to expect that she will, too.  and look forward to that.  I learned the importance of supporting her in the ways she wants to change and grow.   

How do you feel that your creativity impacts your relationship?

Maurine: That is the source of much pleasure, both in our activities together and in the music we compose and perform. Creativity delights and surprises us.

Lisa: Every day I look forward to hearing what Maurine’s going to say.  Her creativity is evident in our house, yard, dogs, bands, and the ways we have remade ourselves over the years.  Creativity has allowed us to live through the year Maurine taught in Mexico, the years on the road, and the way self-employment has defined our careers. 

You have varied interests, some of which over lap and some that seem to be a long way apart. What effect do you think this has on your relationship?

Lisa: I think this has kept us interesting and interested.  Our years on the road were not the kind of stress other couples projected onto us when they heard we lived and worked and traveled together.  Our disparate interests are ones that we tend to respect.  I’m in awe of Maurine’s interpreting and translating and teaching skills.  She’s at the top of her game.  She’s glad iI keep up with politics, and she’s grateful I’m techie and geeky and handy around the house.  so far, so good.  

Maurine: This is healthy for us. We can be entertained in separate realms and then come back together renewed. This keeps us from crowding each other and give us each an independent area of expertise.

If you run a business together, what do you view as some of the challenges and rewards of this life style?

Maurine: The band we have together takes us a lot of time and energy. When we give it our all, the pay off is great. It demands sacrifices though, especially time that could have been dedicated to other areas or just to rest . We always say that we will keep doing the band as long as it is fun, and so far that has been true.

On what did or do you base your decision to be married or not to be?

Lisa: Maurine wanted a commitment ceremony.  Based on my one-day-at-a-time-ism, I preferred an intentment ceremony.  Nevertheless, we’ve had ceremonies at home, a civil union in Vermont, a wedding in Massachusetts, and a couple of ten year anniversary parties and renewal of vows.  for Maurine, it was more personal.  for me, more political. 

Maurine: It was a political statement and a cultural norm. We come from families with intact marriages, so we followed our parents’ example. The marriage is only valid in Massachusetts.

Any words of wisdom for others who think they want a relationship to last as long as yours?

Maurine: Find a good therapist or two, good self-help books, and keep fine tuning. Just like you work on your diet and exercise in order to enjoy good health, keep working on the relationship to enjoy growth as a couple and as individuals. It also helps to laugh a lot and to have pets.

Lisa: One day at a time, like any other addiction.  
Couples counseling! 
Mutual friends AND individual friends and interests.
Date night.
Assume best intentions. 

Stephen and Jackie

 Since I’ve asked others to answer these questions, I feel it’s only fair for Stephen and me to go first.

Stephen and I have been together for 13 years, He’s 56 and I’m 58.

 How did you meet?

Stephen: We met at a music convention, had our first “date” at the Kerrville Folk Festival (our first date was 18 days long)

Jackie: Our paths had crossed several times in about 3 years before we remember meeting at a folk music conference.

What was your life like, what were you doing when you met/got together?

Jackie: I was single and having a blast. I’d moved to a city I loved, had a lot of friends and was going out almost every night.

Stephen: I was a touring singer/songwriter, traveling the country, living in a motorhome.

Were you actively looking to be in a relationship?

Stephen: not really

Jackie: No. I had been but decided I didn’t really care if I did or not. I was having too much fun.

What first attracted you to him/her?

Jackie: That’s really hard to say. Something about him just touched something in me. I have to say, though, that the odds of my becoming involved with a musician named Steve were pretty high. Most of my friends were involved in music somehow and I knew about a dozen Steves. And he is absolutely the best looking man I’d ever dated.

Stephen: her smile and laugh

I’ve had people tell me that there was a certain instance when they ‘knew’. Was there a specific time or event when you knew that this was the person you wanted to be with long term?

Stephen: I don’t think about “long term” much.  I knew I wanted to be with Jackie.  I still know that. 

Jackie: We got together the night before the start of a music festival that lasts 18 days. We kept hanging out thinking we were just having a fling for about the first 3 days. Then all at once we both realized it was something more. When he suggested staying at my place, I told him we’d try it for 2 weeks and see how we liked it. Every now and then he asks if he has 2 more weeks.

What if anything did you learn from previous relationships that you feel has helped you build this one?

Stephen: It has to be fun and easy.  I don’t think I should work hard at a relationship.  I don’t like hard work.

Jackie: I learned what I didn’t want for sure. This was before I’d ever heard the term Law of Attraction but figured out that on some level, I was attracting men I couldn’t live with. I also figured out that I needed to make some changes if I wanted a great relationship and started on a journey of self knowledge and self improvement that I continue to be on to this day.

How do you feel that your creativity impacts your relationship?

Jackie: I feel that we are creating our relationship every minute of it as we create our lives. We are both creative people in the sense that we’re always coming up with new ideas and new things to try. It helps keep things interesting.

Stephen: My creativity is part of who I am and that’s what I bring to the relationship.  We make room for each of us to be who we are.

You have varied interests, some of which over lap and some that seem to be a long way apart. What effect do you think this has on your relationship?

Stephen: I am for anything that brings Jackie happiness, whether it brings me happiness or not.  I prefer a happy spouse. 

Jackie: We have a lot of shared interests and we each have interests that don’t necessarily include the other. It gives us things to share with each other.

On what did or do you base your decision to be married or not to be?

Stephen: We’re married without ever having a wedding.  I’m good with that.

Jackie: Neither of us had any interest in getting married when we got together. We talked about it pretty seriously last year but my mother died and I started really wanting to get married but thought I might have been having a knee jerk reaction to losing my mom. We decided to table the matter and never have gotten back to it. I guess we would have by now if it were very important to us. He started referring to me as his wife a couple of years ago and I now call him my husband. We’re considered common law in most states. There are circumstances we’ve talked about that might be a reason for us to get legally married but we haven’t seen the need to do so yet.

Any words of wisdom for others who think they want a relationship to last as long as yours?

Jackie: Get happy with yourself. No matter whether you’re in a relationship or not, your happiness has to come first. Don’t give up your happiness for someone else’s. They won’t appreciate it and you’ll both be miserable.

Stephen declined to answer this one.