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.  

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. 


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