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.