Couples give insight on their happy marriages


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Bob and Alice Cole, who have been married for 42 years, have known each other since early childhood.

SENIOR LIFE Muffy Berlyn

What makes for a long, happy marriage?

As this Valentine’s Day approaches, local couples have responded to questions about their marriages and have provided varying responses as to what ensures a successful union.

Bob and Alice Cole have been married 42 years and they have two children and two grandchildren. Alice, a retired mail carrier, is 63.

“We knew each other as kids,” she said. “We rode around with a little red wagon and tricycles … Bob and my brother, Tom, used to play together all the time. When we got older, my father said to me, ‘you know, Al, I don’t think he’s coming over to see your brother.’ ”

Bob, 62, a retired heavy equipment operator, said of his secret to a long-term marriage, “I think [it’s] mutual respect … sometimes you have to be the best friend, and sometimes you have to be the lover.”

Alice Cole acknowledged that a “give-and-take” and communication were important aspects of a long-term marriage.

“Being able to talk about things and work together on things, the projects we work on don’t always go smoothly. But, we can still work and get it done,’’ she said.

Steve and Annie Steinert have been married for 33 years. They met in high school.

“I was definitely interested at first sight,” said Steve, 53, who is a computer technician. “My best friend sat next to her, so (I) had him put in a word. For us, we put each other first (and we) never doubt we have each other’s back. We’re in this together, even if we disagree on the minutia of things. At the end of day, realize what you’ve got.”

Annie, 52, said she truly believes that it takes a lot of love and a lot of patience.

“Too many people give up on things too easily,” she said. (You) “gotta find the commonality between yourselves.”

They agreed that a good sense of humor is important in marriage.

David Waterman of Barefoot Bay had a slightly different take.

“For me, it’s having the most tolerant, patient wife on the face of the Earth,” he said. “For her, the longer we are together, 35 years and counting, the less I understand it.”

Tina Thibodeau said, “For us, 49 years married, (it) is treating each other as valuable individuals deserving of care and love.” 

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