|Chris & Al with their teenage daughter Anastasia|
1. How many years have you been married and how many kids do you have?
We will be married thirty-seven years on July 8, 2015. We have four children -- three grown and one teenager.
2. Name three things that have helped you stay married this long.
First, a commitment to each other and our marriage. When we got married we said that divorce was not an option for us.
Second, a willingness to fight for our marriage, to not give up when things got tough.
Third, a willingness to let each other grow. We are not the same people we were thirty-seven years ago, and at times that has taken a great amount of love, patience and understanding from one or the other of us.
|Son Nicholas with his wife Christy|
3. What role has your faith played in your marriage?
Although married in a Catholic church, we were quite young and I don’t think we thought about our faith as playing a part in our marriage. It was only as we grew and learned that we realized what an integral part our faith held in our marriage. Our marriage has three people in it -- the two of us and God. That needs to be at the forefront of everything that we do. Not saying it always is at the forefront or that it’s easy to do, but God should be a part of everything.
4. What advice would you give people who are dating and considering marriage?
Save yourself for marriage. Don’t let your partner convince you to do things you aren’t ready for. And whether you are male or female respect the other person, don’t abuse their love and trust, don’t put them on a pedestal, because like you they are only human and will invariably fall from the pedestal at some point in your relationship. Be willing to forgive and to ask forgiveness.
|Oldest son Scott with his wife Stefanie and youngest daughter Arya|
5. What advice would you give newlyweds?
Pretty much the same as for those dating and considering marriage. Have a lot of patience and understanding. You will be learning a lot of things about your partner in this stage, and some you may not like. Just remember the reasons you married him/her, the things that made you fall in love. You are embarking on an incredible journey that, if nurtured properly, will grow beyond that first rose-colored phase of falling in love to blossom into a long-lasting love.
6. What's your top parenting tip, or advice for couples who are trying to have children?
Our oldest will be thirty six this year and we don’t feel as if we have this parenting thing down yet. Every phase of a child’s life is so different, and your parenting has to change as they change. So be willing to grow with your child. Don’t become locked into a system, but embrace the fluidity of life and the idea that things will change. And if you have more than one child, acknowledge that each is different and what works with one will not necessarily work with the other.
Hold on tight, but be willing to let go when the time is right. Don’t smother them. Don’t force them to live inside a box of your creation, but let them make their own box. Let them be kids. In today’s world parents strive too much to get their kids grown and living like adults, and then everyone suffers because the kids didn’t have a chance to be just a kid.
Share your faith with them. Let them get to know God.
Most of all, love them. Most days that’s all they want from you.
|Daughters Katie & Ana, Daughter-in-law Stefanie, Granddaughters Andi, Lily & Arya|
& exchange student Freya Boehm