“Oh, you are so handsome,” says Kathy. She and her husband Melvin are looking at pictures in their wedding album. After more than 40 years of marriage, the two InnovAge PACE participants wanted to renew their vows. They decided to do it at their PACE center
.“ She got down on one knee and proposed to me in the dining room!” says a clearly tickled Melvin.
PACE Couple Mary and Bob Share How They Found Love and More Words of Wisdom
“We call InnovAge our family,” says Kathy. “They had a really nice cake, they decorated two rooms, and it was so pretty,” says Melvin.
What have they learned about maintaining their relationship? Kathy and Melvin say helping each other out, doing things together, and showing each other respect are all important.
“You need to learn to love yourself, first, and you need patience,” Kathy begins, then turning her thoughts to Melvin. “I really like it when he helps out. He helps me do the bills, he’s a good cook, and he helps with the cleaning, too!”
“Respect your spouse,” Melvin adds. “She has needs, too. Try to think about the other person more than yourself. I admit, I don’t do the laundry much,” Melvin chuckles, “but I do help her out a lot.”
“He is such a charmer!” says Mary. She and her now-husband Bob met at their InnovAge PACE center. “He was playing Wii bowling with his friends, and I was playing games on a nearby computer. He gave me a sideways look and said, ‘Want to come over and bowl with us?’ He was very easy to talk to and he was quite handsome,” she says, smiling.
Bob and Mary officially started dating on Valentine’s Day in 2019 and were married that July. “That day was wonderful, and it was mainly because everyone here at InnovAge, they worked so hard to make this wedding perfect, and it was perfect. I never dreamt anything like that. That’s why they are all so special to us,” says Mary.
Bob, who is on the mend, joined Mary through Facetime from the hospital. “It’s good to see you honey!” Bob chirped before he launched into a stream of compliments. “You look so pretty! Your hair is really nice. I love those glasses on you! Your features are so excellent,” he says. Mary smiles from ear to ear.
“We just try our best to work through things because things happen,” says Mary, talking about what helps them stay connected and committed. “You have to be patient with one another, be willing to listen, and respect the other person’s opinion. If we fight, we try to get through it as fast as we can and then we discuss what happened and what we can do different the next time. That works. It really does. Always focus on the positive and try not to blame the other person. That can avoid a lot of future arguments,” she chuckles.
“We work together as a team. That is the only way to go,” says Bob. “We help each other out in as many ways as we can, and we always try to learn from each other.”
Both couples say they love to share presents, heartfelt notes, and other gifts that make their spouse feel special and loved.
“Last Valentine’s Day, Bob painted me a picture. That picture meant more to me than anything he could have bought me,” says Mary. “It makes me feels very special and reminds me how much he loves me.”
“I bought her that on our first Christmas together,” says Melvin, pointing to a heart-shaped locket around Kathy’s neck. “She’s got about 10 of them now,” he laughs.
He pauses and squeezes Kathy’s hand before adding a final thought: “Don’t give up. Don’t give up on each other. Don’t give up on having a happy life.”