The best marriages get even sweeter with the passing of time.
For some couples, love at first sight is a moment shared that defines their relationships. But it takes a deep commitment to make it last.
When she was 30, Gwen Grayson was enjoying an after-work meal and beer with Wilma Mankiller at Granny’s Attic.
“This guy pulled up wearing a black jacket, on a black motorcycle with beautiful back hair. Wow, who’s that?” Gwen wondered aloud.
Mankiller answered, “That’s my friend, Joe.”
He came in, ordered a pitcher of beer, and joined the women.
“Hi, Wilma,” he said. “Who’s your friend?”
Gwen remembers Joe asking, “What color are your eyes?” and her response: “Green.”
“I thought, what beautiful children we would make,” Gwen recalled. “And we did.”
It was love at first sight, Grayson said: “Some people grow into love and some know right away.”
Mankiller used to enjoy telling people she saw sparks of two people in love at first sight.
“We’ve been very comfortable, had a perfect life – not without conflict, but our marriage is a happy place to be,” Gwen said. “Others may not see it, but he’s funny; he makes me laugh.”
Gwen’s intellect, Joe said, is what he first admired about his wife.
“But her eyes overruled that,” he added.
A good marriage means being with someone you can count on no matter what, Gwen said.
“Marriage is the exercise of sticking together through challenging times, committing to a forever relationship,” she said.
“You have to love the person, be calm about everything. Be adaptable and respectful,” Joe added.
The Graysons agree they look forward to each day and what it brings. In their comfortable chairs, she often reads while he cleans one of his guns. They also cook together.
When he was working, Joe said, Gwen was right there, traveling with him and supporting him.
“She worked very, very hard, her and the kids,” he said. “Over the years, we’ve loved being with each other and doing things for each other. We like taking drives out in the country and over to Arkansas to look at old houses.”
A scripture – Ecclesiastes 4:12 – they keep posted on their refrigerator represents their marriage, Gwen said: “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves, a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Other local couples also shared a glimpse into their love stories.
Diane and Jeff Walker just celebrated their 25th anniversary. They met at Northeastern State University 28 years ago when they were students.
“Even though we have a lot in common, our differences really balance each other out,” Diane said. “We have fun together and with our girls, Lauren and Rachel. We love our family vacations, but we also know the importance of having our time alone together as a couple.”
Mitzi and Jeff Reasor met in high school at Tahlequah and have been married 36 years.
“I noticed him one day, and thought he was the cutest guy I had ever seen!” Mitzi recalled. Today, she especially admires “his love for our family and his dedication to the business he helped build.”
Her recipe for a happy family: Soak up all the different stages together.
“I think young couples today should not rush things too much,” she said. “ Work hard, but spend time together now. Life goes by fast! Talk to each other, say ‘I love you’ and be forgiving.”
Several people left perceptions of joyful marriage online.
Suzy Andrews knew she was in love with her now-husband, Gary, the first time she saw him in seventh grade. They’ve been married 40 years.
“My stomach flipped and my heart fluttered. I do believe he felt the same,” she said.
The key to a long and loving relationship is to keep God the head of your household, she said.
“Learn to love no matter what; be tough through the storms of life and always remember that no two people love alike,” she said. “Find joy in the fact your spouse loves you. I love the fact that we can both be in the living room, him watching TV and me reading, and all is still good.”
Communication has been important to the 14-year marriage of Joseph and Jennifer Bosley.
“The key for us has been communication,” he said. “Deal with one problem at a time; don’t try to fix all at once.”
He admires his wife’s strength and positive outlook, which keeps him going.
“I know now more than ever how much she loves me and how lost I would be without her,” he said.
Bryn Smith believes respect for one another is absolutely key.
“Listening to each other – not trying to provide a solution to things you merely think you know better, but just listening actively, boring or not,” she said. “I value how my husband treats women, respectfully and gently.”
Respect is also critical for B.J. Foreman.
“Humor, respect, thoughtfulness, consideration, honesty, and appreciation,” Foreman said. “After 37 years of marriage, I know what teamwork is in a marriage. Not all times are wonderful. All are not terrible, but one thing remains constant: companionship.”
Humor is valuable, too, said Molly Peterson.
“More and more, I appreciate Jerald’s nearsightedness!” she said.
On cusp of Valentine’s Day, couples share secrets to happy marriage
The best marriages get even sweeter with the passing of time.
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NSU students observe Earth Day
Students and members of the community converged on Northeastern State University’s Second Century Square on Tuesday to spend an afternoon celebrating Earth Day.
The event featured tables sponsored by campus organizations, prizes and music by Chris Espinoza. NSU’s Earth Day theme was “Gather Here. Go Green,” and was organized by the Committee for Sustainability and the Northeastern Student Government Association (NSGA).
Rural smallholders host annual show
More and more, many people are showing growing interest in learning the sources of their food, including meat. As such, interest in farm-to-table living is increasing.
Saturday, the Rural Smallholders Association held its annual spring show at the Cherokee County Fairgrounds, promoting the farming of sheep and goats, along with giving the general public a sample of their products.
Wanted man nabbed during traffic stop
Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies arrested a wanted man this week after a traffic stop near South Muskogee and Willis Road.
Hurley D. Pitts, 40, was being sought by authorities on a motion to revoke a previous sentence.
Sheriff’s Deputy Jarrick Snyder said he stopped a car after it ran off the road a couple of times. A woman was behind the wheel, and Pitts was sitting in the passenger seat.
Communiversity Band performs Sunday
Musicians from on and off the Northeastern State University campus have made their final preparations for an upcoming performance of the NSU Communiversity Band.
The ensemble performs Sunday, April 27, at 7 p.m., in the NSU Center for the Performing Arts. The conductor is Dr. Norman Wika, associate professor of music and band program director. Guest conductor is student Kameron Parmain. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors.
“Everything has come together very well this semester,” Wika said.
“We have about 40 musicians, and everyone who started the rehearsals has stuck with it. This could be the best Community Band concert yet.”
Council concerned over reports of land contamination
Negotiations involving the purchase of nearly 20 homes on 7 acres of land near Basin Avenue hit a snag Monday night when concerns surfaced over potential contamination of the area.
Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols had proposed the city purchase the homes and duplexes as a large step in a greenbelt project, which would establish a solid park and trail system from the downtown area to the site of the city’s old solid waste transfer station.
Until Monday, details of the negotiations had been mostly discussed behind closed doors, though Nichols confirmed the list price for the property to be $480,000.
Council tables cell tower permit apps
Tahlequah city councilors on Monday opted to hold off on approval of two special-use permit applications that would help AT&T install a couple of 150-foot cell towers within the city.
Branch Communications is asking for the permits as it attempts to construct two monopole cell towers – one on Commercial Road near Green Country Funeral Home, and another at the Tahlequah Public Schools bus barn on Pendleton Street. Other towers are being built outside of the city limits.
Members of the city’s planning and zoning board gave their OK for both permits last month.
Walk a Mile 2014
Men squeezed into feminine footwear Saturday by the hundreds to walk in solidarity with women on the issue of sexual violence – and their clop-clop-clopping echoed down Muskogee Avenue.
The fourth annual “Walk a Mile In Her Shoes” brought men to Norris Park, accompanied by their enthusiastic female supporters, to walk – and often wobble – in high heels over a mile-long course to raise funds for Help-In-Crisis.
“It hurts every year,” said John Christie, a Sequoyah High School student participating in his third Walk a Mile. “I get home, sit down, blisters come up and the calves hurt. But it is worth it. It’s for a good cause.”
Michigan man gets 13 years on plea to rape, sodomy of girl
A 28-year-old Michigan man will spend about 13 years in an Oklahoma state prison after pleading guilty to four counts of first-degree rape and one count of sodomy involving a 13-year-old girl.
Christopher Dale Adams, of Lake Orion, Mich., received a 13-year prison sentence for each of the five charges, to be followed by seven years suspended. All sentences will run concurrently.
Police take down pair on pot distribution charge
Tahlequah police officers arrested a pair Sunday night for allegedly possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute it.
Tahlequah Officer Cody Warren said police were asked to investigate when 35-year-old Amy N. Logan, of Tahlequah, allegedly took a family member’s car without permission.
While Warren was speaking with the owners of the vehicle, Logan arrived along with 26-year-old Theoplilus James Mollie, of Tulsa.
Two nailed with meth, pot hidden in bag of chips
Two people were arrested early Monday morning when Tahlequah police stopped a vehicle near Basin Avenue and found methamphetamine and marijuana hidden in a bag of chips.
Tahlequah Officer Cory Keele said he noticed a Nissan heading north on Park Hill Road, and the vehicle later stopped in an intersection.
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