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.
- Local News
Plea deal arranged for ex-fire chief
A former Cherokee County volunteer fire chief has agreed to plead guilty to forgery and embezzlement charges in exchange for a suspended sentence and payment of restitution.
Third Thursday Art Walk
Shoppers will have a chance to visit downtown merchants in the evening during the Tahlequah Main Street Association’s first Third Thursday Art Walk and After Party on Thursday, March 20.
Participating downtown businesses will keep their doors open to offer specials until 8 p.m., and artists will display their work at different locations. Art exhibitors, including the Cherokee Art Center’s Spider Gallery, will stay open late.
Sex offender bill reaches House
By a unanimous 44-0 vote of the Oklahoma Senate, a bill that would make it more difficult for registered sex offenders to change their names has reached the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
Senate Bill 1421, authored by Kyle Loveless, Oklahoma City Republican, underwent its first reading in the House on Feb. 27.
Cherokee County Undersheriff Jason Chennault said he did not know of any instances, during his service with the department, of registered sex offenders evading detection with new names for any length of time.
SB 1497 may aid transparency
Government transparency advocates were pleased, and some were surprised, when a proposed bill designed to strengthen Oklahoma’s Open Meetings Act passed the Senate Judicial Committee recently.
Senate Bill 1497, by Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, would allow citizens who are denied access to public meetings to bring civil lawsuits, and if the court rules in favor, to collect attorney’s fees. A continuing resolution has already been filed.
Should the legislation pass into law, it would become effective Nov. 1 this year.
Moulton: Sovereignty is John Ross’ legacy
When describing the Cherokee people, the words “well-educated” and “independent” may come to mind. Those attributes were principles held most dear by John Ross, principal chief of the Cherokees from 1828-1866.
Dr. Gary Moulton, University of Nebraska Thomas C. Sorensen emeritus professor of American history, discussed Ross’ history during a presentation at the Tahlequah Armory Municipal Center Thursday. The event was organized by the history department at Northeastern State University.
The bear facts
A joint project linking two state agencies with researchers at Oklahoma State University is gathering the “bear facts” on a growing population in the northeastern part of the state.
A six-year study on black bears in Cherokee, Adair and Sequoyah counties is being conducted as a precursor to possible establishment of a controlled hunting season in Green Country. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Oklahoma Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management of Oklahoma State University have partnered for the endeavor.
Drug task force seizes K2 at a Tahlequah house
The District 27 Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force seized between $200 and $300 worth of synthetic drugs during a bust Friday.
The Tahlequah Police Department and the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service were also in on the raid. Members of the task force hope the seizure will aid in an ongoing investigation to find larger suppliers.
“We received information that sales were being made from a residence off Choctaw Street,” said Michael Moore, task force director. “Further investigation led to a state search warrant based on the federal Schedule I list of drugs.”
Citizens can report sight obstructions to city
On Feb. 25-26, the Tahlequah Fire Department responded to motor vehicle accidents at South Muskogee Avenue and South Street, and since that time, a few citizens have expressed concern about the sight lines at the intersection.
A visit to the intersection showed that, for traffic westbound on South, the view south down Muskogee is partially obstructed by shrubbery and a tree that appear to be on private property.
Spears: OSRC should help boost business
In a little over 25 years, Arrowhead Resort owner Jack Spears has grown his business from being the smallest float operator on the Illinois River to the second-largest, and he’d like to continue on that path.
Spears believes tourism is vital to the Tahlequah area. He says if the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission would eliminate a zoning issue along the river, both the agency and his own business would reap the benefits.
Spears recently asked the OSRC to consider doing away with recreational floating zones. Commercial flotation device licenses are granted to operators in each area for a total of 3,900 licenses.
Last-place swine earns top sale bid
Local businessmen drew regional attention through a record-setting bid of $10,000 at the Cherokee County Spring Livestock Show last Saturday, but now they say they don’t want the recognition.
The annual show, which ends with a premium sale featuring top winners, is a fundraiser for local FFA and 4-H participants. Proceeds help cover the animals’ expenses or are used for future projects or showings. Community members, organizations and businesses bid on the livestock, but it is not a purchase. The children showing get to keep their animals.
- More Local News Headlines
- Plea deal arranged for ex-fire chief