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 They may not be legendary like Antony and Cleopatra, or fairytale perfect like Snow White and Prince Charming, there are couples out there whose passion burns as brightly as any storybook romance. We spoke with four couples living in the Lima area about meeting their spouses, and what they’ve learned in their years together. Though they might not make the history books, they’ve definitely found their “happily ever after.”  Kay and Bud Baney, of LimaMarried: Feb. 24, 1942 in Portland, MaineTheir story: Kay, 89, and Bud, 88, met several years before they were married in 1943. Kay worked as a nurse at Memorial Hospital and took the bus from her aunt’s house to work every day. One summer day, as Kay waited for the bus to go home, her friend Bill drove by with Bud in the car.“I was standing on the corner, doing no harm, and along came this car and stopped,” Kay said. “Bud didn’t want to stop because he didn’t have shoes on. They had just come from work, and they were going to go swimming, but Bill turned off the ignition, so he had no choice. They took me home to my aunt’s, and that’s how I got acquainted with him.”Kay said the couple married after Bud enlisted in the Navy to serve in World War II.“When he went to the East coast, he was seeing all these guys getting ‘Dear John’ letters, and he didn’t want to wait until he got back from the Navy,” Kay said. “He wanted to get married now. So I went to Portland, and we were married there. He was afraid I would marry somebody else while he was gone. He wasn’t going to let me get away.”After Bud returned from the war in 1945, the couple first stayed with Bud’s parents in Lima, then built a home on Indian Lake. Eventually they both returned to Lima after Bud’s father retired. The Baneys have three children and six grandchildren.Making it last: In the course of their marriage together, Kay said it has taken effort, compassion and laughter to maintain their wedded bliss.“You have to be forgiving, and you have to be understanding,” she said. “Bud had a sense of humor, too. He liked to tease. If you’re grumpy, you don’t have anything (to offer).”  Norm and Kay Rex, of AdaMarried: Oct. 7, 1956Their story: Norm, 73, and Kay, 72, first met in 1951 but it took several encounters and happy accidents before the two fell in love. Kay’s aunt and Norm’s mother went to the same church in the Westminster/Harrod area. Both mentioned that Norm and Kay should meet, but Kay first caught Norm’s eye at the Schoonover Park swimming pool.“I was in Lima with a good friend of mine who was raised in Lima but had moved to Westminster, and we were swimming at Schoonover Park,” Norm said. “That was the first time I saw Kay. I had no idea (who she was). In talking with my friend, I thought he might know who that girl was. He said he thought she had moved to Westminster with her sisters. That occasion certainly caught my eye. Maybe it was the swimming suit, I don’t know.”After their poolside encounter, Kay and Norm kept bumping into each other, at the county fair, his brother’s wedding, and at school. It finally took some public encouragement — Kay’s sister wrote their names together on a classroom blackboard — for Norm to call Kay and ask her to a school function on Sept. 28, a date they celebrated for years afterward.Kay and Norm graduated from nursing school and college in June and September 1956, and they were married shortly afterward. They stayed in Ada; Kay worked at Hardin Memorial Hospital in Kenton, and Bud juggled teaching (both at the high school and at Ohio Northern University), coaching and local politics. Their four children have in turn had seven children of their own, who range in age from 23 to 1.Making it last: Faith, love and respect have been critical ingredients in the Rex marriage, Kay said. This includes accepting the other person’s differences and separate interests.“Doing activities together (is important), but also allowing each person to be active in special interests of their own,” she said. “I love to sing. I’ve got the music interest. That’s definitely not Norman’s interest, but he had to go to so many concerts. He’s very politically involved. There are some things we just go different directions on, and some things we really enjoy doing together.”Kay and Norm both said sharing a close bond with friends and family is also crucial in difficult moments like personal health problems or family crises.“I think when couples go through really stressful times, they need to be willing to ask for help,” Kay said. “Through asking for help, going to counseling, our marriage became a lot stronger.”  Mary and Louis Harrod, of CridersvilleMarried: Sept. 8, 1944Their story: Louis and Mary met on a blind date in 1943 while they were students at The Ohio State University in Columbus: she studied nursing and he studied veterinary medicine. Mary’s roommate and her fiancé, who was Louis’ fraternity brother, arranged for the couple to take each other to a dance.“We were real good friends and everything, at first,” Mary said. “I didn’t realize I was that crazy about him until an episode happened where I realized, ‘Oh, I think I like this guy more than I thought.’”Mary, 84, said she realized she had feelings for Louis on a Columbus city bus after Christmas the same year.“He went away to New York at Christmas time with another buddy and came back and came on the train, and he got on the same bus I was on coming up from downtown,” she said. “I didn’t want him to know I had gone off to a movie by myself. I was trying to hide from him.”The Harrods got engaged six months after they met and married after Louis, now 85, graduated from college. They moved to Louis’s hometown of Harrod, where he established a large animal veterinary practice and worked for 34 years (Mary didn’t finish nursing school but has volunteered in hospitals and hospice care throughout their marriage). Today they have four children, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.Making it last: The Harrod’s six decades together would not have been possible without teamwork, Louis said.“Cooperation is the main thing,” he said. “You talk things over and you come to a joint opinion. That’s how we handle our lives, and it has always worked.”“I always say he’s my best friend as well as the man I love,” she said. “If you’ve got a problem, need a friend to talk it over with, I can always go and talk it over with him, and if something is really bugging him, he can talk it over with me. We try not to be judgmental over anything.”Communication and what Mary calls “active listening” (paying attention to and absorbing what the other person says) are also extremely important, the Harrods said.Yet even after six decades together, the Harrods said they still remember they’re in love.“At the hospital where we volunteer, they call us ‘the lovers,’ because we’re always walking down the hall hand-in-hand,” Mary said. “That’s just the way it is.”  Bill and Maxine Robinson, of CridersvilleMarried April 4, 1980Their story: Bill and Maxine consider their marriage a second chance at love. They met in Kenton in the church were Maxine’s husband had been a minister before he died (they had been married 25 years). Bill, now 84, was a widower — his wife died after 33 years of marriage — and both he and Maxine, 89, got along instantly.“We had several friends, couples, that ran around together, and I guess that’s how we got acquainted,” she said.“I thought she was quite a gal,” Bill said of his first meeting with Maxine. “She had been alone longer than me. We were both over 60 (when we met).”Both Bill and Maxine said they gelled well together as they became closer.“We never had an argument,” Bill said. “We may have felt differently about some things, but we never argued about it.”“We got along together well,” Maxine added. “We have ever since we were married, really.”Making it last: Both Bill and Maxine said faith has played a large role in their relationship since the day they met.“We both have felt the nearness and closeness of God’s influence on our lives,” Bill said.With 102 years of marriage between them, the Robinsons said compromise is the most important part of staying together.“When you think about things the other person likes or appreciates, you have to meet halfway on things,” Maxine said. “And sometimes, you have to go over halfway.”

Longtime couples share secrets of relationships

Longtime couples share secrets of relationships
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