Ever wonder what makes a romance last? Or how people stay together despite what life throws at you? With It Takes Two, The Huffington Post Canada is talking to couples from across the country — young, old, married and otherwise — who have the answers to these questions.
Names: Ken and Lynda Traves
Ages: 75 and 70
City: Fort Erie, Ont.
Occupations: My father retired at 50 from the public service and worked as a consultant until recently. My mother retired at 53 as a Vice-Principal after a 35 year teaching career.
The year you met: 1963
How long have you been together: 52 years (married for 50)
As told to their daughter, Tara
Lynda: I knew Ken from going to church with my parents, but he always seemed much older. So when I was at teachers' college, he and I spent most of the Teen Town Dance standing against the wall talking. He loved me so much that he volunteered to drive me back-and-forth to teachers' college every weekend and we went from there. I was 19, and I just wanted to have someone to go out with that had a car and didn't mind spending money on me. I think from those days a lot had to do with luck, not so much choice.
Ken: I wasn’t looking for anything. I was just happy that a female wanted to spend time with me. Our platonic relationship evolved the more time I spent around and with her. That, and the fact that Mom had the most beautiful blue eyes.
Lynda: I don't know if I ever really knew this was "it." I just thought, 'This is the man I want to spend all my time with,' but I don't think I thought beyond that month or maybe that year. I think everyone around me was getting married because I was going to be a little late if I wasn't married. And I knew I loved your dad and we could make a go of it. We dated about 18 months and then I asked him to marry me.
They stayed in Fort Erie and started to build their life together. My brother was born three years later in 1968 and they built the house they still live in today, in 1972.
Lynda: Everyone in 1965 had children pretty much right away. So we agreed to wait two years until we had some money in the bank so we could put a down payment on a house.
My mom decided to go to university in 1980, so she could move forward with her career. With both still working full time and two young children (3 and 11 years old), this was a big undertaking, but they supported each other. Mom ended up getting a B.A. and a B.Ed. thanks to Dad taking on a lot of the household work to make that happen.
Probably the most difficult time they went through together was in the mid-'80s when my brother was diagnosed a juvenile diabetic as a 16 year old. They handled the shock and fear together and kept us moving forward as a family.
Four years ago mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and my dad cared for her through surgery, chemo and radiation. He kept her spirits up through such a trying time and that love and support got Mom through treatment.
Lynda: Compromise compromise compromise. Ken and I are both very different in our interests and other things and we've always just let the other person be whatever they wanted to be. I love Ken’s organizational skills, as that means that things stay neat and tidy and bills are paid and I'm taken care of.
Ken: Communication, respect, and support for each other through thick and thin. And her constantly annoying state of perpetual happiness. It takes an awful lot to depress her for more than five minutes.
Dad spent years playing judo and baseball, mom learned new arts and crafts like knitting and quilting. These days they spend their summers enjoying the pool and their grandchildren, and their winters playing cards with friends, discussing politics, and travelling. My mom often says to me, 'When we are alone we are so happy and enjoy the time together so much.'
Lynda: I think the biggest hurdles are just life. Things happen that present challenges and problems, and you have to just get through them.
Ken: After 50 years and many bumps in the road that stress a marriage, we are still together, testimony to the fact that if you love each other you can overcome most anything.
Lynda: We have always enjoyed each other's company, had lots to talk about, because of course we don't agree about most things. As well, we've always had a good private life and that has brought both of us lots of joy.
Lynda: Don't give up. When times get tough, just keep going and things will work out generally for the best. First bloom is wonderful because you're getting to know each other, then with the addition of children, love changes as you watch your love grow through your children. Then at our stage of life, how friendship, companionship and being together is what makes life wonderful.
Ken: There's a misconception that you are, or should both be in a constant state of euphoria with each other. Attraction leads to love, but love alone does not sustain a relationship. Love is the beginning of a journey that requires needing, and depending on each other for all that life throws at you.
Do you have a love story you want to share? We want to hear it! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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