Love can sneak up on you or be as obvious as a banner at the ballpark, but the truth is when it is supposed to happen it will.
Four area couples have chosen to share their stories for the Valentine’s Day holiday. Some even added a little wisdom to share on how they’ve made their relationships last.
Mike and Laurel Nowak of Alpena both say they’ve married their best friend.
The two met in November of 2003 while Mike was the manager at FYE in the Alpena Mall and one of Laurel’s sons went into the store to purchase some Yu-Gi-Oh magnets.
Both said they were first attracted to each other by the way each related to their children.
“We were very into our kids,” Mike said. “When we talked it was like an instant connection. We communicate back and forth. Our interests weren’t the same but our communication was right on.”
The couple began officially dating in July 2004 and got engaged in Feb. 2006 during a family trip.
Mike had the entire proposal planned out.
While they were dancing on one occasion to Michael Peterson’s song “From Here to Eternity,” he had told his wife the next time she heard the song he would ask her to marry him.
On the day of the proposal the Nowaks and their children stopped by a store to purchase some CDs. Mike’s daughter asked Laurel to listen to the words of the music she was listening to, and it turned out to be Peterson’s song.
“All four kids were lined up in order of age. Each one said ‘Will you marry Mike,’ one word at a time. When I looked around Mike was kneeling and he asked me to marry him,” Laurel said.
They were married in October 2007.
JoAnn and Mark Kamyszek of Maple Ridge Township began dating in high school and dated for seven years before they were married in 1982. Marksaid he liked his wife’s blond hair. JoAnn said she initially enjoyed being around her husband’s muscle cars.
“He always had fast, souped up Camaros,” she said.
Their decision to get married was a mutual one and supported by each other’s families which get along well together. Not everyone thought the couple would make it though.
“We had a priest tell us we’re not compatible,” Mark said.
The couple recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. At this point in their relationship they’ve gotten to the point of finishing each other’s sentences. Some changes occurred when their son Craig moved out.
“I think we’re much closer now than we were, especially when Craig left,” JoAnn said. “He was the focus of our attention. Over the last four years we’ve gotten much closer. We had to talk to each other.”
Being able to listen and talk through disagreements is one of the things the Kamyszeks have learned to do through the years. Mark said people shouldn’t let their fights linger.
JoAnn said it’s important for couples to try and keep their finances simple.
“A lot of young people get married and want everything. Then the financial pressure start to cave on them,” she said.
Chet and Delores Timmreck of Alpena Township met in a restaurant when he was 24 and she was 21 years old. Chet and his friend saw Delores and her friend sitting at another table and began talking with her. Chet eventually asked his wife out on another date.
“My girlfriend and I used to go out once in a while. I used to see Chet and oh my God my legs were shaking,” Delores said. “I really liked him.”
Chet proposed to Delores before asking her parents for their blessing. When Chet went to speak with her parents, her father gave his permission but her mother walked out of the room because she didn’t approve, Chet said.
After 50 years of marriage the two of them have had their share of ups and downs. Learning to compromise and work on things together is part of the reason they’ve stayed together, Delores said.
“Sure you have arguments and sometimes you’d like to call it quits,” she said. “It’s too easy today. They get in a big fight or whatever and they want to call it quits right away.”
Bob and Ilene Hayka of Herron met as teenagers during a wedding reception in Alpena and got married about six months later in 1947.
The couple will celebrate 61 years of marriage in August. The marriage has been strengthened through the couple’s commitment to their Christian faith and jointly serving in their church. They try to take time each day to pray together.
“I think in order for a young couple that gets married and wants to have a long relationship... if they both accept the Lord and both go to church and try to raise their children in church and stick together as a church family, I think that would ... make their relationship better to be together,” Bob said.
Ilene said it doesn’t matter how long people have been married, everyone will experience good and bad times in their marriage.
“I think a lot of people when they have the valleys, that’s when they want the divorce. You’ve got to work your way out of those valleys,” she said.
Patty Ramus can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5687.