Longtime Couples Dole Out Marriage Advice
If you missed our Feb. 8 edition, you missed the Valentine’s Day profiles that Karley Osborn and Chris McGathey did of two longtime Kessler Park couples: Chris and Mary Ann Climer, and David and Carolyn Dunnigan. Since I’m assuming last weekend’s Mardi Gras events led to a complete sellout of that edition, I’m posting the profiles in their entirety.
The couple: Kessler Park residents Mary Ann and Chris Climer
Wedding date: March 28, 1969
How they met: The year was 1966; the place, the campaign headquarters of gubernatorial hopeful Winthrop Rockefeller in Little Rock, Ark. Chris was in college, and Mary Ann was a senior in high school. After several unsuccessful attempts at fixing each other up with friends, roommates — anyone but each other, really — the couple finally had an “aha” moment while on a double date. “You go ahead and get in the front seat with him, and I’ll get in the backseat, and we’ll have a good time,” Mary Ann recalled a friend saying. Once they were officially a couple, Chris and Mary Ann dated off-and-on for two years before Chris finally popped the question — an event he described as “lame,” although Mary Ann labeled it “short and sweet.” Though it took a papal dispensation from Rome to allow the two to walk down the aisle (Chris was raised Catholic, while Mary Ann’s the daughter of a Baptist preacher), the couple finally said “I do” in the spring of ‘69.
What they wish they’d known then: Here’s good news about all those pet peeves that get you stewing — in the long run, it seems they’re not so serious, after all. “The things that used to irritate are now endearing,” Mary Ann promised.
How they “knew”: For Mary Ann, it was clear that Chris was “the one” almost from the very beginning. Still, she “had to go through some others to make sure.” As for Chris, the moment of truth simply came “When no one else mattered.”
The most surprising thing about marriage: “Having such great kids after knowing who raised them,” Mary Ann said.
What makes a marriage work: “Choose your battles,” Chris advised. “Having a sense of humor,” Mary Ann said.
Their best advice: First, find a friend. Then work at having a great relationship every day.
The couple: Kessler Park residents Carolyn and David Dunnigan
Wedding date: Dec. 23, 1966
How they met: It didn’t take long for these two newshounds to sniff each other out while working at The Dallas Morning News. Carolyn was a copy editor in “women’s news,” and David was a city-side reporter. Right from the start, it was clear there was something between them. “She paraded across the city room in a black and white Pucci print dress,” David recalled. Carolyn credits a colleague with pointing her in David’s direction. “ ‘Look at the cute new guy on the city desk,’ ” she recalled her friend saying. “I looked and thought he was just so handsome and tall. And he turned out to be so nice and so fun.” After a year of dating, the two made it official and tied the knot just before Christmas 1966.
What they know now: When to speak up and when to shut up
The most challenging thing about marriage: Learning to accept (and even treasure) eccentricities
And the most surprising thing: That 47 years could go by in a flash
What makes their marriage work: Several things keep this marriage kicking: a sense of humor, compromise, enjoying the same things, not expecting perfection, and being able to “get over it.”
Best advice: Know there will be good times and bad times, and try to have more of the former.
Final thoughts: Love conquers all.