From a Sticky Moment to a Lasting Love

Martha and Phil

Forty Five Years Since They Met

Martha and Phil have known each other since Grade 9 having grown up in the same city and each attending Catholic schools. Martha would go to the basketball games at the Boys’ school and watch Phil play and they would see each other at school events and mutual parties. Phil admits to having a crush on Martha basically all through high school even though they never dated. It never occurred to Martha that Phil was interested in her at the time, but when she looks back there were many times when they connected at parties and had wonderful conversations.

There was one incident in Grade 12 which has provided many laughs over the years–at Phil’s expense. At a grad party for the Boys’ and Girls’ schools, Phil asked Martha to dance the last dance–Stairway to Heaven–of course. He was chewing gum and Martha had shoulder length hair at the time. I think we all know where this is going. Somehow one of her hairs got into his mouth and in Phil’s words,

It started bringing in friends. My God, my gum is mingling with her hair! There was nothing to do but fess up. Um, your hair is in my mouth.

Martha apologizes, grabs her hair, pulls it out along with a big wad of gum and announces, “Look everybody! I’ve got gum in my hair!”. And there we have one of Phil’s most embarrassing life moments.

After high school they continued to run into each other as they attended the same university. They even went on a couple of dates. Once they spent the night talking together at a fraternity party even though they were each on blind dates. They went on a few more dates. However, both were reluctant to get involved in a “high school” relationship. So they went their own ways and as fate would have it they met up a year later at university. Phil began skipping his vector algebra class (can’t blame him) so he could spend time with Martha during her spare between classes. Coffee turned into lunch, which turned into an invitation to a Halloween party. Phil, who doesn’t like dressing up, showed up as an undercover cop hiding in a garbage can covered in newspapers. Martha saw Phil as clever, funny, and athletic and thought “I’m in.”

It was the Christmas party that cinched the deal. Phil walked Martha to her car and said, “Well, maybe we should go for a drink over the holidays.” That was the beginning. They were to go for a drink and a movie and never saw a movie because they were too busy enjoying each other’s company. Marriage came five and a half years later.

Martha couldn’t even say the “M” word for at least two years even though she knew Phil was “the one.” Phil was not in a rush to get married and that created some tension. Although he wouldn’t commit to marrying anybody, he told Martha that if he was to get married, she’d be the prime candidate.

After four years of dating, Martha thought for sure he would propose at Christmas as she was getting ready to move out of her parents’ home. There was a big box under the tree at Christmas and Martha was convinced it was full of bricks and a small jewelry box despite warnings to the contrary from Phil. Phil, being the practical guy, had bought Martha a new set of pots and pans–needless to say there were some tears on Christmas morning.

The following Christmas they had some time on their own and were able to get away for a little holiday in Tofino. It wasn’t a grand gesture, just a question while sitting on a couch together in a cozy A-Frame cottage. Phil admitted he didn’t have money for a nice engagement ring which didn’t bother Martha at all. It’s one of the reasons when people get engaged, Martha never asks to see the ring because she still doesn’t have a ring, but it hasn’t changed anything. They got married with gold bands.

One of their strengths, according to Martha is that they’ve always given each other space to pursue different passions. Phil remarked, ” We have different interests and different ways of being. Martha is super organized and super conservative and he’s the opposite–more of a risk taker.”

Having said this, they both agreed that they have similar values. They both have a strong work ethic and they hope that they’ve set good examples for their kids in that regard. When it comes to raising the children it’s been a total team effort. Martha stated, “We were on the same wavelength as to how we wanted to be as parents and how we wanted our kids to turn out.”

Martha and Phil had three children in three and a half years and their middle child was quite sick with asthma as a baby. They were busy!! One of the things they have always done, was to make sure they made time for each other. They didn’t have family where they lived and so they hired babysitters allowing them to run errands together and get away on overnight trips. “We just realized that hiring the young girl down the street was worth it. We looked after our relationship and now we’re at the other end and it feels like old times before we had kids. It’s nice.”

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