Posted December 21, 2016 - by Lori Hadacek Chaplin
Rob felt like the luckiest groom in the world because his 10-year-old grandson, Andrew, was his best man. On October 1, 2011, Rob married Chris, who he met on CatholicMatch (read how they met) six months prior, in a ceremony at St. Albert's in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Every Scottish lad needs this at his wedding
Their matrimonial highlights include Rob’s grandson and a musical surprise. Since Rob has a Scottish heritage, Chris wanted to incorporate bagpipes into their wedding. She and her daughter kept their bagpipe plans a secret, so that they could surprise Rob.
“We were processing out of the church, and just as we reached the church doors, my daughter gives the signal, and Rob hears the bagpipe begin to play. ‘Oh, my the look on my husband's face....’”
Astonished, Rob said, “Is that what I think it is?"
“That was truly a magical moment!” Chris shares. “There were laughter and tears at the same time.”
The best wedding toast ever!
Another memorable moment of their wedding day was when Rob’s grandson gave the best man speech at the reception.
“I spent lots of time with him, and I always made him promise that he'd take care of me when I was old and doddering. As he was giving his best man speech at the reception he stated,
‘Grandpa, you always made me promise to take care of you when you got old. I've done that so far and kept my promise but now that you're married, I'm done.’
Then he turned to Chris and declared, ‘Grandma Chris, he's all yours!’ There were laughter and tears again...’”
On soulmates and bonding
For Chris, 61, the biggest joy of being married is having a soulmate to share her life. “We're best friends as well as marriage partners,” she says.
Rob, 65, adds that he loves the sharing and caring that he receives from Chris.
He also notes that at any stage of marriage, a routine can set in and diminish the sparkle. “I keep the sparkle by telling my princess how much I love her. Looking at her and realizing what a treasure I've received, holding her, helping her, living my life as our life, and loving everything about her—even the things I don't really like. These little things—along with sharing our faith together—keep us bonded.”
The butterfly and the slug
Over the past five years, Chris and Rob say that one of the things that they have learned to appreciate is each other’s different personalities, outlooks, and strengths. Rob explains, “The CatholicMatch profile had Chris as the "butterfly" and me as the "slug." She is free, adventuresome, spontaneous, and all of that. On the other hand, I am methodical, conservative, and structured—pretty much a stick in the mud. Chris lets things roll off her back, and I am more inclined to have all the pieces in place before we jump.”
Consequently, they have learned to bow to the other person’s strengths. “For example, Chris is a nurse, so she mainly takes care of the lifestyle management—diet, exercise, activity, and extracurricular—of our lives. I'm the financial manager [Rob’s a retired banker and financial consultant]. I'm not saying you can't overlap, but it makes some sense to let the pro do what they are good at.”
I knew what went wrong in my first marriage...
Chris is a widow, and Rob’s former marriage was annulled, so they look at their marriage and realize how incredibly lucky they are to have a second chance. They both went into this marriage with much more forethought due to their prior difficult marriages.
“I know some of the issues that led to the breakdown of my first marriage,” says Rob. “So I'm trying to lessen my faults and to communicate more quickly when we hit bumps in the road. Letting a problem fester is the worst tactic I can imagine.”
Chris says they have learned to pick their battles. Rob had two daughters, and Chris had two daughters and a son from her first marriage, so one of the hardest things is integrating the extended families.
“When it comes time to plan anything, it can get pretty chaotic because everybody has a different idea of when and where and how things should be done. How have we dealt with this? I'll let you know when we figure it out.”
Don't slam any doors!
Rob, who moved to New Mexico for Chris, recommends that members be honest with themselves about relocating. “You have to take a hard look at what you can do and what you're willing to do. If you can't relocate, you best communicate that in the beginning. It doesn't mean a long distance relationship won't work, but it does mean you'll need the other person to do the moving. You want this out in the open before you get too involved. Be fair to yourself and be fair to those you look to meet. Don't slam any doors with ‘never’ or ‘always’ but be realistic.”
Chris agrees but adds, “I think the best advice is 'don't listen to what works for other people; do what works for you.' Some people move fast; some don't. Some people need to meet right away, and some people are more cautious. Others say long distance relationships are doomed—I beg to differ. If you stay true to yourself, you will meet someone who is on the same page. And trust your gut instinct, if something seems off, back away.”