40 Years of Love
In a culture and generation that developed an “everything is disposable and easily replaced” attitude, Chuck and Lois bucked the trend and poured much blood, sweat, and tears into carefully tending and maintaining their love and they are reaping the rewards of all that hard work – as of last month they are celebrating 40 years of love. This is the story of how that love began 40 years ago…
What first attracted you to each other?
LOIS: He was cute. I was 23 and single. I could date anybody I wanted. And I wanted Chuck. He was sweet, and I knew his family and upbringing was a good one – though he definitely turned out to be more than I expected. I liked the way he was with his younger siblings, he was playful and kind and looked out for their best interests.
CHUCK: She was very beautiful and exciting. She represented all the freedom in that period of change and revolution I was experiencing after returning from Vietnam. She was fierce and loyal and independent – she didn’t just expect respect and to be treated equally, she demanded it. Plus, I thought we looked good together. And she liked to ride my motorcycle.
How did you start dating?
LOIS: Our parents lived next door to each other and we had met through family activities – ball in the park, wine on Sunday evenings. But he didn’t pay any attention to me for about the first six months we knew each other. He did have a girlfriend so I suppose that was why, and I wasn’t going to push myself on him – he had to work out that I was the better choice by himself. Though I wasn’t above a few female ploys here and there…like asking him to come over and open a bottle of wine for me. Then, while I was staying with my Mother for a few weeks after a car accident, Chuck’s little sister and my little sister colluded and convinced him to take me for a ride on his motorcycle. So he did, on February 15th of 1973 – I remember it well. I was in my walking cast and I put my hands in his jacket pocket because I wasn’t wearing gloves and I held on….for 40 years now.
So how did marriage happen?
CHUCK: She took a little convincing to marry me. She was living on her own and very independent and wasn’t looking to settle down, so she was reluctant to give that freedom up. I
LOIS: I wasn’t looking to settle down, but when Chuck decides he wants something he gets very focused and pours all of his energy into getting it. And that’s what he did when he decided he wanted me. He was a force to be reckoned with in his pursuit of me. He gave me tons of attention and who doesn’t love attention?think she was unsure of what I was bringing to the table. Which was a valid concern, I used to brag that I could get everything I owned on the back of my motorcycle.
What was your wedding like?
LOIS: Our wedding was on August 4th, 1973, in Bailey, Colorado. It was a stormy day so our plans to be married outside had to be changed, which turned out to be a very good decision since lightening struck the lodge during our ceremony. We had two priests, both family friends of the Groshongs, and the biggest snafu was when my Mother arrived without my wedding dress. Chuck was sent racing down the mountain on his motorcycle to get it, and I often wonder what other drivers must have thought of this motorcycle speeding past them with a wedding dress on the back of it.
While we were married on the 4th, our marriage certificate was not officially registered until August 14th, 1973 because of an error with the required blood work. So technically we have two anniversaries – should I have been getting two gifts all these years?
How has being married to each other for 40 years changed you?
LOIS: Chuck has taught me how to be very trusting, and how to be vulnerable. I could be completely vulnerable with him and he meets that vulnerability with reassuring comfort. I don’t know if I would have found that with anybody else and learned how to be okay with being vulnerable.
CHUCK: Lois taught me how to have a greater appreciation for all people and more of life because she explores more of life, without her I probably would have kept myself more in a bubble. I learned how to judge people more on an individual basis instead of general ideas and stereotypes – she’s helped me question the status quo.
LOIS: I am very lucky to have been able to spend 40 years with someone I believe so fully in and who I share so many values with that we can work together towards.
CHUCK: I was really a diamond in the rough when we met and I’m very fortunate that she decided to embrace that and work on polishing me up – and stuck with it when it took so long.