It was an unusual meeting . . . you might say a “recycling”! A girlfriend of mine introduced us after Ray and she had gone out a few times and it just wasn’t a fit. But – this friend knew I had just broken up with someone, and being insightful about people, decided that we’d be a good match. (She and I are VERY different!) So . . . we could say that Ray was recycled and I’m the lucky one!
We connected very quickly, were very attracted to each other in many ways. But we broke up 3 times over a 2 year period of dating. We always had a great time, but there were a few issues coming between us. (Older singles understand this, warts and all) We took advantage of some thoughtful counselling with a therapist whom I knew and who also did couples group sessions on specific topics, like communication – so critical!! Another unusual thing, we think . . . we were both very open to learning how to make relationships – and life – work better.
Ray had been attending “Monday Night Solutions” at Mariners Church, Irvine, CA, and had been reading lots of self-improvement books. He figured that since he had had 2 wrecked marriages and was approaching 60, he just might be a part of the problem. Judy had been doing some workshops on self-development, etc., so we were both into this and also strong believers in positive thinking. We had a lot in common as far as beliefs and values, although differences in other ways that worked out well as a couple. And most importantly – neither one of us had the attitude of “I’m just who I am and not going to change.” We’ve seen how this can ruin relationships – and understand that sometimes behaviors can be changed, and that really helps build a better relationship, as well as just being good for self-awareness and improvement. I really admired Ray for his willingness to face his part in the failed marriages and work on personal development.
We ventured on a “Road-Trip” to Seattle together after about 4 months of dating, and this was really an eye-opener, realizing how much fun we have together, how compatible on some levels, and how we needed flexibility in other areas. Ray has always felt that if a couple can get along in a car for 3 weeks covering over 3,000 miles, there is a good chance of compatibility? It was really when we fell in love. It was a 24/7 road trip that took 20+ days – visiting some of my relatives and friends along the way. When we got back, we both knew we were hooked!
But – as I said, we broke up 3 times – once early on, (before the trip) once about a year after meeting, and the last time . . . just 9 weeks before we got engaged! We took classes and continued to meet with our therapist. The “Couples Communication” class turned out to have a big impact on our relationship (we learned to use a special discussion “tool”, which we still use at times!) in addition to other topics like “dealing with controlling personalities”. . . we also talked with her individually to get passed some things that were blocking our relationship – emotional scars from childhood that hadn’t healed, past marriages, me with kids, Ray with none, etc. We were finally able to work through everything to both of our satisfaction, It was really good that we did that BEFORE getting married! We both learned a lot about ourselves and each other, and gained huge respect for each other. By the way, I am Jewish and Ray was raised a Catholic. It works for us!
Our wedding was a private affair in our home, with 12 guests, just family and a couple of close friends, with a small reception, photo attached, and catered by a student chef! We didn’t want the stress of a big wedding and reception on our special day – we just wanted to savor the moment with each other and close friends! We took a honeymoon “Road-Trip” to visit friends in Aspen, Ray’s family in Southern Indiana, and friends in Atlanta. It was full of joy and 6,000 miles of exploration!
A month later, we had a lovely reception in the sculpture gardens of the Richard MacDonald Art Gallery in Laguna Beach (Now the Dawson Cole Fine Art Gallery). We invited 135 friends to celebrate with us (requested no gifts, please) . . . what a lovely gathering with Jazz Combo, great food and of course, lots of champagne! It was perfect, as now we could enjoy the party with no wedding stress . . . a celebration with our friends and family!
And they lived happily ever after!
Ray and Judy’s Wedding Vows –
With this ring,
I give you my promise that From this day forward
you shall never walk alone.
My heart is your shelter
and my arms are your home.
May God bless you always,
as we walk together through all things.
May you feel deeply loved, as indeed you are.
With this ring I give you my heart,
I have no greater gift to give.
I promise I shall do my best
To be your helpmate, your playmate, your workmate,
your lover, your companion, and your best friend.
I feel so honored to call you my husband (wife).
I am so blessed to call you mine.
We are together forever, you will never be alone.