Valentines Day is known as a holiday of love, but how do couples keep the love alive over the years?
“We still love one another as much as we did that first day when we said ‘I do’,” says Naperville resident Sophie Renner.
The room was filled with love, the love that Art and Sophie Renner still have for each other after 64 years of marriage. They met back in high school, and stayed together even when Art was serving in the military.
They shared the secrets to their success with Kam Kniss and Bonnie Beetz who are set to tie the knot this summer.
“I think it takes a lot of love and understanding and patience,” says Sophie.
“And hard work,” added Art.
The two couples hit it off and became fast friends. Art and Sophie offered some tips that Kam and Bonnie took to heart.
“If something comes up that you disagree about, take the time to sit down and iron it out. Don’t get angry and walk out, that’s not going to solve your problems. Try to make the other one see your point of view and give in a little bit too. It can’t be the decision of the one person, it has to be together. And you will get mad at one another every once in awhile and pout, and it’s natural. But you’ll get over it because you’ll see that it’s not the right thing to do,” said Sophie.
“The bottom line is we know we want to be together, we’re happiest when we’re together. So if you’re going to have fights that you can laugh about later, then it’s ok,” said Beetz.
Experts say a level of acceptance is important to a long and healthy marriage.
“We get into marriage and we think we have the perfect person and then we find out that ‘Ok wait, they’re not quite as perfect as I thought they were,’ so we try to change them. Then we find out that doesn’t really work because nobody wants to be changed. So we have to move into a place of how we accept the person that we have married. Both their good and the flaws,” said Nancy Sayer, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor at Samaritan Interfaith Counseling Center.
More than 6 decades ago the Renners said their vows, and now, in sickness and in health is hitting home. Art just had hip surgery and Sophie has been nursing him back to health.
“That first day he was gone, when I walked in that room down the hall and unlocked the door I said to myself, ‘I’m walking into a morgue.’ It was an awful feeling because he has always been there for me, so I’m glad he’s back here with me,” said Sophie.
“There’s a strong bond. There always has been and always will be. You have to make it that way. Be there for one another, thick or thin. Live up to your marriage vows,” said Art.
As Kam and Bonnie prepare to say their vows, they hope they will be just as happy as Art and Sophie.
“They both love each other and that love will take you through, no matter what you come across. And that’s obviously true. They wouldn’t have been able to stick it out for this long if they didn’t love each other and weren’t absolutely crazy about each other,” said Kniss.
“I just hope that we can be like that,” said Beetz.
Art and Sophie Renner will celebrate 65 years on November 24th.
Kam and Bonnie will say ‘I do’ this July. The two couples plan to stay in touch and visit again after the Kniss wedding.
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