Pat & Gail Atkinson
Years Married: 41
Kids: 6 (This is a second marriage for each of us, so Gail had three kids, and then we had three kids together.)
Occupations: Pat - Sales Engineer; Gail - Home Engineer ;)
Hobbies/Interests: Just about anything together. We enjoy being together. We work in the yard. Gail helps Pat with his shows (Stars Alive Music Legends), she’ll come and run the sound, or be there for support. We love to travel, and visit friends and grandchildren.
Favorite flavor of ice cream: Gail - All of them, especially if it has nuts or fruit; Pat - Butter Pecan
Q. What are some of the little things you do for each other to express love and appreciation?
P: If I’m doing something, whether it is cutting a steak in half...
G: We halve everything now!
P: If there is a larger side or a smaller side, I’ll always give the larger side to her.
G: Then I always complain, “I want the smaller side, please!”
P: And then if there is a last piece of cake or something, I’ll save that for her. I came to find out recently that she was doing the same thing for me!
G: He opens the car door for me, no matter where we are. He takes my arm when we’re walking, except he walks too fast.
P: So that’s why you want to hold hands all the time, so you can slow me down!
G: Now that we are empty nesters, Pat gets up quietly in the morning and lets me sleep. I was having health issues awhile back, and he would let me sleep. He fixes his own breakfast in the morning now, which makes me feel guilty, but it’s nice that he does it. In fact, he does a better job than I do. In fact, he did the laundry, the ironing, the cooking, all of it, at that point when my health wasn’t great.
Q. Do you have any rituals or routines that are unique to your marriage?
P: When we have a blessing on the food for each meal, as a matter of fact, any time we say a prayer, we always lean over and give each other a kiss, right after the prayer.
G: Our kids will say, “There they go again.”
Q. What wisdom can you share about how to handle money in marriage?
P: A suggestion I would make, that we have always struggled with, is that you should both be involved with regard to the money, instead of relying on one or the other to manage things. It’s harder to keep track of where you are at when only one person knows where you are at. Talk a lot.
Q. How have you grown closer together through conflicts that have come up?
P: No matter how hard the conflict is, it’s easier to face it with somebody else then it is by yourself. We’ve had some troubles in our life, some medical, some financial, etc. When we first got married, I tended to keep things in, I probably still do to a certain extent. I tend to go off the deep end temporarily, while Gail stays very positive. She’ll reel me back up the side of the cliff.
G: He’s being very kind. In the beginning of our marriage I would say, “What’s the matter? Just talk to me!” And now I just say, “He’ll get over it.” And then I let him have his space until he feels ready to talk about things.
P: Then we’ll kind of start talking about how to best address or resolve the problem and what our options are. There is usually some amount of time in there, too, things take time to resolve.
Q. How do you show affection throughout the day?
P: We’re very demonstrative, very physical. It used to embarrass our kids a lot.
G: Now, they are the same way with their spouses!
P: If she is at the counter or sink, I’ll come up behind her and put my arms behind her and nuzzle her neck.
G: Or I’ll go by and grab his butt.
P: We’ll usually go back to the bedroom at 9pm, and we’ll watch a show together. When we do, she’ll usually grab my hand and we’ll hold hands during the movie.
Q. How has it blessed your kids to see you demonstrate love and affection?
G: I think it has taught them that that is part of marriage! And I think they also saw how respectful Pat was with me, our boys especially watched that. Pat treats me so well, and it makes me feel good! Nothing even has to be said. His gentle ways make me feel warm, comforted, and loved. I like him to touch me, and I think he likes me to touch him too.
Q. What are your top three tips for a healthy sexual relationship as husband and wife?
G: You are never too old!
P: We have different styles...I prefer things spontaneous and Gail prefers things more scheduled.
G: We work around that.
P: We meet somewhere in between.
G: We try to please one another. It’s not so much what makes me feel better, but what I can do to make him feel better.
P: I think one thing that is important too, because we’ve had some medical problems over the years, is that we still haven’t let the intimate part of our life suffer that much. You just have to work within those limitations and challenges. When you know each other as long as we have, you really do become one person. She finishes what I say, and vice versa, and that kind of works in the bedroom, too.
Q. What things do you two do to nurture and strengthen your friendship?
P: We try doing things together, that maybe either one of us would not do on our own. She likes to work in the yard a lot, and that is probably not my first choice, but we like to do it together. Also, one thing that she does for me, when I’m rehearsing or doing a show, she will come and support me, and I know there are times when she isn’t really feeling up to it, but she doesn’t tell me. She just supports me.
G: That’s part of it. There are things that he really likes to do that I don’t love, but I’m with him, and it’s good to be together. He also supports me if I want to get together with my girl friends, which is something I love. You give and take. You have to learn to do that, and that took us awhile to learn. He also supported me when I was involved in some leadership positions in our county.
P: Sometimes I would bring her pizza while she was working late during elections.
P: Another thing is that she never liked seafood, and I love it, so over time she found some types of seafood that she can eat.
P: We generally like the same kinds of music.
G: I like all kinds of music, and I love big orchestras. He’s not quite into that, he’s more into rock n’ roll and country. I also love talk radio. I’m addicted. He would rather have music on. Sometimes we’ll be driving and I’ll ask, “Can I turn it on to Hugh Hewitt?” and he’ll say, “Yup. We can listen to Hugh.” And sometimes he’ll say, “Can I listen to some music?” and I’ll say, “Yup, you can turn some music on.” And then we sing along together. You learn over the years, it’s a growing thing all along. You never quit growing. You never quit learning new things about each other.
Q. What does date night look like for you two? What works?
P: Generally it is a lot calmer now than it used to be. We’ll go to dinner and a show, or that kind of thing.
G: It is very spontaneous. One of us will say, “How about we go to a movie, or go to dinner?” And then the other will ask, “Where do you want to go?” And the other will respond, “I don’t know, where do you want to go?” Until one of us gives in and suggests a place!
P: Luckily we have very similar tastes in food. Sometimes we’ll just go out and do things - like go to the store and get things.
G: On Saturdays, if he needs to go to Home Depot, he’ll want me to come with him instead of just going by himself. We are always doing things together.
Q. What kinds of things do you two do to celebrate holidays and special occasions?
P: I try to remember all the dates that are important, whether that is Mother’s Day or birthdays or our anniversary. Also, one of the things that I have always tried to do during the year is to pay attention! Gail may see something on TV or in a paper or magazine and say, “Oh, wow, I would really like one of those.” And I won’t say anything about it, but I file it away in my memory. Then, when an occasion comes up, I’ll go get something I know she wants.
G: He used to buy my clothes! He would pick out things that really looked good on me! Oh, and we always buy each other two cards - a funny card and a real serious card. For all occasions. And we do that with our kids, as well. One year for Christmas, there was a note for me on the tree, and he had set up a big treasure hunt, and he had hidden one little gift for me in the basement. We didn’t have a lot of money at the time and we had decided to spend the money on the kids that Christmas, but he surprised me. That was really special.
Q. You are still married. What is your secret to a happy marriage?
P: Be committed. That is really what you have to be. There will be times when you’ll say, “I’m outta here!” But you have to say, “Well, I guess not.”
G: Yup. And just realize that there’s not going to be anything better than what you already have. You’re going to fight, you’re going to have your differences, but you just stick it out.
P: Never give up.
7/24/2015 06:56:15 am
They really are a great couple. My sister and brother in law are two of my very favorite people.
Aaron & April
7/24/2015 08:25:42 am
Thanks, Sandy! They are great!
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