Love Notes: Ivan and Maria – Married 30+ Years (part 2)
Do you believe in love at first sight? Can love at first sight endure? Check out part two Ivan and Maria’s story and let me know what you think. Read part one of their story here.
Published on Wednesdays, Love Notes interviews – with people married 20 years or longer – inspire us about what’s possible and capture a realistic picture of what it takes to make love last a lifetime.
Ms. Finks: So, how did you finally propose to Maria? You gave her mother a ring. (laughter) How did you get Maria’s agreement?
Ivan: Well, I figured the mom was on my side.
Ms. Finks: (laughter)
Ivan: We were dating, maybe a couple months. I honestly don’t remember.
Maria: Just a couple of months.
Ivan: So, I went to the mom and I said, “We’re going out today and it’s kind of a special day.”
Maria: It was a Sunday.
Ivan: It was a Sunday. It was a brunch?
Ivan: I want to…I used to work a lot at that time. I would get off work and I would come see her at night and spend a little bit of time and go home. And then Sundays we tried to go out.
I told the mom, “This is going to be a special day, and is it ok if I ask her to get engaged with me.” The mom said yeah. And so, I said I’d need the ring. So, she gave it to me.
We went to Long Beach to a place called The Marketplace. And there was a restaurant called Bobby McGees. And they had Sunday brunch. We went in and we ate brunch, and then we came out. And they had kind of like a park setting. It was a very pretty area with lots of restaurants and shops and trees and places to sit and gardens and whatever.
We came up to this tree that had a little wall around it, a little foot and a half wall type thing around it. We sat there and we talked and I kind of hid the box in the bushes. So, we we’re sitting there talking and I’m like, “What is that?” And she likes “Oh,” and she picks it up. She opens it, and of course it’s a little diamond ring. And, I proposed. I asked her if she would marry me.
Maria: And I said yes. (tearful)
Ms. Finks: Did you suspect?
Maria: Nope. I had no idea. Of course, when I got home with my ring, I walk in. My mom is there, my sisters-in-law, it’s a full house. And I walk in there. I’m so afraid, because I didn’t want anybody to start asking questions. I didn’t know what to do. So, I got my ring and I turned it around. I don’t know why I did that. And I walk in like that.
My mom looked at me, and she just gives me this straight look. She gave me a look like “I know you’re going to be fine.” She was happy for me. Very different from my other sister. When my other sister got engaged, my mom was depressed the whole time. The whole time of the whole process, she was depressed. She didn’t want my sister to marry the guy.
But when I walked in, she looked at me and she gave me a hug. And I’m like, I don’t want to tell in front of everyone. And then I guess my mom told my sisters and my sister-in-law, and they’re like “Ok, what are you hiding?” I’m like “Why? Nothing.” And they’re like “What’s going on? You look different.” They never mentioned the ring. They just said, “You look different. Something in your face.” And I’m like “Ok. I’m engaged.” And I showed my ring. They were very happy for me because they liked him from the very beginning. The moment he walked into the house, like I said, my father said, “You want to eat.” And that was it. They respect him and they like him a lot.
Ms. Finks: How long have you been married now?
Maria: 33 years.
Ms. Finks: 33 years.
Ivan: Yeah, we’ll be together 35 years on the 12th. 35 years.
Ms. Finks: Would you like to tell me about your wedding?
Maria: (laughter) We got married at our home.
Ms. Finks: You got married in your home?
Maria: In my house. Yeah. The first one. He purchased a house about a year before we got married. And that’s where we had a little get together at the house.
Ivan: It was disastrous. Our wedding was disastrous.
Ms. Finks: Was it?
Ivan: There were a lot of very awkward situations.
Ms. Finks: And how long were you engaged?
Ivan: Almost two years. But it feels awkward because…We wanted to set a date. But my mom was living with us because she sold her house and she was going to leave. But in between she was staying with me. Maria and I, we drove to Riverside, we looked for a house together, we shopped for the home, we found the home that we wanted to buy. We made an offer. We made a purchase agreement and we waited for it to be built. We used to cruise down there and watch it as it was being made and so forth.
So, we knew that we were ready and we knew we wanted to but we couldn’t set a date because I had a lot of conflicts at home and I wasn’t going to bring my bride to those types of conflicts. And I couldn’t very well just say to my mom, “Times up, you gotta go.” And so that kept postponing it a few weeks here and a few weeks there. Mom wasn’t ready to go, I guess.
So, I’m like, we’re in a funny situation. I explained it to her parents. We want to set a date, but because of the situation I’m in, I don’t want to do something…And at the same time, I wanted to schedule it so that it wasn’t after the fact. In a strange way, I wanted my mom to see that I was in good hands and that I was going to be ok. But it couldn’t be more than a week that she was still with us. So I was being very, very cautious. So finally, my mom makes a commitment to leave, so then I go home and I said, ‘Ok, we’ve gotta set a time.’
Maria: One week.
Ms. Finks: (laughter)
Maria: Everybody was saying, “You’ve been wearing the engagement ring for almost two years, what’s going on?” And I’m all, “We’re just waiting for the house.” You know, and time goes on and they’re all “What happened?” Finally, a week before…
Ivan: We had a confirmation on the other side, then we went ahead and set our date.
Maria: He came and talked to my dad that week before. You talked to my dad and my mom.
Ivan: Right, and then we all agreed, and so we set a date. I think it was a Tuesday. April 2.
We didn’t have any money. I bought this little house. It didn’t require a lot of money. But whatever money I had went into doing that.
I didn’t want to plan a big wedding because I don’t have any family. At the time, my sister wasn’t around. And all the nephews and stuff. The only one was mom and my two sisters. That was it. At that time, there wasn’t a lot of closeness and things like that anyway.
Maria: So, we got married at the house. The pastor came over and he married us there. It was just a few very close friends.
Ivan: A couple of my buddies, my buddies that I grew up with.
Maria: And a few of my fourteen brothers and sisters.
Ms. Finks: (laughter)
Maria: Just a few because it was a Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. and of course everybody had to work and it wasn’t…my brothers were not very close. In other words, they didn’t really care. But we did it at the house.
Ivan: We maybe could have done something a little bit nicer or something, but the truth is I didn’t have much money.
Maria: We didn’t have the money.
Ivan: I said, “You know what, I’d rather spend whatever little money we have on a honeymoon, than on a wedding.” I don’t have a lot of family, and this and this and that. It’s not something that’s important to me. How do you feel. And she says, “Well, I guess I would like to have a big wedding, but I’d rather have a honeymoon.” So we chose the honeymoon. We bought a week in Hawaii.
Ms. Finks: Aww, nice.
Maria: It was very nice.
Ivan: We did her little wedding thing. She had her dress made. And it was beautiful. And I rented a tux. And we had a priest that used to be their pastor at their church years before. He came to the house and married us in our home. And then we didn’t have a cake.
Her brother was supposed to get a cake, and my mom also offered to get a cake. So, I told her my mom was going to get a cake. She told me her brother wants to get a cake. And then after it was all said and done, there was no cake.
Ms. Finks: (laughter)
Maria: (laughter) Really, I had no one to help me. It wasn’t planned right. But it was ok, because we were going to Hawaii. So, whatever.
Ivan: So, we left and we had a ball over there.
Check back next week for the conclusion of the story.
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I'm Tanya Finks - Dating and Relationship Coach | Gallup-certified Strengths Coach | Sex Educator | Passionate advocate for dating intentionally, building collaborative romantic partnerships, and fostering fulfilling physical intimacy. I also love my partner (madly!), international travel, and anything superhero.