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Love has many faces

Area couples — young and old — reflect on relationships

Courtesy photo Sue and Carl Pohl, of Carney, sit surrounded by their 10 children during their wedding anniversary celebration in August 2019. The two celebrated 56 years of marriage with their 10 kids, and some of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Back row, from left to right, are: David Pohl, Carl Pohl, Cheryl Kell, Christy Kirchner, Jaime Pohl, and Sandy Berg. Middle row, from left to right, are: Billie Johnson, Suzanne Pohl, Bobbie Harris and Tammy Savage. Bottom row, from left to right, are: Sue and Carl Pohl.

ESCANABA — Despite the cold weather of February in the Upper Peninsula, today is full of warmth as love is celebrated on Valentine’s Day.

Area couples — from those who have celebrated well over 50 years of marriage to the recently engaged — reflected on love, their love stories and how to make love last.

Carl and Sue Pohl, of Carney, celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary surrounded by family this summer. They were married on Aug. 31, 1963, in Pickney, Mich.

According to Sue, the way she and Carl met is a crazy story.

She explained Carl’s brother Mel, who was dating her sister, wanted her and Carl to date so they could all double date. However, Sue said she wasn’t fond of Carl at first because during one of the times she had met him, he had told her to shut up and insinuated all she does is talk.

“Then one day he drove by and I told a girlfriend, ‘that’s the man I’m going to marry,'” Sue said.

Carl’s proposal to Sue started as a joke to rile Sue up.

Sue said Carl had pulled up in front of the church and said let’s get married. Sue informed him he had to ask her parents for permission first. Reflecting back on it, Sue said she didn’t realize at the time you needed a wedding license to get married, so she took him as serious.

He became serious though and told her he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. She said she felt the same way.

“He’s always been my best friend,” Sue said.

Over the years, Sue and Carl had 10 kids and also welcomed 24 grandkids and 15 great-grandkids.

When it comes to love and making it last year after year, Sue said there will be disagreements but finding common ground and never going to bed angry is important.

“It helps having them as a best friend,” she said. “You know what they’re thinking, you finish each other’s sentences. I can’t imagine being alive without him.”

Sue added Carl had always asked her from day one, ‘How much do you love me?’

She said she would always tell him, ‘More than enough,’ and he would always smile.

“He’d always ask to see if I’d say the same thing,” she said. “Day after day, year after year. Just to see if I’d say it.”

Don and Gwen Gearhart, of Hermansville, will be celebrating 65 years of marriage in July. The two wed on July 16, 1955.

“We dated two and a half years before we got married,” Don said.

Don and Gwen, who are originally from downstate, met at a square dance.

Don explained his brother, a friend and himself went to a square dance but there were hardly any girls there to dance with, so his friend suggested they go and see if Gwen was interested in attending the event.

“Surprisingly, her mother allowed her to go to the square dance,” Don said.

The two went and danced together that night.

“We went together ever after,” Don said.

Gwen added they fell in love with the Upper Peninsula during their honeymoon.

“We spent our honeymoon in the Upper Peninsula,” she said. “We came over in a ferry, they didn’t have a bridge then. They were working on it.”

Through many years of marriage, Don and Gwen’s family has grown. Don and Gwen have four boys, nine grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.

To Don and Gwen, love means telling each other they love each other several times a day.

“And always before we go to sleep at night,” Gwen said.

According to Don and Gwen, making love last through life’s ups and downs relies heavily on always looking for the ups and keeping their faith.

“We pray together and go to church together,” Gwen said.

Richard and Marlene Arduin, of Hermansville, celebrated 48 years of marriage Wednesday. They were married on Feb. 12, 1972.

Although the couple has been married for 48 years, they have been together for 51 — ever since Marlene finally allowed Richard to drive her home from a dance at the old Legion Hall in Spalding.

Marlene explained every Friday night there were dances, and that’s where the two met and started talking.

“It grew into soul mates,” Marlene said. “We were high school sweethearts, one thing led to another and we got married.”

The two agreed that they knew they had found the one almost right away.

“The night you brought me home, I think,” Marlene said to Richard while reminiscing.

Through the years, the couple raised two boys and one girl and now have one grandchild that they adore.

“We’ve always said to one another that if everybody had just a third of what we had, as far as love in our marriage, they’d be blessed because most people don’t ever find what we found in marriage,” Marlene said.

According to the Arduins, the secret to a long marriage is to first be best friends, share interests in life, have fun together and share faith.

Richard added life comes with many ups and downs, but having faith and going to church together is important because it has carried them through a lot.

Brad and Lexi Hall, of Schaffer, exchanged their vows on May 18, 2019.

The two may have met in high school, but the friendship didn’t turn into a relationship until years down the road.

“(Our relationship) grew stronger as our friendship grew into a relationship, but it has grown the most since we got married in the last few months. We have been able to work great as a team and tackle some major hurdles,” Lexi said.

According to Lexi and Brad, love is hard work but it is a fun journey.

“We can’t wait for the next big thing God has in store for us,” Lexi said.

To continue to build a strong relationship, Lexi said Brad and herself work on their relationship daily and although they’re married, they try and make a habit of going on dates.

Being there for each-other is another point the Halls made.

“I’ve been so thankful for Brad’s patience and support while I build my businesses with horses,” Lexi said. “He keeps my mental health strong when the tough times roll around. And his support at home while on the road traveling keeps me focused — knowing he has it all under control.”

Katie Stewart and Curtis Levesque, of Escanaba, are getting married next week, on Friday, Feb. 21.

According to Stewart, she and Levesque went to school together from junior high to senior year, but it wasn’t until senior year that they became friends and they didn’t begin dating until a couple years later.

“Over the past seven years we’ve grown up a lot,” she said. “Your 20 to 27 years are major growing points in your young adult life and we’ve done them all together. We bought our first car, our first house, and just last year had our son. Now we’re getting married.”

Stewart and Levesque said love to them was about being there for your partner until the end, so that no matter what you could count on each other.

Life can be difficult, but having the support of your partner allows the relationship to grow stronger.

“I’m always thankful for my partner, every day,” Stewart said.

She explained a time within their relationship she really felt thankful for having her partner by her side was when they had lost their first baby together.

“A lot of the time loss like that can tear people apart,” she said. “But I feel like it was a boost to our love and our growth together, we made it out stronger than ever.”

Jordyn Linder and David Whitens, of Powers, became engaged on Oct. 26, 2019. The couple is planning for a 2021 wedding.

From meeting in 2015 while out with friends, the relationship has grown over the years with the two welcoming their first child together and now, expecting their second child together quite soon.

Linder said they both agreed love to them was being there for each other and to agree to disagree sometimes.

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