homepage logo

Islanders share secrets of healthy relationships

By Staff | Feb 11, 2015

Love comes in every flavor. Some of us pass ourselves around like a dollar bill, others seem made for one another.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, many couples will evaluate their stories, count their blessings, others perhaps not.

Considering the odds and human nature, it’s a difficult endeavor. Numbers don’t lie. The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41 percent, nearly 75 percent for a third go-round. The America divorce rate is about half way down the list of top 10, but nothing like Mongolia, for example, with less than 1 percent per 1,000 divorcing. Russia has the highest divorce rate at five per 1,000.

But some overcome the odds. Bob and Jeanne Lindman will soon celebrate 60 years together. The Sanibel couple met at an Illinois junior high square dance, married at age 18 in August 1958. Both had worked through high school, stocking shelves, lifeguarding, farm work, pouring cement. They quickly started a business together, had four kids by age 26. He ran the business, she managed the homefront, kept the books.

Bob Lindman said the couple’s abiding faith strengthened and carried them through the years. Ultimately, though, it was the earthly concepts that bonded them, he said: A circle of good friends, strong relationships with their children and grandkids, similar interests, accepting weaknesses, and honoring one another with complete trust.

“We all have shortcomings,” Bob Lindman said. “The real secret is never going to bed without saying your sorry, to share and talk. And realizing that we don’t have all the answers. You gain wisdom from the wisdom of others.”

Sue and Mick Denham socialized with one another as married couples, circling back a couple of decades later as single adults. They married in 1992, ultimately settling in Sanibel. Mick Denham is central in island politics and environmental issues, Sue Denham is involved in Zonta, Community Housing, social issues.

Englanders, the pair met in Canada in the 1960s. Circumstances took each in different directions, dovetailing in east Florida in 1990.

“And the rest, as they say, is history,” Sue Denham said. “It really was a tide of Fate. I had almost given up on men, just thought I’d focus on my kids. My advice is don’t try too hard. Just be. And never give up on anything.

“A friend once shared that (we) should maintain a sense of curiosity. That stayed with me.”