Best mates: Couple knows the secret for a happy marriage

By Corey Pride / cpride@losbanosenterprise.comFebruary 7, 2013 

This was back in the 1950s in rural Oregon. Glenn was making sure the teens traveled safely on their first date. He knew immediately that Marilyn was not having a good time and decided he could do better.

"The guy I was on a date with was a dud," Marilyn recounted, "so he (Glenn) asked me if I wanted to go out, and I said yes."

The Strohmeyers went to the drive-in, where they enjoyed a relatively new invention, soft-serve ice cream. For the next four years, Glenn and Marilyn continued to see each other.

In 1956, Glenn Strohmeyer went into the Navy and was stationed in Guam. He told his bride-to-be to pay attention to her studies while he was gone.

"I wanted to get married before he left and he said no. 'You get your education and when I get out, you'll be done.' Well, I was done with my education long before that," Marilyn recalled.

With her high school diploma in hand, Marilyn married her beau during the third year of his four-year stint in the military. In April, the couple will celebrate their 54th wedding anniversary.

Their relationship has endured more than a half century in a time when some celebrity marriages end within 72 days and stepfamilies are commonplace.

The couple has spent parts of their marriage living in each state on the west coast, working mostly agriculture-related jobs.

Glenn eventually became involved in the laundromat business, which led to a side gig.

"With the laundry mat, I'd get to talking to people, 'I need something fixed in my house.' I became a handyman," he said.

Between Glenn's long hours at his jobs and Marilyn working and raising two daughters, the couple didn't have much time together.

"That way, we didn't argue," Glenn joked.

That's not true, Marilyn retorted. She said they do argue, but the secret is to never go to bed angry.

"Try to solve the problems instead of running to divorce court. So many marriages, they end them and say, 'Oh golly, what did I do wrong?' "

Glenn believes couples should support each other more than they do nowadays. He said he and his wife have always been supportive of each other, even when it resulted in them having to spend time apart.

When the children left home, the Strohmeyers decided to travel.

"We've been in every state in the Union," Glenn said. They've also visited most of Canada.

Today, Marilyn's health is not what it used to be. That's OK, she said, because she "couldn't ask for a better caregiver" than Glenn. She said she fell in love with Glenn more the 50 years ago because he's a caring person.

Glenn Strohmeyer said he fell in love with his wife because they were compatible.

"She was just a good match," he said. "She understood me and I understood her."

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