WTOC Love Story--John and Kathy Bohannon

John and Kathy still enjoy card table candlelight dinners.
John and Kathy still enjoy card table candlelight dinners.

Any married couple will tell you marriage is not easy. Throw in children and money problems and that makes it all the more difficult. Some couples don't make it through, let alone remain in love, but John and Kathy Bohannon have beat the odds and still find each other irresistible.

They married in 1976, one year after meeting each other at a party through a mutual friend. It was love at first sight.

"Since she knew my friend, I asked him to see if she would go out with me," recalled John. "And as it turns out, when he went to ask her if she would go out with me, she asked him if he thought if I would go out with her."

But as with any young couple--she was only 17, John was 21, just beginning a career in aviation--times were difficult. Money was short raising two children, and they weren't always friendly to each other. However, the little things, like a trip to the grocery store, always managed to bring back those first-date butterfly feelings.

"He went down one aisle and I went down another and I walked down the aisle," recalled Kathy. "And he was there by himself, and he was turned sideways and I could see a little bit of gray coming in his sideburns and temple. And I could see his glasses slide down as he was reading a tuna can, and I thought, 'This is the same man that was 21 years old with long hair that I fell in love with,' and I fell in love with him all over again."

And they continued to remember each other in special ways while raising their children, John and Michelle. They couldn't afford to go to a movie or dinner but that didn't stop them from being creative. John would bring out the old card table and sit it out on the porch of their old home.

"We'd put a tablecloth over it and candlelight," said Kathy. "If we had wine, we'd have a glass of wine, if not, we'd have the kids' Kool-Aid. Whatever we had, and it was date night on the porch. The children would be in the house and they would actually have to knock on the door to ask if they could come outside, because we were on a date."

With the kids grown and even after nearly 30 years of marriage, they still write each other love letters.

"She keeps everything interesting," said John. "She is very creative. It seems like if you start feeling down or whatever, she's right there to pick you up with a smile or a joke or a hug."

And Kathy insists, "He is the most beautiful man. He's just everything. He's kind, sweet, compassionate. He's understanding."

John and Kathy's son John says his parents are his role models. After 27 years of marriage, they still manage to make it work and remain happy.

"I have learned so many relationship skills and life lessons from them," he told us. "When times got hard, they always took time to talk it out and never got angry and left."

So now, the empty nesters are looking forward to dinners out and traveling, but first they want to start life anew by remembering the past with a nice card table candlelight dinner.

"It seems like our generation, our community, it's rare for couples to stay married," said Kathy. "We probably know why that is. It's not easy sometimes, but we've been through a lot and we're just so blessed and it's almost like a testament to say you can stay married and it can work."

The entire family went on a cruise to the Bahamas for their 25th wedding anniversary. They say they felt like the young couple in the movie Titanic while at the bow of the boat enjoying the night air and each other's company.

Reported by: Shannon Royster, sroyster@wtoc.com