Shortly after saying their vows 60 years ago, White Rock’s Jack and Arleen Mar were met with the first test of their marriage.
The couple met at their place of work, Woodward’s Department in Calgary, however, Woodward’s had a policy that prohibited married couples from working for the company.
Jack, now 84, and Arleen, 82, had a decision to make.
“At that point it was OK, who is going to quit? One of us has to quit,” Jack told Peace Arch News this week. “That was the rule, it wasn’t arguable or negotiable or something you could dispute. That’s just the way it was.”
Arleen decided she would quit, as Jack’s career was trending upwards and they were considering having a baby.
The Woodward’s dilemma was one of many anecdotes the couple shared with PAN shortly after they celebrated their diamond anniversary.
Due to COVID-19, they opted for a smaller get-together with friends at Hodgson Park, an event they both spoke fondly of.
“Blessed to say that we’ve been together for 60 years and only one marriage,” Jack said. “It’s not like I changed hats a number of times or anything, so it’s rather unusual.”
However, over the course of their married lives, there was at least one incident of separation while they were living in Toronto.
“I got lost in the subway,” Arleen said. “He got in and I didn’t – scared stiff. He said, ‘I knew you’d find your way home.’”
The couple kindled their relationship through group activities hosted by Woodward’s, such as bowling and horseback riding. Arleen said she was attracted to Jack because he liked to have fun.
“He also had a car. The girls would pile in his car and later on he got a red convertible,” Arleen said.
Jack, however, didn’t mince words when asked what first caught his eye.
“I was enamoured by her legs,” Jack said. “She was with her girlfriends in her shorts and I was with a couple guys and we introduced each other and I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
“It sounds silly that it was something mundane as that, but that’s what attracted me. Mind you, after that I got to know her very well.”
Jack said it was a long courtship because there was competition.
When asked what’s the secret to a long, healthy marriage, Arleen said they have a lot in common in terms of activities and interests, which has strengthened their bond.
“I got a little more mushy,” Jack said. “We get along really well, even though we fight just as much as other couples, but we enjoy the same things. We enjoy the various types of holidays, whether it’s camping or going to Hawaii or whatever.”
Jack also offered another piece of “sound advice” to newlyweds.
“You better listen to your wife.”