14 Days of Love: Day 8: Interview: Sal & Steve.

I first met my dear friend Sal, another Aussie, at the dinner she and her new husband had organized on their return to Connecticut from Las Vegas, where they had just married, 10 years ago.  I was dating er….’friends’…with an Australian tennis pro at the time and this was his group.  The 15+ group were mostly from other countries and so there was an instant connection between us all.  Though, I barely got to speaking with Sal besides a ‘nice to meet you, Congratulations, what part of Australia are you from?’ type encounter.

Over the course of a year or two my Australian guy friend turned into a fully fledged boyfriend and I would run into Sal a lot more often.  It was generally at tennis gatherings and in the company of the other ‘tennis wives/girlfriends’.  Truth be told, I wasn’t so keen on being considered a ‘tennis girlfriend’ and as a result I resisted being part of that sect of women, so I didn’t engage too much outside of the events.  Basically, I pigeon holed Sal into that group and kept our conversations light….read: I totally judged her.  Don’t get me wrong, they were all nice women and very kind and genuine but also sensible and seemingly put together.  I, on the other hand, showed up in weird, thrown together outfits and the nights usually ended with me drunk and having to be carried home by my boyfriend.  Needless to say, my life felt scrappy, comparatively.

Skip to two years after that post wedding dinner and I was at one of the many parties that were thrown.  I found myself, with glass in hand, in the ‘ladies’ section ( opposite to the ‘man’s corner, which was closer to the alcohol)  standing next to Sal.  The movie Rabbit Proof Fence had just been released and we had both seen it.  We spent hours talking about the topic of the stolen generation and how impressed we were with the movie and so, in a sense, we bonded over our mutual disgust of the injustices against the Aboriginal community in Australia (we still bond over the mutual disgust of social injustices everywhere).  Sal is a child of social activists and when other parents were taking their kids to the beach, hers were taking her to protests…I was jealous.  I had always wanted that kind of intelligent, alternative upbringing.  She had grit, and I felt like I had ‘met the one!’…..(a best friend, I mean)

To seal the deal of our mutual affections, we went out for drinks a few weeks later.  We got ‘legless’ as they would say in Australia……we closed down the bar drinking shots of tequila and then held each other up to walk home, only to finish the wine she had in her apartment.  Turns out she loved to get pretty scrappy too!  Then, a week later, she found out she was 6 weeks pregnant!

I have been close to Sal ever since, so close that I have been at the birth of her and Steve’s 3 children  (well, only the 1st actually – the other two didn’t wait for me to arrive.)  She is a champion woman.   Birthing her children naturally, and making alternative choices in their health and education.   She has packed up a her child last-minute and driven to my place (3 hours away) after I called and told her my boyfriend and I broke up.  She has sat up with me till all hours of the night drinking copious amounts of wine knowing that a child will call her name within hours.  She is the type of woman you can sit at the kitchen counter with, have a cup of tea, talk about penises and vagina’s and the next thing you know a freshly baked scone will show up in front of you.  Clearly, I love this girl!

Steve is a rock.  He is committed to his family and his craft and simply adores his wife.  A few times I have received a phone call from him asking if I can call Sal because she was having a bad day(gestures!).  One time, while he was away on business, and Sal was home with the 3 children, she had come down with a terrible flu.  I was heading up to Massachusetts (where they live) the following day but he called me asking me to go up a day earlier if possible and would take care of anything I needed (that wasn’t necessary of course.)  Steve cares.  He is a good person and solid in his values and beliefs, and commitment to all the goodness in his life.

It’s absolutely no surprise to me that these two are in a solid and real marriage.  There is that line in the last poem I submitted  where she says “you have to mix yourself with the strange beauty of someone else wake each morning for 72,000 mornings in a row so breathed and bound and tangled that you can hardly sort out your arms and legs”

I think of those two in that line and how perfectly they have mastered that art – (although, they often more than their own arms and legs tangled in bed with them).  Their life isn’t flashy but it’s comfortable.  Their family dynamic is as a strong unit and it is very clear that this isn’t something that just ‘happened.’  I’ve seen them fight, I’ve seen them get frustrated with each other but I’ve also seen how they pull together and that nothing is more important that the strength of the family.  A testament to great Love.  Another testament to their love and commitment is the relationship and connection their 3 children have with each other. It is warm and endearing and caring….and they fight too, but they understand what it means to be together and look after each other.  It’s very heart-warming.

These two are sexy, in the most real way.  I wanted to get a few questions answered about how they endure life in a marriage and how they feel about love.  Sal prefaced her responses with a note “Hey honey, I hope my reply wasn’t too brief and not as flowery as could have been !! I am brain-dead after 4 sleepless nights and sick kids…. Steve is set blackberry in hand to reply, can you send his questions”

Sal is Australian and stay at home mum who home schools her children.  She also holds a masters in teaching and is studying for her 2nd masters degree in a long distance learning program.  Steve is South African and is a tennis pro with Bosse Sports, working with elite junior tennis players.  He also played on the professional tennis circuit for a number of years.  They both live with their 3 children Luca, Ty & Laila in Massachusetts.

Sal:

Where, when & How did you and Steve meet?

Steve and I first met on a kibbutz (Horshim) in Israel

What was your first thought when meeting him?

I turned to my girlfriend and told her that I just met the man I am going to marry

Do you remember the first thing he said to you?

Hi howzit?

How long after you met did you marry? 

Just over 2 years. We moved in together within a few days of meeting and married 3 years later.

Did you always want to be married?  Were you hoping to meet your life partner at that time, or was it a case of meeting Steve and knowing that you had met your life partner?

I was def. not looking for my ‘life partner’ at the time, until I met him.

What was your first year like?

We travelled a lot and lived in 4 different countries in the first year!

What has been the most challenging thing in your marriage (without having to get too personal of course)?

Having children

What has been the most rewarding?

Having children

What is your and Steve’s dynamic?  Meaning, how do you factor in each other’s different interests and opinions?  How do you distribute the practicalities of life?  

We have always been good partners  and really good at reading each other. We share most daily stuff almost evenly.

Do you find it difficult to keep the romance?  How important do you think romance is for a stable relationship?  How do you bring it in?

Steve is much more the creative romantic than I. At this stage it is difficult to be as romantic as we would like with life stuff.

Often times you hear stories of couples being so in love with each other but then the relationship doesn’t work out.  It’s as though the attraction isn’t the problem but somehow they just can’t seem to get around the day to dayness of life.  What attitudes do think this speaks too?  Where do you think people could shift their belief?

Meet the right person and the dayness of life melts into the partnership.

You didn’t actually plan for kids, and now you have 3.  Besides the obvious (lifestyle changes etc) how has having kids changed you personally?

In our case it has taken away a lot of our personal freedoms as individuals and as a couple. We don’t have a community or family around so it is pretty much us as a family unit.

Do you think it is has changed Steve personally?

It has bought out a patient and kind side of him that only fatherhood could have. He is an amazing dad.

Steve is also a very hands on dad – yet he tends to let you take the lead when it comes to family traditions and the day to dayness of raising a family – and yet he still manages to maintain the father of the house standing. This is very impressive as it seems like there is such a balance, with the both of you taking responsibilities.  Do you ever get resentful that he gets to take off each day and head out to work?  Does he ever get resentful that you get to stay home with the kids?

Absolutely, I think we would trade places in a heartbeat depending on the day. I don’t doubt that he could handle the stay home dad.

What do you think one of the most important qualities/personality traits is in a strong relationship?

Trust first and foremost, without trust nothing else can come.

What are some of the most romantic things Steve has done for you?

He does them so frequently, brings home a bottle of wine if I have had a bad day, the other night he ran me a hot bath with oils and candles. He is really great at sending naughty and funny texts to brightens day. Mostly it is the little things that make the biggest difference

Lastly, any advice for young couples out there? 

You shouldn’t have to try so hard, you need to work hard at a relationship but I it starts to feel like hard work, it is not worth it.

Sal & I in her bed 2 hours after baby Laila was born at home

steve holding sal, dancing. 2 months ago

Luca holding his newborn baby brother, Ty

Luca & Ty 4 years on

Luca & Ty with their newborn baby sister, Laila

The 3 kids 2 years on

The entire family last month

STEVE:

Where, when & How did you and Sal meet?

Israel, Kibbutz Horshim market. March 17 1999, through mutual friends.

What was your first thought when meeting her?
I thought she was amazing, I had never met a beautiful tall blonde australian before. I did think her friend was cute as well 🙂

Do you remember the first thing she said to you?
I think it was just “Hi” but it was very sexy in her accent.

How long after you met did you marry?
3 and a bit years later.

Were you hoping to meet your life partner at that time, or was it a case of meeting Sal and knowing that you had met your life partner?

I had been in a few relationships before Sal but it was a different feeling when I was with Sal. There was and is a complete feeling of ease, happiness and excitement.
What was your first year like?

Fun, exciting, filled with travel, meeting new people and seeing new places.
What has been the most challenging thing in your marriage (without having to get too personal of course)?

Finding a common ground/country on where to live with both of us being able to pursue our dreams and what is best for our family.
What has been the most rewarding?

Growing as people and as a couple. We have become so much closer as a couple with going through good times and tough times. I find it very sexy that I am so close and so attracted to Sal.

What is your and Sal’s dynamic?  Meaning, how do you factor in each other’s different interests and opinions?  How do you distribute the practicalities of life?
Life is so difficult as it is, we roll with the punches really well and support each other. Each day is different and we support each other dependent on what each of us needs. We don’t have a set list of things to do.
Do you find it difficult to keep the romance?  How important do you think romance is for a stable relationship?  How do you bring it in?

It is a challenge but that’s what makes it fun. It is super important as it shows your partner that you are there and you are thinking of them. Simple things like sending texts or emails to say you are thinking of them. Flowers, filling her car with gas. Sneaking off for a pub lunch. Kissing is huge, let your children see that you love each other.

After a busy day running around on a tennis court and lots of kids, how do you keep the romance?

Throughout the day, sending messages and letting her know I am always thinking about her. Always kissing her hello every time I come home.
Often times you hear stories of couples being so in love with each other but then the relationship doesn’t work out.  It’s as though the attraction isn’t the problem but somehow they just can’t seem to get around the day to dayness of life.  What attitudes do think this speaks too?  Where do you think people could shift their belief?

Day to-day stuff makes things a challenge, I think you have to always put your wife and family first. The dishes can wait, the carpet can be vacuumed a little later. Talk to each other!! Communication is key, it is not always easy to say things but it is always better than keeping it in.
You didn’t actually plan for kids, and now you have 3.  Besides the obvious (lifestyle changes etc) how has having kids changed you personally?

I have learned that the things I thought were so important are not, I learn this lesson everyday. Family is everything! It has made me more comfortable in my work as I have a more relaxed attitude about work, jobs come and go, family is forever.

Do you think it is has changed Sal personally?
Yes, she used to be a A (Australian)ILF now she is a MILF!! I find it very sexy that Sal has two hats, one that nurtures and adores our kids and one that is a sexy vibrant women.
Sal is a very capable and strong woman, and mother.  How do you define your role as a husband and now as a father?  How important do you think roles and responsibilities are in a relationship?  Do you tend to lean toward the more ‘traditional’ i.e. you take the trash out, Sal cooks the dinner etc.?  Or are tasks evenly distributed?

We never spoke about our roles as parents, we have just molded into our roles as parents, we are constantly communicating and working as a team. We just do what needs to be done on a daily basis. I think we are anything but traditional, although I am not sure what we are. We are what we are!
What do you think one of the most important qualities/personality traits is in a strong relationship?

Communication, Trust, belief in yourself and your bond with your partner, adaptability.
What are some of the most romantic things Sal has done for you? 

Surprise 30th bday party.
Weekend away
Miami!

What do you think it means to be in love?

Happiness, fun, growth.
Lastly, any advice for young couples out there?  

Be yourself but be prepared for you and your partner to grow as individuals. If you are open to new experiences you will grow as a couple as well. There is nothing better than doing things with a person you are completely comfortable with, this makes for a lot of fun!!!

**addendum to this following video.  This was a shot at about 3am, after many tequila’s celebrating our friends 40th birthday.  I thought it a good idea to get out the camera and ask questions about family life with Steve.  Forgive the slurry…my slurry…conversation…and the political incorrectness.  But I think it’s a great insight into who Steve is and how he feels being a dad.

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