The message James V. Page posted on Facebook on his wife’s 50th birthday said in part: We have been in the U.S. Navy together; homeless together; broke with no money or food together; bought our first home together, watched all five of our children get their college degree’s together; Gave up on each other together; Got marriage counseling together And decided that we should give it another try together…
The Pages don’t need Hollywood or Hallmark to tell them about real love. During almost 28 years of marriage, they have been up and down—and up again—all the while deciding to never let go of one another’s hand.
“You get out of sync over the years,” said Raquel. “It hasn’t been 365 days of rainbows. In a marriage there are times when you want to throw in the towel. But you have to take your pride and ego out of it. I had a very good friend who said, ‘You have to decide: Are you happier with him or without him?’ I asked myself that question when things got rough. And the answer was always: with him.”
They met in 1984 while both were in the Navy in Washington, D.C. She was 20; he was 23. When she saw him she told herself that he was the man she was going to marry.
“It was really love at first sight for me,” said Raquel.
She was new to the city so James asked if he could show her around.
After the tour, he said, “I made her a spaghetti dinner with my New Orleans spin on it. I was a perfect gentleman.”
What was it that attracted him to her?
“I think it was her sense of commitment,” James offered. “The world moves toward someone who has made up their mind.”
He says once his wife told herself that he was the one for her, “she could not see anything wrong with me or with what was happening around her.”
And James knows he tried her patience.
“My car broke down. I didn’t pay bills on time; I got parking tickets because I would park anywhere. I wasn’t punctual when I went to work. But she made up her mind I was the man for her and she stuck by me through thick and thin.”
For Raquel, an unexplainable attraction developed into a deeper admiration and respect.
“The thing that attracted me to him—and still does even to this day–is his courage about life. I’ve always been laid back, played it safe, never colored outside the lines. He has such a positive outlook. It was like the glue in the relationship.”
They had their first child before getting married.
“We wanted to make sure we married to stay together,” said James.
Their daughter was two when they got married. They had three more children together. James already had a daughter before meeting Raquel, a child Raquel refuses to call “step” child. “She is my daughter too,” said Raquel.
The couple never sat down to plan the number of children they would have.
“As we grew, our hearts grew,” said James. “It just seemed each child came at a perfect time and we were able to grow to another level in our marriage.”