What is love? Dana and Craig
"People think they can find the perfect person, it’s not always the case. You can be different and grow together”
Dana and Craig live together in New Jersey, have been together for fourteen years and married for eight; both were raised in Brooklyn. They found themselves dating when they were teenagers, albeit it didn’t last long; after a few weeks Dana’s boyfriend from college came home and so she broke up with Craig.
A few years later Dana went to a bar with her sister where her cousin cousin was bartending. Craig was also there with his friends; they were both shy and neither wanted to make the first move. Eventually, after a few beers, Craig plucked up the courage to ask Dana if she would like his bar stool, they have been inseparable ever since.
I couldn’t wait to speak to Dana and Craig about what makes a successful relationship and see what love means to them.
The next week Craig was flying to Italy for a family vacation. Craig recalled, “I telephoned her from the airplane; I thought that might impress her. After that I called her all through the vacation, we spent hours on the phone. It cost a lot of money; my brother thought I was crazy.” Dana added, “We fell for each other so quickly, it was during one of those phone calls from Italy that he told me he loved me.”
Four years later, they became engaged. Craig asked Dana to marry him at home in their dining room and after arranged for their family and friends to come over to have pizza and celebrate. Dana recalled, “It was really special.”
Eighteen months later, in June 2007 they were married in Coney Island. Without Dana knowing, Craig had completely redecorated the reception room with white drapes, romantic lighting, butterflies and roses. Dana said, “It was a lovely surprise.”
When asked why Dana was the one for him, Craig said, “Dana makes me a better person, I have her saved as ‘angel’ on my phone. She never has a bad thing to say about anyone, she always pulls me up when I’m slipping and puts things into perspective for me.” Dana said, “Craig and I are opposites, we are yin and yang. He is more extrovert than me and so he pulls me out of my shell. He makes me feel the best about myself. Everything is more fun when Craig is around; he made me the happiest I had been in a very long time. ”
Emmaleen: Can you tell us a loving story from your relationship?
Dana: “When we were first dating and still living at home with our parents, Craig recreated a restaurant in his bedroom and cooked me a three-course meal. It was so romantic.”
Craig: “It took hours to do, and my parents helped to cook. There were candles and furniture; it probably would have been cheaper in the end to actually go to a restaurant!”
What is the key to a happy relationship?
Craig: “Living for the other person and not putting yourself first. If you put yourself first, then fights will start, if you put the other first, you’ll be happy.”
Dana: “Mutual respect. I am a stay at home mom and Craig works and makes the money, that doesn’t mean that I should be valued any less. We have mutual respect, and we don’t put each other down.”
What is Love?
Dana: “When you want to be your best self for the other person and always make the other person happy. Love is beautiful and complex and means something different to everyone.”
Craig: “People think they can find the perfect person, it’s not always the case. You can be different and grow together and in the process, make yourself a better person.”
So what is their advice to anyone looking for love?
Craig: “Communication is a big thing; people are quick to divorce or separate. Sometimes it’s easier to divorce than it is fight for it. You’re not going to find the perfect person like Hollywood would have you believe. Swiping left or swiping right is dangerous for that reason. You have to understand them, talk about, and work on it.”
Dana: “We have the same values, so that helps. You need to work on yourself first and love yourself. You must value yourself.”
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