What is love? Patti and Matt
"Every year we say that we are getting better together, each year is better than the one before.”
Patti and Matt have been together for seventeen years and married for fourteen; together, they have two children and reside in upstate New York, near Saratoga. Matt is from Saratoga, and Patti is from Long Island. When she was twenty-two years old she went upstate to visit, she came home and told her mom that she was moving, a week later she was there and has lived there ever since. Patti explained, “I was blown away by how nice it was, it felt better with less constraint. I didn’t want to go back to Long Island.”
A few years later, Patti and Matt became friends; they were friends for around six months when Patti realized that she had feelings for Matt; they were both seeing other people at the time. Patti recalled, “It was the strangest thing, one day I walked into a room and as I looked at him, it was as though I had just seen a photo of him flick into my mind, in that image he was holding the hands of two children.”
I couldn’t wait to speak to Patti and Matt to see what love means to them and hear their advice on how to make a relationship work.
Patti tried to hide her feelings for Matt, but it felt like she was going crazy, she went out with her friends one night and had a drink, they told her to stop thinking about Matt - she couldn’t. Patti was cat-sitting Matt's cat at the time, he called her that night to check on the cat. On that call, she blurted out, “I have a crush on you; I just wanted to tell you, but forget I ever said it.” They broke up with their partners that week and have been together ever since. When he came over to collect his cat, he leaned in to kiss Patti goodbye, they kissed, and after she was so nervous that she threw up, she called him to tell him so. Matt said, “I didn’t know what to think when I got that phone call, hearing her say that she had vomited after is not what you expect to hear.”
They became engaged in 2003 after a trip to New York City, staying in the Ritz-Carlton. Patti said, “I was sure he was going to ask me, I mean, who else goes to New York City to stay in The Ritz Carlton unless they are planning on proposing? The whole trip I was waiting for it to happen and it didn’t. Driving home after, I asked him, ‘Do you see yourself getting married?’ and he said yes, ‘I see myself marrying you’ to which I replied ’oh good, as I see myself marrying you, I guess that means we are engaged now.'”
They married in December 2005 at their home. Matt recalled, “We just wanted to get married; we called the local pastor and arranged for our parents to come over and got married at home.”Patti added, “I just wanted to be a wife, not a bride, and I didn’t want to wait years planning a big wedding.”
Matt explained how he knew he wanted to marry Patti, “It was because we did everything together, and it was no effort. We had the best time together whether it was at Walmart or the Ritz-Carton, we made it fun.” Patti continued, “We are best buddies. When we are together, just us, we are good.”
Emmaleen: Can you tell me a love story from your relationship?
Patti: “I was diagnosed early on in our relationship with MS, and so we have had to live with that throughout the majority of our relationship, at first I told him to leave and be with someone else, but he stayed, and he makes things so much easier for me. Sometimes it’s a laugh or cry with MS. Not so long ago I had a fall, I was lying on the floor in front of him. I looked up, and he said, ‘While you are down there.’ We both laughed so much. He brings joy and comfort to me and keeps me laughing when I fall.”
What is the key to a happy relationship?
Matt: “It’s not one thing; it’s a melting pot of lots of pieces that come together. Be able to see past each other faults and find the little things that make you happy and blow up them up. You have to be able to laugh and let each other grow. It’s all in your reaction to things, its give and take, when it’s right it’s great. You roll with the punches and stay moving forward.”
Patti: “When things get crazy, no matter what is going on, we know that we can sit down and figure things out. It’s about conquering difficulties together, whether you like it or not. I see what he needs to be happy, and he sees what I need. Letting him be his best self is one of the most important things. He is always on my mind, constantly.”
What is love?
Patti: “Love is waking up each morning to find the coffee pot on, and fresh coffee waiting for you. Love is much bigger than a definition; it’s when you love them so much that you cannot imagine how life would ever be if they were not around. It is beyond husband and wife; Matt is a part of me; he is family. I love him more than I love myself. When something good happens, the first thing I want to do is tell him, when something bad happens, the first thing I want to do is tell him.”
Matt: “It’s a long road, not a quick one. Feel love by everything you do each day.”
What advice do you have for someone looking for love?
Matt: “Be willing to put in the work and see the big picture. There are bad days, and there are good days. Every year we say that we are getting better together, each year is better than the one before.”
Patti: “Don’t hold a grudge and find someone to laugh with. People tell us that we could be a comedy routine when we are together. It’s about work, we choose to stay respectful, and we chose to stay. Be willing to say if something is not okay."
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