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The Marrying Kinds

Plenty of Denverites are finding love. Here's how to make it last.

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If Denver keeps issuing marriage licenses at its current clip, the county will bear witness to more weddings in 2016 than ever before. The main reason? Colorado legalized same-sex marriage in October 2014. Getting hitched, however, is the easy part.? To help newlyweds navigate the labor (of love!) that is matrimony, we sought wisdom from one of the Denver area’s longest-wed couples, Dave and Rita Peterson, both 81, of Lakewood, who have been married 61 years. Consider their advice your “something borrowed.”

5280: How did you meet?

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Rita: His mother and my mother worked in a little department store together in Barnum before they were married, and they both married farmers out in Jefferson County. We all lived within five miles of each other.

Dave: When Rita was born, my mother took me over to see Rita’s mother when they came home from the hospital. I was a very mature nine months old, and I wasn’t impressed with her. So that’s where our story began.

Rita: Our first date was at the end of our junior year of high school.

What makes for a happy marriage?

Dave: We grew up with the same rural background. We have similar values. We can drive all day and not say anything for hours. Then one of us says something to the other, and it’s exactly what the other person was thinking. That seems strange, but it happens. We share a true love for each other. And we have many mutual friends. Many of them have been married as long as we have.

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Any advice for all the couples getting married in Denver?

Rita: Have mutual respect and consideration for each other’s thoughts, ideas, wants, and needs. I don’t know that we’ve ever had a big disagreement in our lives. We always talk it out.

Dave: Listen to the other person and shut up. We argue about things, and then I do what she tells me to do.

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