PORT ELIZABETH couple Karen and Kevin Kelly celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary last month, saying it was only after the grief caused by the death of Karen’s father, Victor Reich, that they really started to love and respect each other.
The Park Drive couple celebrated the anniversary as a very different couple to those who married at Arkenstone Guest House on March 12 2005.
Karen’s much loved father died on October 28 2009 and it changed her outlook on her marriage and life.
“I was taught most of the fundamentals about life by my father and therefore I learnt to think like a boy. It certainly has served me well in many aspects. However, I learnt to copy the social behaviour of men,” Karen said.
“I spent most of my free time with my dad at sports clubs and pubs and was able to interact with people much older than myself.”
Then her father took ill, and she spent many hours at his bedside. “We talked through things that we had never discussed before and each let go of regrets and guilt.” When he died, Karen gave the eulogy at his funeral.
“In the past, I would have gone straight to the pub to be with people and to have drinks to numb the pain. I had plenty of time to rethink my life and the awesome bond I had with my dad and he had not wanted me to fall apart when he died, which is what a lot of people thought would happen.
“A month after my dad died, my hubby realised that I was no longer keen to go to the pub so often. He felt that I had changed and was in danger of becoming boring. I asked him what he really wanted from me. He said: ‘I want you to love me the way you loved your dad’.”
That was the turning point for the couple.
“On June 23 2010 we chose to live differently and to live for each other. What an amazing journey it has been.
“Besides the financial rewards bringing us security, we have fallen in love with each other bigger and better than before. There are no power struggles in our relationship. We talk, communicate and negotiate on important issues.
“I feel as if I have learnt to love Kevin so much more and a lot of the pain of losing Dad is gone as I put those emotions into a place of positivity. I have developed a strong marriage where we do lots of laughing and loving.”
Karen does Emotional Quotient training while Kevin is the owner of Xtreme Projects, which cleans up industrial spills.
Both Karen and Kevin have been previously married and Kevin has two children, Dustan, 28, and Kayleigh, 25. –Octayvia Nance