Don’t lose your Valentine… Secaucus couples talk about love and compromise

A week before Valentine’s Day, three Secaucus couples took time out from squeezing the fruit in their local supermarket just long enough to share a little sage advice on romantic relationships.

In a state with the 16th lowest divorce rate in 2003, according to the U.S. Census, Garden State couples clearly know how to make love last!

Met during the Truman presidency

George and Adeline Pascale of Secaucus are one of those couples who finish each other’s sentences, so in sync with each other they intuitively know what their partner is about to say.

Harry Truman was president when they began their six-decade relationship. “We met in Keansburg, New Jersey, on the boardwalk. That was about 60 years ago,” Adeline remembered last week.

“Then we went to Gerry Shane’s, which was a bar in [Keansburg]. We went dancing there,” George added. “And we made dates to go out. Then we introduced each other to our parents.”

They were married in September of 1950.

The Pascales do not have any children, but Adeline said, “We have lots of godchildren, [and] nieces and nephews who are like our children. They keep us very busy.”

She scoffs at Valentine’s Day, and believed she was “too old” to participate in an article about a lover’s holiday. However, Adeline admitted, “George and I have a wonderful marriage. Today there’s a lot of divorce.”

She gave this advice to younger couples: “You’re going to argue over small things, but you have to make up all the time.”

“And always try to please each other,” George interjected. “Keep thinking of each other and always help each other. Whatever the other one needs, you have to be there to help them and be ready for them whatever it is.”

That, they said, is the secret to a happy 58-year-marriage.

Love, international style

Like many couples, Maria Tajali of Secaucus and her husband of 30 years, Bahram, met in school.

“We met, actually, in London while we were in school learning English,” said Maria Tajali, who is originally from Spain.

“The year was 1975,” added Bahram, who originally hails from Iran.

The Tajalis dated for about two years. They believe their relationship has been successful because they took time to get to know each other before marrying.

“The most important thing is listening to each other and compromising,” Maria Tajali said, offering her advice to couples in budding relationships. “That’s the key, the two elements for success in a relationship. There are going go be many times when you don’t agree with each other. But you have to agree on a middle ground.”

This point was echoed by fellow Secaucus residents Zhengtan Dai and Shu Gao.

Zhengtan Dai, who was shopping in the fruit aisle with his wife, said, “I think couples need to stay with each other for some time to get to know each other very well before they make the decision to stay together for a long time. To get married is not an easy decision.”

Zhengtan Dai and Shu Gao, like the Tajalis, found love on campus. “We met each other at Florida International University in Miami,” Zhengtan Dai said. “We both came from China. I went to FIU a year before she went there. And the first day she went to school, the first Chinese person she met was me. That’s the reason we are together.”

They have been together about seven years and are now expecting their first child, who is due at the end of March.

What’s a single guy (or girl) to do?

The couples had few recommendations for all the singles out there looking for love.

“Advice for singles?” Maria Tajali asked, repeating the question, suddenly at a loss for words.

“Oh, that’s not easy,” Zhengtan Dai said, his voice trailing off.

The Pascales took the direct approach, admitting they had no advice for singles, then refocusing the conversation on their terrific marriage.

With bars and nightclubs pretty much off limits, how – and where – are singles supposed to find Mr. or Ms. Right?

Lyndhurst resident Daniela Ryan, who was shopping in Secaucus, encouraged the unattached to be proactive. She said that’s how she met her husband, David Ryan.

“I work at the United Nations,” she recalled. “He used to work at the U.N. and we took the same 42nd St. crosstown bus. So I did a little research, asked questions about him.”

After some meaningful eye contact on the MTA, Ryan made her move.

Today she and James have been married for a little more than a year.

According to Bahram Tajali, Ryan may be on to something.

“The right person,” he said, “is the one who gives you some kind of spark. So, when you find the right person, don’t let them go.”


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