Dina: 1973, I was married 25 years. I find out my husband is cheating on me. I didn't know Gerd before. One day, he comes in my house and says, "What happened with your husband? He has an affair with my wife!"
Gerd: I thought I was happily married. I met and married my dream girl. She was a beauty! A cover girl, you know. We had a baby together. I just could not understand how that woman could leave me with some other man. It was Dina's husband. And to repair the whole thing, I went to her house to ask her to take her husband back and leave my family alone.
Dina: This was still in Germany, in my apartment. I say, "Oh, he's a good-looking man." He was 13 years younger.
Gerd: Thirteen years younger.
Dina: I was 44, and he was 31.
Gerd: It's still the same, you know. [Laughs] She's still 13 years older than I am.
Dina: [Laughs] He was seven years married and had a daughter of 4 years. And we come together, we talking and talking and talking. We were together the whole night.
Gerd: May I interrupt? The only reason why I stayed at her house was because she had a hidden bottle of Bacardi in the couch. I was ready to leave after 10 minutes, but then she opened up the couch, and I decided to stay.
Dina: Yes, it's true. Then later on, maybe 11 p.m., my husband comes back. He comes in the door, and he saw Gerd and he say, "Ach! Good! I'm happy you are here! So. We can talk together." We were sitting the whole night.
I didn't know before. I didn't know anything. Gerd's wife was working in the same company where my husband was an agent. This was an insurance company. And I was 21 years by this company.
So this was very sad for me. Very sad. I was so sick and so terrible, I couldn't sleep in the night anymore. It was a very hard year. Every day was a new story from him.
Gerd: They told us they are so much in love with each other that they rather would die before they would come back to us.
During that time, we help each other out. I took Dina for dancing, dinner, movie theater. She help me with my little daughter, and so on. And it worked out so perfectly good that we started thinking we would be better off without them two.
Dina and I were so close already. We were not in love. We were just close.
And we invited them two later on to come and talk to us, and we told them, "Hey, no, we finally agree with you two. You can stay together. We both get divorced, we make you no problems at all." Because we have companionship, we found out we're getting along very good, you know. And they hated that. My former wife started crying, wanted to come back to me. It was only for a couple months with them.
Dina: When they find out we want to stay together, they want to come back again. Then we say, no way anymore!
Gerd: I told them, "We can do what you do. Don't worry, we are adults, too! We are able to love."
Dina: My husband say, "I don't want a divorce. I only want to go to her three times in a week." You know what I say? "You have to look for a stupider thing than me." And I go to the divorce lawyer right away.
Gerd: Many, many times we talk about that, and we still are thankful that destiny turned that way for us.
Dina: We are married for 28 years, but together 35. But my husband and his wife, they never together. They started a little together, but the love was gone.
Gerd: Let's say, even they plundered our banking accounts and they were empty, their love also was empty.
Dina: They had nothing, we had everything. He had a house, and I an apartment.
Gerd: At that time, in Germany, we had a law of guilty or not guilty. And when you cheat on your spouse, you get absolutely nothing. You have to pay for the lawyers, you have to pay the court, you have to pay for everything, and you leave the house empty-handed. That's why we are good off, you know? We ended up with two complete houses!
Dina: At the end of December '73, we both divorced. We were already a little bit together at this time. And we find out we have a lot of things what we like together...
Dina: And we like to travel.
Gerd: I needed somebody to take care of my little daughter, you know, because my wife left me with the little girl at home. Dina felt a little guilty, because it was her husband who took my wife away. So she was so kind to come to my house and help me out with the cooking and the laundry. And after a while my little daughter started calling her Mommy. Because I had to go to work, we spent the weekends together. And we became closer and closer. And the day came when we said, "Why don't we just try to stay together for good?" And now I see it worked out perfectly.
Dina: My first husband, he did nothing. You know, he don't want to go on vacation or something. And we -- when we were together, we were every weekend away. We saw all in Europe.
Then we were in America, and we liked it so much. We like Florida. And then we had the idea we come here to buy a house. He always liked marriage. But after what I had before, I don't like this so much. But when we bought this house, then I say, you know what? It's better that we marry.
So, this was August, '80.
Gerd: That was actually the official time we got engaged. It was one o'clock a.m. But where can you get engagement rings at one o'clock in the morning? We opened the refrigerator and pulled out two cans of beer. We pulled off the rings and exchanged it.
Dina: Yes, it's true.
Gerd: We still have them. It's our official engagement rings.
Dina: So we married and we bought this house, and we were real both very happy.
Gerd: Love that grows out of something like what we have is stable and deeper than first love at first sight. Some pretty face might turn out to be garbage. Sometimes when we watch TV, beautiful girls on "Judge Judy," then they open their mouth, well, that's it. There is more than just a nice face and making love.
Why we are getting along so good is we ... I don't know how to express it in English, but maybe you get the idea ... I'm not living my life, I living her life. I try to do everything as good as possible to make her happy. If she tells me I need two pounds of potatoes, we go together and buy those two pounds of potatoes.
Dina: It's not a lie. We make everything together. He never, ever walk any place without me. Only to work.
Gerd: After all those years, we can honestly say we never fought. We just don't do that. There's no reason. We are both engaged in this marriage to make each other as comfortable as possible. And bad words, they don't work. Of course, we have different opinions once in a while.
Dina: But we say, never go in the bed before everything is clear. You know, talk. When you have a problem, talk.
Gerd: Of course we have days when we aren't agreeing about things, but before we start fighting, we shut up.
What was our nicest day we ever had together?
Dina: Nicest day? Oh, we had a lot of nice ones. I can't say.
Gerd: Maybe it was when you told me oysters would help my sex life?
Dina: Oh, shhhh...
Gerd: I can honestly say it's a lie, because the other day I ate a dozen oysters, and only nine worked. [Laughs]
Dina: You know, we are so much on vacation together. We go 11 times on a cruise. We were four times in Las Vegas, not gambling, but only look around in the nice casino. Oh I love this, it's so beautiful. Sometimes we went in a new casino, I say, "I want to know the architect who did this." It was so beautiful. We never gambled. We only walk around and enjoy life.
Gerd: Another big moment where we really appreciated to be together was -- I know it sounds like a cliché -- when we were for the very first time at the Grand Canyon. We start asking, "Who is the architect on that?" [Laughs] And we said, it couldn't be an American because if it had been American, it never would be finished! We hadn't to say anything, you know. Just arriving there, looking down in the big hole. I lay my arm around Dina's shoulder and looking at each other, and we both started crying. To be there together and see that. It was one of the moments where we really, really appreciated to be there together, because you cannot tell anybody how that feels.
Dina: That's little things and big things. You must be thankful to have each other.
Gerd: The love that was with my first wife was a very young love. It was more passionate. The second love, what we have now, was, let's say, born more out of common sense. We love each other more than we used to love our first partner. But it's in a different way. Dina: When you're young, it's a different story. It's only, "I love you, oh yeah, yeah."
Gerd: I'm coming home every night, not going to any bars, make no problems -- this is a love sign. In my younger years, I liked to drink a lot. And if I didn't have her to hold on, maybe I had forgotten to control myself. She was a big help without ever saying anything.
Dina: And smoking, too. He was so smoking, and I had a problem with bronchitis. He stopped maybe 15 years ago, and who knows, if he not stopped, he not alive anymore.
Gerd: I remember maybe 20 years ago, when we still had sex. [Laughs] We just were engaged in that action and she said, "Do you love me? Do you love me?" And I said, "What do you think I'm doing here?"
I'm trying to be funny for the reason. We do this all the time. Our life is that way. We spend nights next to each other, laughing our ass off. Sometimes we sing opera during the night.
Dina: We went to Spain and we rent a house. It had only one bedroom you know, but it's a nice house, we both singing opera all night. We can do that, you know. We can do that, and we like it. Then we laughing and happy.
Gerd: This is also something that keeps us together, you know, the jokes and laughing all the time. I really have problems to take life seriously. Believe it or not, I'm happy when it's raining. Because if I'm not happy, it's still raining. My whole life is like that, you know? I lost a leg to diabetes, and I'm happy. I never get cold feet anymore. I only need one shoe when I go shopping.
Dina: The last three years was hard time for me. When Gerd had lost ... and then the other leg started ... Then he had bypass, then kidney. He had a lot of problem and I'm only by myself with everything. Was not always easy.
Gerd: This is also big, big, big thing in our marriage, that she takes care of my handicap, without any question whatever. It is just there, every day and every day and every day. If I try to go to the refrigerator with my crutches to pick up a Coke, she's right behind me, "Sit down! I do that. I have two legs, you only have one, I do that!" And this is much more worth than say every five minutes, "I love you," which is mostly just said to say something.
And it's also 100 percent sign that she loves me because I might meet 250 people and I tell them all the same joke and she's still laughing. She doesn't have to yell at me, "I love you. I'll kick your ass, you don't believe it!"
Dina: So we are both a little older and smarter. Much, much happier than before. This was a very different life, and a much, much better life.
Gerd: We thank her ex-husband every day. Actually, every year on the divorce date, we send him a thank-you note.