Photo by Brent Fuchs.
Photo by Brent Fuchs.

Ivan and Marita Deatsch

Married 44 Years

When it comes to starting a family, Edmond couple Ivan and Marita Deatsch can’t say enough on the importance of “coupleness.”
“Something that helps us has always been maintaining this idea of ‘coupleness.’ We make time for each other. Yes, creating a family means that you are really busy, but that family started out from two people, so time should be made for just the couple, too,” Marita says.

The Deatsches know this by experience – they began their relationship by long-distance. They met while in college, but stayed connected when Ivan started working in Illinois as Marita finished school in Kansas City.

“I was working with Firestone then,” he says, “and I’d get going after work on Friday and get to Kansas City that night. And then, I’d drive back on Sunday.”

Ivan and Marita Deatsch say the secret to their successful marriage is making time for each other.
Ivan and Marita Deatsch say the secret to their successful marriage is making time for each other.

The couple kept their romance strong over the many miles for a year until Marita graduated and joined him. With Ivan’s job, the family moved around the U.S. several times (including to Edmond) before they moved back to Oklahoma for good.

“Oklahoma has changed so much, but we were so happy to come back. Before, you could shoot a cannon through Oklahoma City and not hit anything. It’s such a great area to live in now. It’s where three of our four children live with their families, too,” Ivan says.

Marita says the most testing part of their relationship through the decades was the frequent relocations.

“We always had to pick up and move, and Ivan would usually move first because of his job, and then I would wait until we were able to sell the house. I never wanted to move, but then, I always ended up liking it when we got there,” Marita says.

Ivan retired in 2009, and the couple says they are busier now than they ever were when they were raising their children.

“We do a lot of volunteer work; you have to keep active. You work until you’re 60, but you’ll live another 30 years after that. You can’t sit around and play golf the whole time,” Marita says.[pullquote]“You should always put your marriage first, but everyone also needs a sense of independence.”[/pullquote]

She works with the nonprofit organization Positive Tomorrows in Oklahoma City as a reader and mentor for homeless children. Ivan is involved with the group Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), which provides car rides for low-income seniors who cannot drive on their own. Ivan drives seniors to doctor appointments and various errands three to four times a week; each ride can take up to half a day.

“We’ll do things like pick (seniors) up and take them to a doctor, and then help them fill out paperwork, too. We wait with them there and then usually take them to the pharmacy afterwards,” Ivan says.

The Deatsches also stay busy by spinning other kinds of wheels.

“We’re bicyclers, and we’ve gone on lots of biking trips,” Marita says. “We usually go with a group on a four- or five-day [riding] trip. We’ve probably taken near to 15 rides.”

And with four happily married children, there are plenty of grandchildren. The Deatsches try to help their children get in valuable coupleness time with their own spouses.

“We always encourage our kids to spend time alone with their spouses. It’s something that has always helped us, and since we are here and can help with the kids, we try to provide that for them,” Ivan says.

Coupleness is crucial, but each person in the relationship should have individual pursuits, too, the Deatsches say.
“You should always put your marriage first, but everyone also needs a sense of independence,” Ivan says.

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