For this month’s edition of Make It Last Forever, we were privileged with the opportunity of speaking with high school sweethearts Stacy and Ronald Andreis. The New York Natives crossed paths 19 years ago and have been inseparable ever since. Now celebrating their 15th year of marriage, the couple opened up to us about how they’ve managed to make their love last.
MN: Let’s start with the basics. How did you two meet?
Ronald: We were in high school. When we met, I was at my mom’s house sitting on the steps and Stacy and her friends walked by. When I saw her walking down the street, I told myself that I couldn’t let this girl pass by without saying something. I stopped her and we had a conversation and I asked if I could walk her down the street. After that, it was magic from there.
MN: I know you guys were teens, but what was the first date like?
Stacy: Well, it was to the movies in Kings Plaza (in Brooklyn, New York).
Ronald: Obviously, as teenagers you don’t have that much money. Our parents said that it was okay for us to go to the movies so we actually took the bus, went to the movies and had a great time. Obviously, we were nervous but that’s what we really wanted to do.
MN: It’s rare that high school relationships manifest into something real that carries over into adulthood. As you two transitioned from adolescence to adulthood, at what point did you realize that you had something real?
Ronald: I’m in the military. After high school, I decided to join the military. At that point, we had been dating for a few years. After that, I told her, “Stacy, I’m going into the military. It’s going to be at least three years, but it’s something I really want to do.” She looked me in my face and said, “You know what? If that’s something you want to do, I’ll be here for you. When you go away, I’ll still be here and when you come back, we can make it work.” When she said that, I was like, “Wow, she’s really interested and she wants to be with me.” I knew she was the one.
MN: How did you make it work during that time?
Stacy: We got married after a few months. We communicated constantly during his basic training. We constantly wrote letters and sent pictures. After basic training, we just decided to go get married.
Ronald: We didn’t wait the three years. We were 19 years old and we were like, “This is going to be hard, but I know she’s the one and we’re going to get married.”
MN: What was your experience as young newlyweds?
Ronald: It was hard. I’m not going to lie to you. One, I had to take her away from her family. I was stationed in Texas, so for a young girl to leave New York City, the only place she knows and go to a small town in Texas with no friends, it was kind of hard.
Stacy: It was very hard.
Ronald: She had to get over that part and you know, we were young and not making that much money and we were living on our own. All we had was each other so we really had to make it work. It was hard but, we made it.
MN: Did you have a traditional wedding?
Ronald: No. To me, traditional right now is going to the courthouse [laughs] and that’s what we did at 19 years old. We were like, “Let’s go to the courthouse. Let’s get it done.”
MN: Now that you two have been married for fifteen years, what advice would you offer newlywed self?
Ronald: My advice would be to put God first. Without him, I think a lot of this wouldn’t be happening. Second, you have to trust each other because trust is a big thing in a relationship. You always have to trust your partner.
Stacy: For me too, it’s learning to pick your battles. When you’re young, you’re set in your ways and your partner is set in their ways. It’s learning which arguments are worth it. You have to ask yourself if those small arguments are worth it.
Ronald: One other thing for young couples is, try to surround yourselves with married folks. I’m not saying that hanging out with single folks won’t work, but the more you hang out with married people, the better it’s going to be and the more positive people you will be around. I’m not saying every married couple is positive, but I think hanging out with married folks helped us a lot. If you’re young and you’ve got a chance to hang around married folks, I think you should do it.
MN: Speaking of trust, would either of you say that trust should be expected from day one in a relationship or, is it something that should be established over time?
Ronald: I think it should be day one.
Stacy: For me, I would say the opposite. It should be established. You have to learn to trust the person as well. That takes time.
Ronald: I think from day one, if I’m in that relationship, we should trust each other.
MN: How important is it to keep family out of your marriage?
Stacy: To me, it’s very important. They’re all into their different relationships and you don’t want to bring them into your marriage. That’s what causes problems too because everyone has their own input and it should be based on the facts of what you two want so you don’t need any family opinions in your decision making.
MN: What do you believe the biggest threat to a marriage is?
Ronald: The biggest threat to a marriage is a lack of trust. I work with a lot of women so my wife has to be able to trust me every day. Every day I go to work and she knows that I’m working with like ten women. If she has it in the back of her mind that I’m messing around on her, her mind will go crazy. Trust is the main thing that I’ve been preaching.
Stacy: I think finances also greatly threaten a marriage. Once you have financial problems, that’s where a lot of arguments come from as well. If you can maintain and work with each other regarding finances and make joint decisions, that will help you pass that obstacle as well.
MN: What is the biggest misconception about marriage?
Stacy: That every marriage is perfect.
MN: What have you learned about conflict resolution?
Ronald: For our relationship, when we have issues or arguments, we take a 30-minute to an hour break to clear our minds. Then we come back and talk about it. We kind of learned through the years that you don’t want to really talk about your issues when you’re mad. Just relax, clear your mind. It can be until the end of the day, but we try not to go to bed angry. We take a break, go our separate ways in different rooms or whatever and then we talk about it. You really don’t want to go to bed angry. It might happen sometimes though; no couple is perfect.
MN: Ronald, what do you love most about your wife?
Ronald: Okay, okay first, she has this smile that brightens a room. That’s the thing that attracted me the most. Second, we can talk about anything. As kids, at 19 years old, we would talk for hours. That communication helps. I remember we used to talk, fall asleep on the phone, wake up and talk again.
MN: And Stacy, what do you love most about your husband?
Stacy: I love how he’s so caring. He puts me and our kids first, before himself. He’ll do anything for us.