2009-02-12 / Community

Couple shares tips on long-lasting marriage

By Nancy Needham nancy@theacorn.com

Tim and Jeanne Hengst Tim and Jeanne Hengst Lining up a special date for Valentine's Day hasn't been a problem for Tim or Jeanne Hengst for more than four decades.

The Thousand Oaks couple, who've known each other since high school, will be celebrating their ruby wedding anniversary, marking 40 years of marriage, in December.

"We met when we were 14 and high school freshmen but didn't date until we were seniors," Jeanne said.

They went to their prom together. Not long afterward they were 19, married and living in Thousand Oaks, while Tim went to school at California Lutheran College, now CLU.

Their lives took them to Baltimore, Md., for Tim's further education at Johns Hopkins, then to Houston, Texas, back to Baltimore and then home to Thousand Oaks. Along the way they had three children—Jeff, who's married to Cori; Ben; and Stephanie.

Jeff and Cori made them grandparents, with Amelie, 4, and Ella, 1.

"The big thing we share is our faith," Jeanne said.

The two grew up in Southern California and were educated in Lutheran schools. Now he teaches at CLU. She teaches at Ascension Lutheran Church's preschool.

The Hengsts have other things in common. Both Tim's and Jeanne's parents celebrated golden (50th) and emerald (55th) anniversaries. Jeanne's parents also celebrated their diamond (60th) wedding anniversary and have now been married 64 years. Tim's parents had been married 59 years when his mother died.

"Young people getting married should know they commit for good. They should pick someone they can live with," Jeanne said.

She and Tim have always gotten along, she said.

"We, of course, love each other, but it's important that we honor and respect each other— we're supportive, we listen and talk."

They go to choir rehearsals at their church every Thursday, followed by social time with their friends, Tim said.

They like to go out together and love to travel, he said.

"We've gone to Germany, Italy, Hawaii and Disneyland. We love Disneyland."

They also attend CLU sporting events together, he said.

"She's my best friend and we take care of each other. We put each other's needs and wants first."

Still, they each have passions the other doesn't share. He loves golf. She loves weaving and crafts. Maybe that adds to the magic.

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