Diana and Holger
Diana and Holger met at the Munich University Film Club 20 years ago. They have a 10 year old son and a 7 year old daughter.
‘Holger told me he got intrigued by me when I applied to manage the student organization in the dormitory we were living in. He liked how I presented myself and learned that I was a member of the student film club and decided to enroll as well. He then became the chairman of the film club and I was responsible for the finances.
I was impressed by how well he was dealing with the technical equipment, how full of energy and enthusiasm he was. He came up with ideas on how to improve the quality of movie broadcasting. He was training the others and he was very well in charge of the club. We were an excellent team and step by step we became friends.
Later, we saw a salsa course ad and decided to enroll together, although we were not a couple. Before the first lesson I told him jokingly: ‘Come pick me up with a bouquet of flowers’.
And he really came with a gorgeous bouquet. I was blown away. Then I thought maybe he wanted something more than friendship.
3 years later we got married.
Why did I choose to marry Holger? Initially I was impressed by his looks. He was tall, slender, blond and was dressing differently from the other students. He used to dress a little more formal, more sophisticated, often wearing a shirt that was not common among students. And the big bouquet of flowers showed class and generosity. Then we found out that we shared many common interests and tastes. Apart from the movie club and salsa dancing, we both enjoyed skiing, playing tennis, eating fish and cooking.
On one of our first dates he invited me at his place and cooked for me. Funny enough, he asked me in advance what kind of food I liked and I told him I liked almost everything except for spicy. He had cooked a very delicious Asian dinner that was very spicy. We were telling this story for a long time afterwards 🙂
We also have similar wishes for spending leisure time. We both love to try new things. We both knew, before we got married, that we wanted to have 2 children. He supported me when I had ideas I could not realize on my own and we made them happen together. I realized that I really liked everything about him.
It is very important for me that we also share common values. We both have a strong sense of duty towards our family and each other. We are both faithful. We trust each other. Not only regarding other men and women, but also regarding finances. I know he will not spend money on something that I would not approve of. And vice versa, I would not do it either.
We have similar family patterns – his parents are divorced as well as mine. We both have a younger sister.
We share common values regarding child rearing as well – like self-reliance, discipline, little TV and computer games. We both believe school is very important.
Holger is an IT engineer, and from him I learn a lot of things about technology and computers. It keeps me connected with the development of technology. He is also responsible for medical matters at home because his father is a doctor. I am responsible for more creative things and social contacts. We complement each other very well.
I am grateful that we have a wonderful family with 2 great kids. I am grateful for him being very responsible and giving me a sense of security. This is very important to me. I know I can count on him. I’m also grateful that he trusts me and gives me freedom to do whatever I want.
I often feel happy that I have this man beside me. Especially when I feel helpless and he comes and finds a very easy and good solution to the situation.
For example, this morning I woke up stiff and could not get out of bed. He was still asleep and I woke him up because I needed help and did not know what to do. He started to massage me, we discussed different ideas about what could help me. He even raised my spirit by making jokes. He then filled a plastic bottle with hot water and warmed me up. All these measures helped me and I managed to get out of bed without calling a doctor. Overall, he helps me a lot and encourages me very much.
Our children changed radically not so much our relationship as our way of life. We fully dedicated ourselves to the children. We built our lives around them. And not only when they were born, it is still that way. We stopped going out and stopped doing hobbies that are not family-related, like dancing and sports. It happened naturally and gradually without discussing it specifically.
Our everyday life is quite stressful. Holger works long hours and comes home very tired in the evenings. Apart from working part-time, I take care of everything related to the children, our social contacts, I am also involved in the kindergarten and the school administration. These are a lot of obligations to fit in one day. And often there aren’t enough hours in the day. This is our biggest challenge – to do everything we want to do and to have some time for rest and personal entertainment. A lot of coordination is required.
Holger accepts that I give him the dates and times for all our social activities, the days when he has to get home from work earlier than usual and so on. Sometimes it is too much for him, but he understands that it is important to me and is good for the family and accepts it. We make our daily life stressed ourselves, I know, but we want it this way.
Another challenge we have is the difference in our upbringing and the fact that we have grown up in different cultures – I grew up in Bulgaria and he grew up in Germany. We found out about them pretty late, after the children were born. For example, I keep working and his mother has not worked, as most mothers in Germany do not work. They stay home and take care of the kids. And that is why a mother combining everyday family tasks with work is a new concept for Holger.
Another difference between us is that in Bulgaria leisure and entertainment are a priority. While in Germany only if there is time after the job is done, you can have fun. And if there is no time left, there is no fun. I tell him that I need fun, he tells me that this is not a necessity. He cannot understand me.
Forcing him to get out of his everyday routine has a good effect on him, of course, but he would not care to organize fun when he is very tired.
We manage these differences by respecting each others’ needs. Even when at the moment we feel a bit offended by our partner’s desires, we agree when we see that something is really important for the other.
Our secret of being together for 20 years is not something we do actively, but rather that we have a lot in common, that we have a similar way of thinking and common values, and that we resolve the differences relatively easily.
I express my love for him by respecting his needs and priorities, although they are different from my needs and priorities. For example, I respect his desire to rest in the evening. The time after dinner, when the children are in bed, is sacred to him. And he does not want to do any work then, he does not even want to decide what needs to be bought or done, that burdens him. And I’m trying to take this into consideration because it’s obviously important to him, although it’s very foreign to me.
I show him my love by trying to get him out of the everyday routine, by taking care of my appearance, by flirting with him and smiling to him.
He likes his back to be caressed, and I often sit next to him, silently, I know he does not like the conversations very much, and I caress him on the back. This creates a very pleasant atmosphere.
He shows his love for me by cooking things that he knows I love. He buys me flowers, he spoils me. When I mention that I want something, he buys the best and the most expensive, even though I did not ask for it. He also supports me in bringing up the children, although sometimes he disagrees with my methods. Sometimes I am a little tougher than I need to be and he supports me, he does not argue with me in front of the kids.
I would recommend single people who want to create a family to look around. To look at the men / women they already know because they have something in common, they have common ground, something that connects them – like work, school, interests, friends and acquaintances, activities, etc.
I believe that a successful relationship is based on similarities – similar values, similar education, close social status, common interests. So I think that the right partner for them can already be in their social circle and they might not have noticed or recognized them.
Those who are in a committed relationship and want to keep it alive, I would recommend not to focus on the hardships and the boring everyday routine but to remember why they chose their partner in the first place. To keep in mind that although some things in their partner irritate them, they still love them. And to notice the little things that remind them why they fell in love and why they decided that this person is a good match for them.
For me, love is a combination of physical attraction and approval of the choices that the other makes.’
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