Couples that work together stay together
By Oona Woods
There’s love in these here hills. Alongside the sensational and sometimes shambolic singles scene the genuine love thing lives and roams the roost. Partnerships that extend beyond the home and hearth to the business world are working out and going strong.
On the rocky relationship road that seems to be a case of hit and miss, and mostly miss, it’s heartening (pun intended) to see long lasting love lasting the distance. Whistler boasts some seriously happy households and pristine partnerships.
So what’s the deal? What makes a match a winner and not a washout? How do you select your very own shrink to fit soul-mate? And how do you carry on in the corporate world without losing interest?
The Whistler wonder folk maintain that it just comes naturally.
Karin Ulrich and husband Jim run Whistler Office Services together. Karin says that when they met in Montreal 30 years ago it was a done deal.
"I guess it was love at first sight. You just know ‘this is it’. You’ve found the man of your dreams."
This is a common theme in the team scene. Mark and Dana Taylor run the Opossum Cafe. They met at a B.C. Wine Institute wine tour and both just "hit it off," as Dana describes.
"The first thing I noticed was his sense of humour. He had me laughing from the moment I met him."
Dana said it is hard to put into words the reason she was attracted to Mark.
"I’ve never really thought of it. I just knew. I’d never met anyone who respected me that much. We have very, very, very, similar values."
As Mark explains it was only a matter of time from when they met that they had to be together.
"We both had a passion for food and wine. I was working at Val d’Isere in Whistler and Dana was managing the Prow in Vancouver. Three weeks after we met she went to Portugal for a month. That was very hard. We knew from a long distance we were very in love. When she came back I was driving down to Vancouver to tell her that I would move down there to be with her. Before I could blurt it out she told me she would move."
Long distance tends to play a significant role in the relationship roulette.
Diane Share met her man at 30,000 feet.
"I was going on holiday to Hawaii and Ian was going home to Australia. We sat next to each other for six hours and that was the last time I saw him before we got married."
They continued their relationship for four months by letter and phone resulting in a $10,000 phone bill and up to 40 letters a month.
"We decided it would be cheaper just to go ahead and get married. After four months we flew back to Hawaii and eloped," said Diane. They have been together 11 years and have two boys. Diane says the important thing is to really put a lot into the relationship and make time for each other. This is a sentiment echoed by Mark Taylor.
"It’s a question of mutual respect. It’s like sailing. It’s something you always have to work at, but it’s not bad work. You can’t just sit back, it’s a labour of love — so to speak... Before I met Dana I couldn’t care less about relationships. I’d been through stupid relationships, flings and things, same with Dana. I am madly in love with Dana and I will be until the day I die."
The lightning bolt of love can strike when you least expect it. Francis and Ann Chiasson met at the Boot pub in 1978 during a Gong Show. "I was the judge and he was one of the contestants," said Ann. "He came second and he’s never forgiven me."
You never know when you’re going to meet your husband.
Mark and Paula Lamming were both involved to a certain extent with other people when they "just clicked" at a barbecue in London.
"I was waiting for my girlfriend to come over from New Zealand and Paula was seeing a South African."
Mark heard his roommates talking about Paula before they met.
"I had a funny feeling — whenever I heard her name, whenever they talked about her I felt that something would happen."
Paula says that when she walked into the room and saw Mark she thought, "That’s it. He’s mine... Actually I had a boyfriend. He’d left to go travelling in Europe on the Sunday and I was feeling kind of low. I met Mark on the Monday and it was sort of ‘Wow’. It was quite exciting. I was supposed to meet the boyfriend in Greece on Friday and I left for 10 days in France with Mark instead."
Mark also found it hard to put his finger on any one thing that attracted him to Paula.
"It is hard to put into words. I don’t know, the whole package really. When it happens you don’t think about just looks, or sense of humour. It just felt right."
After returning from France Mark and Paula moved in together. They have been together for nine years and have a girl and a boy.
Paula says she has no hesitation in believing that there is someone for everyone.
"Hold out, there is someone out there when you don’t expect it. I say this to my friends all the time. Don’t settle for it if it’s not right. It just happens right away. With Mark it was nothing he said or anything. There were no words. We went through a lot — just because we knew it was right."
Mark Taylor is also ready to speak up for healthy relationships.
"I’ll give advice to the love-lorn any day, now that I’m an expert. You have to get yourself together first. work out your relationship with yourself.
"Dana and I are both very individualistic. We were both very strong individuals before we met."
Dana says this also helps with running the restaurant together.
"We both have strong views. We both have very similar views on work and the way things should be done. It’s not a strain. I prefer to work with him more than anyone else."
Jim and Karin Ulrich find their secret in running a business smoothly is in giving each other space and complementing their strengths. As Karin says, "We each have our area of responsibility and that avoids a conflict. We don’t go around blaming each other... I never wanted to run away. We both have a strong commitment to each other. We made up our minds."
Mark and Paula run the Claygate and Lincoln bath and body products company together. They say they never had any doubts about working together at all.
"We’re best buds," says Paula. "Really good friends. Some people say that working together is the last thing they would want to do but we just get better as it goes on."
Mark says the reason he works so well with Paula is because of their different strengths.
"We quite happily work together. It would be different if we both had the same strengths. She’s artistic and creative and I’m more dogmatic. This basically means she’s off creating a mess and I clean it up. We complement each other...
"You have to go into it with your eyes open. You have to understand why your doing it. Is it for the money, or enjoyment, or is it going to grind you into the ground? We have to have a common goal. The business alone will fail if you have it for different reasons. We talk about it a lot."