Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 31, 2005
Living and loving for 42 years
Communication, faith and deferred gratification helped Pardells build a lasting relationship
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
As single adults working in Bonnyville, Stan and Mary Pardell each dreamed of finding a mate who shared their Catholic beliefs.
They knew each other professionally. Stan was a teller at the local bank where Mary, a lab technician at the hospital, had an account.
"He married me for my money," Mary quipped in a recent interview.
But it was an outing with other people that brought them together and now, having enjoyed nearly 42 years of marriage, the Pardells maintain a strong commitment to their faith, their six children and to each other.
They know that their happiness exists by the grace of God.
"God is within each of us so when we show respect for each other, we are respecting God," Mary said. "We have been blessed with beautiful and healthy children and grandchildren and we have many friends."
Stan and Mary were each looking to find someone who was truthful, kind and had a good work ethic. When they started dating, they felt as if they had found their best friend.
"We each had a foundation of good values from our parents," said Stan, 66, whose parents emigrated to the Bonnyville area from Poland. "We entered our marriage with the idea we would give it 100 per cent and be able to accept the give and take."
Mary, who grew up in Warspite near Smoky Lake, says they were careful not to dwell on the negative.
"We entered the marriage with a positive attitude which we have tried to keep," said Mary, 63. "It takes work, sometimes every day. If you want to think negative, you can, but everything will just fall apart."
As parents, the Pardells have not had to endure anything as serious as when Stan lost an older brother when he was 17. Their children and 12 grandchildren are all healthy. The Pardells admit to having the usual difficulties which occur in any intimate relationship, but they were always able to move beyond them because they talked things through. They communicated because there was an appreciated trust between them.
"Sometimes you have to go out on a limb to make your feelings known," Mary said. "I have always tried to be honest and sometimes you risk hurting your spouse."
Feeling exposed and vulnerable in order to communicate true feelings lends itself to a deeper sense of trust and intimacy, said Stan.
"It makes you feel like your spouse is not hiding anything from you. They are being totally open, telling you the way it is with them," he said.
The Pardells feel that everything comes from trust. It continues to strengthen their relationship and deepen their love.
"Mary and I have always made our family decisions together. I think our trust is actually healthy because it relieves stress," Stan said.
When the children began arriving, the Pardells decided Mary would stay home and raise them. They attribute the decision to the closeness of their family.
"We had six children within seven years," Mary said.
"We never spent money we didn't have, other than to have a roof over our heads," Stan said. "With my background in finances, we knew the value of money. I think that is where a lot of people run into trouble. They expect things to come today, and not wait until further down the road. It leads to tension in the relationship."
The Pardells put God and their family before anything they might desire as individuals. They brought their children to Mass every Sunday. They took them on vacation every summer. Everything was done with joy and gratitude.
"Our faith has maintained us through the years," Stan said.
After some 15 years, the Pardells went on a Marriage Encounter retreat. With six young children scurrying about, they found little time for themselves as a couple. They agreed that it was one of the best decisions they made.
"It gave us time to think. It really made us aware of where we were at," Mary said. "We were checking in with ourselves. For us, it was a positive thing to do."
The Pardells are now retired. Ten years ago they moved to an acreage northwest of Stony Plain.
They are active members with Holy Trinity Parish in Spruce Grove. Mary helps with pastoral care and is involved with the CWL. Stan joined the Knights of Columbus more than 40 years ago. They are both ministers of the Holy Eucharist.
Stan can be found whittling away in the garage where he has set up a woodworking shop. Mary enjoys crafts and weekly meetings with various ladies groups.
They enjoy their family time together as well as doing activities on their own.
"For a marriage to be successful, there has to be a certain amount of freedom," Stan said. "And freedom comes from trusting each other."
"Freedom comes from trusting each other."
- Stan Pardell
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