Married Fifty Six Years and Still Happy!
This story of Ann and Jack’s 56 year marriage is helping Center Players celebrate the opening of its new hit romantic musical comedy, I Do! I Do!
Jack and Ann Draijer (pronounced "dryer") were born in Heemstede, Holland. Jack on August 30, 1932 and Ann on September 5, 1933. They married in Heemstede, Holland on January 26, 1957 and immigrated to the United States of America shortly thereafter. They traveled with a brother, Henk, and new sister-in-law, Grete, to a new country where they did not know the language. They only had two friends, Yoke and Sebastian Janmaat, currently living in the USA. They lived in Frenchtown, Cranbury and Hightstown, NJ in their early years of marriage. They came to the USA because, as a newly married couple, there was a housing shortage in Holland. The Dutch government promoted immigration to other countries, such as Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the United States.
Upon his arrival in the US, Jack became a gardener at the estate of Abraham Spinelli, a CEO and chairman at the International Playtex Corporation. This estate is presently the governor's mansion, known as Drumthwacket. After many different jobs, Jack worked with Prudential Insurance Company as an insurance sales representative, and retired after 25 years. Ann, over the years, worked as a tailor in a men's clothing store in Matawan.
They currently reside in Hazlet, New Jersey in a cape cod style home, that they themselves have updated over the years multiple times. They have four children, three girls and a boy, Yvonne, Patricia, Imelda and Frank. All the children are married and reside in New Jersey. They have ten grandchildren ranging in age from 23 to 10 years old.
When asked what was the secret to their 56 years of marriage, Ann answered, “It was good communication and understanding each other. Having similar interests - sports especially - also helps. Sports are a good outlet for stress, whether playing against each other or with others. Good health is also important, and with it, we were able to withstand a lot. We discuss everything, and think of the pros and cons of every situation. Compromise is a necessity. According to Jack, “We have shared a lot and have talked a lot. If one of us were really mad, we never stayed that way longer than a day. We asked ourselves if it was worth getting mad over.”
The advice that they have for couples entering into a relationship is to take the time to get to know each other very well. Both husband and wife should be aware of financial issues, and of what is going on in the family’s life. When you address these subjects, you become closer to each other. Another tip for success in a marriage is to have a good sense of humor, with which you can solve a lot of problems. You have to be able to joke about things. If you take everything too seriously it will not work. Ann stated, “We laugh about a lot of things that other people might be sitting and crying about.” She added, “And to have a nice cocktail every night can help, too.” Success can mean different things to different people; to the Draijers, their success was their family. They both say it is important that a couple agree what success means.
Additional hints for creating longevity in a relationship, especially in stressful situations, would be to: relax, talk to each other, and keep the television off. They are adamant that you must be able to communicate with each other. When things become complicated, the stress level increases. Simplicity creates tranquility. Simplify life and enjoy the love this creates!
“I Do! I Do!” premiers at Center Playhouse, located at 35 South Street in downtown Freehold, February 1st and runs through February 24th, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM. Tickets are $25 for Adults and $23 for Seniors & Students and include gourmet desserts and refreshments. Group rates for parties of ten or more are available. Seating is extremely limited so call the box office at (732) 462-9093 to reserve your seats or visit us online at www.CenterPlayers.org.