EXTENDED ENCOUNTERS: “Nadya and Bohdan."  By Lisa Ellex

EXTENDED ENCOUNTERS: “Nadya and Bohdan." By Lisa Ellex

. 4 min read

In her series exploring the magic in long-term relationships, Lisa Ellex speaks to a couple of 42 years on their “no bullshit” policy, and what else keeps them happily fishing together.

“I want to spend time with him.”

In reflecting on the life partner choices of myself and many of my friends, I have formulated my very own social theory. I refer to it as “The Pancake Theory”. Next time you make pancakes, notice how the first one doesn’t turn out quite as well as the ones to follow. This is a fact of my own scientific research.

There are, however, a fortunate few whose first pancake turned out fine. In fact, it turned out extremely fine. It’s worth finding out how. So I asked Nadya and Bohdan. She teaches yoga and meditation, he is an electrical engineer. Each morning before her husband’s commute, Nadya wakes at 4 a.m. so that she and Bohdan can “chat, laugh, and sip coffee together” until she sees him off to the 4:30 a.m. bus and readies for her own work day. When I marveled at her sacrificing sleep for this selfless act of love, Nadya responded, “I want to spend time with him.”

They first met 42 years ago in a youth group of a Ukrainian church. For the first seven years, Nadya thought of Bohdan as “just one of the guys” and they enjoyed a relationship as close friends. Then came the night of the Halloween party. Bohdan attended with a blind date. Nadya showed up solo.

“Bohdan’s date was not having me at all. After some time she asked, ‘Are you going to be here for the rest of the night?’ I said, ‘We’re all friends here,’ and with that, I turned to Bohdan and said, ‘I'm going down to the ladies room. Those stairs are dangerous for someone who's had a few drinks.’ Without missing a beat, he asked, ‘Would you like me to walk you?’ So we went downstairs and, like a gentleman, he waited for me. When I exited the ladies’ room, he smoothly backed me into the wall. I started talking, babbling, out of nerves. He put his hand over my mouth, not touching it, and said, ‘Shhh. There is no need for words,’ and planted our first kiss.

After college, I embarked on my career in television and it was really taking off. Suddenly, Bohdan saw this ‘girl’ from the youth group in a whole different light and it was a lot for him to handle. One night we were on the phone and he asked, ‘Why do you want to date me? Your life is so exciting and you know all these people.’ I said, ‘Because you’re nice.’ Bohdan manifested at a time in my life when I was surrounded with people who didn’t know who they were. I thought I would live a single life but when he came along with his kind and authentic heart, he broke through.”

Of Nadya, Bohdan says, “She’s the most dynamic woman I have ever met. As we were dating and becoming more (emotionally) intimate, I realized there were a lot more facets to Nadya than just the obvious. And it helped that we had a deeper connection by meeting through the youth group. When I was going through personal struggles in my academic life, she saw me through the stresses of it. But I really knew it would work when I discovered she liked fishing. Though we spent most of our dates fishing, it wasn’t about fishing. It was about being together and spending time in a natural setting. I felt a shift happen.”

Peeking in on this union so chock full of blessings, I wondered which aspect of their relationship they cherish most. Bohdan quickly responded.

“Honesty. How we communicate and how we resolve issues. Without that, it’s hard to have a marriage. There is no hiding anything from Nadya. She always knows if something is wrong.”

Nadya continues. “There is no bullshit with us. We say anything to each other and not hide our feelings, not hold back. We’ll talk about whatever it is and come up with strategies. But what I cherish most is our connection. Whether we are separated or together, we are each other’s home base. That the universe has gifted me with this man is beyond my comprehension.”

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