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Thu, Dec. 12

Communication, 'little things' have kept Tenneys married 35 years

It always takes folks by surprise when they fall in love. People will buy candy, flowers and even cars and houses for the one they love. But after a while, they enter into the ultimate symbol of love – marriage.

Carl and Linda Tenney met on a blind date in college in 1966, and they've been together ever since.

The two went to college at Brigham Young University in Utah. They went to church for their "first date."

"Linda had roommates that knew me and her," Carl said. "They saw me in the grocery store and gave me her name and phone number. I called her and set up a date."

Their relationship continued not unlike any other relationship. The two went out to the movies and to dances. Later on, the two attended summer school, and that's when their love really blossomed, Carl said.

Carl knew right away that he wanted to spend his life with Linda.

"I knew she was pretty much the one I wanted after I met her," the Chino Valley town manager admitted.

Linda's epiphany was a little different, however.

"I was in the bathroom one day, curling my hair," Linda said. "And it was like a ray coming down that said that I was in love."

At age 16, Linda had made a list of 21 characteristics she wanted in a husband.

"Carl met every one of them but one," Linda said with an innocent smile.

The two married and had five children – Cindy, Tad, Juliann, Tyler and Amy. Four of the children married themselves and provided the Tenneys with 14 grandchildren.

"Linda had lived on a farm in central Utah. We spent a lot of happy vacations at that farm," Carl said.

Carl stresses that the key to a life-long relationship of love is communication.

"Clear communication is important, expressing your needs and caring for your mate," Carl said.

Linda agrees. "If you don't work through it (right away), you'll have to do it eventually."

But other things help to keep the love fire burning.

"It's the little things that count. The little things make it special," Linda said. As an example, she explained, "Whenever Carl takes a shower, he leaves a towel for me when I take my shower."

Laughter helps, too, Linda added. "Laughter helps in the bad times and accentuates the good."

Love takes a lot of work, Linda said, but it is worth it in the end.

"It's all about bringing together the roots to form a more beautiful flower," Linda said. "It's about not forgetting where you came from, but coming together and making something more beautiful."

After 35 years of marriage, Carl and Linda Tenney remain as happy as when they first met.

"We're trying for another 35 years," Carl said. "I want to hear our names on Paul Harvey."

(Contact Lee Pulaski at

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