Doug and Lynda McCready, a married Michigan couple, were born on the exact same day in the same hospital and just recently, celebrated the same milestone: turning 50-years-old.
Both born on April 7, 1970, and just hours apart at Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital in Grand Rapids, their love story spans over 3 decades. When she was just one, Lynda moved to California but would make occasional trips back to Michigan during the summer as her grandparents lived in a cottage on Bills Lake next to Doug’s family’s summer cottage.
And those summers on the lake are what began Lynda and Doug’s love story which started the summer of 1986, when they were both 16-years-old and started to hang out with each other and their siblings. Doug shared: “We went to the movies, boated and swam in the lake, and hung out. I noticed her smile and laugh right away.”
Doug realized that summer that he had feelings for Lynda and finally told her — but after she had departed for California.
“My first attempt was minutes after she left for home in early August of 1986,” he says. “I had ‘fallen’ for her that summer but was way too shy to say anything. I told her brother to tell her I liked her.”
“I then proceeded to write her a love letter explaining how I felt and that we were destined to be together,” Doug went on.
“I did not get a return letter. I even called her on the phone — unheard of to call long distance — to see if she got it,” he shared. “She was speechless and didn’t know what to say. I eventually got a return letter stating ‘I’m flattered but I am not the one.’ I was devastated.”
Then, during their senior year of high school, it was Lynda’s turn to reciprocate the feelings.
“One Sunday after church, I called Doug to see if he wanted to go to the movies. I assumed that since he liked me so much — he wrote so many letters — that this would be an emphatic yes,” Lynda recalls. “When I asked him, he said, ‘Um, I can’t. The [Detroit] Lions are on.'”
“He had told me how much he loved me but when I finally ask him out he chooses football over me!” she joked.
Doug quipped back with: “As I always say, I was setting the precedent that once we got married that she would know that Sunday afternoons are for football and for me to watch my team!”
The couple, both 19-years-old, were finally on the same page romance-wise by June of 1989.
“He called me long distance the night I left for California in early August, and every night after,” Lynda shares. “We talked for four hours that first night. His phone bill was quite high!”
And three years later, Lynda moved back to Grand Rapids to be with Doug and the two were wed on June 20, 1992. They have since welcomed three sons, Jon, Matt, and David.
“Each year it seems like there is another ‘best part,'” Doug shares. “It is constantly evolving. Our three boys are such a huge part of our lives. Grandchildren will eventually become another ‘best part.'”
Lynda adds: “I totally agree with Doug, they get changed every year. The birth of each boy was life-changing and watching and teaching them to become responsible men has been a great part of my life… I look forward to all the new best parts.”
One of their best parts happened just earlier this month.
But while the pandemic interrupted their original plans to visit California, Doug shares how he and Lynda made it a special day in other ways – returning to the same spot with their love first came to be.
“The virus forced us to cancel the trip,” he shares. “We spent the day together going to the place where it all began, the cottage on Bills Lake in Newaygo. It was perfect. It means so much to celebrate together.”
“Our son who lives near us and his fianceé bought us a steak dinner and dropped it off to us,” Doug adds. “We plan on going to California at some point this year still [and] we will have a family gathering at our house at some point.”
And as they approach their 28th anniversary in June, the two believe the secret to a successful marriage lies in communication as well as spending quality time together.
“Communication is the key,” Lynda shares. “Talk through things with each other and never go to bed angry. Always say ‘I love you’ and kiss goodnight, even if we are still angry, and kiss in the morning too.”
“Doug has always called me on his lunch break to say hi and see how things were going,” she continues. “It is the little things he does that let me know he loves me and our family. He is always thinking about us.”
Doug adds: “The key is to find things you both enjoy and do together. It doesn’t matter what they are — the same TV shows, political views, cooking. Everyone has things they love to do that their spouse doesn’t, and that’s okay, but make it a priority to share as many things as possible.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.