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Better Together: 8 Local Couples We Love

01/31/2019 02:38PM

When it comes to love, anything goes. The ways people meet and their secrets to success are as unique as each couple. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we tracked down eight real-life duos whose stories and admiration for one another are guaranteed to give you relationship envy. 

Faith and Curtis Knappenberger, Rocklin

Faith, 40, and Curtis, 39, each came to the altar with three children and have affectionately dubbed themselves the “Knappy Bunch”—a modern-day Brady Bunch as a family of eight. It was serendipity for Faith when the handsome country boy who caught her eye at church turned up in her inbox. After six months of dating, they tied the knot. 

Faith and Curtis Knappenberger

How did you meet, and what was your first impression of the other person? 

Faith: I first noticed Curtis and his kids at Destiny Christian Church in Rocklin. He stood out because he was wearing cowboy boots and I wondered where this cute country boy was from! A few weeks later, I got a message on After we’d been chatting for a while, I realized he was the same guy from church. We had our first date about a week later at Starbucks, where he was friendly, hilarious, open, and kind. We immediately clicked, and I knew it was something special. 

Curtis: I found her on, where we had actually signed up on the same day. After seeing her pictures online, I thought she was beautiful…and way out of my league. I read more of her profile and knew she was the one I wanted, so I messaged her immediately. My first impression on our coffee date was “awe.” I was seriously blown away. 

How did you know the other person was “the one”? 

Faith: I was looking for someone with traditional Christian values who was a great dad and wanted a serious relationship that would lead to marriage. The thing is, finding someone who wanted those things in my age range was like finding a needle in a haystack—entering the dating scene in your late thirties is scary. Curtis more than fulfilled all of these areas, plus he pursued me and made me feel loved, beautiful, and special. I knew on our second date that he was the one! 

Curtis: I had recently given my life back to God after some failed relationships. I knew I wanted “the one” and was tired of wasting my time. I prayed that God would bring me a faithful Christian woman who would love me for who I am. After our first date, I told my friends I was ready to cancel my subscription; after our second date, I knew she was the one. 

What’s your go-to date night? 

Faith: Browsing through Barnes & Noble with a coffee, then dinner and drinks at Paul Martin’s American Grill. 

Curtis: A backyard fire pit and BBQ. 

What’s your favorite thing to do together? 

Faith: Spending a day at the ocean in Laguna Beach with our kids. We created a new annual tradition where we stay down there for a few days and enjoy the gorgeous weather as a family. 

Curtis: I love sharing my passion for hunting and shooting with her. Anything from teaching her how to shoot a bow to hiking around the mountains and enjoying everything God has given us. 

What’s been the most trying time throughout your relationship, and how did you work through it? 

Faith: Overcoming baggage, fear, and pain from the past. It can still be a struggle, and to manage it, we pray together, talk about our feelings, and continue to nurture and strengthen our relationship with one another. 

Curtis: My wife is pretty much a saint, and I’d been a bit of a wild boy for a while. My past has been difficult for us to overcome, but we’ve gotten through it with prayer, communication, and reassurance. Changed behavior is more powerful than words.

What’s your favorite thing about the other person? 

Faith: He keeps me constantly entertained with his fun personality, comments, and jokes. Curtis is also amazing at complimenting me and making me feel loved and treasured. 

Curtis: She’s so beautiful, inside and out, and is the most driven and motivated person I know. 

What’s one thing the other person does that drives you nuts? 

Faith: Curtis has zero filter, and although it can be funny, sometimes it causes issues and frustration. 

Curtis: She over-thinks and over-analyzes things. 

What’s your best relationship advice for other couples? 

Faith: Forgive easily and often and be the other person’s biggest fan and greatest supporter. With a blended family, it’s very important to be a united front and to have lots of patience, understanding, and love for everyone. 

Curtis: Realize that none of us are perfect, and we all have flaws and baggage. Don’t expect your partner to be just like you, to think like you do, or to act like you do. If you love your partner, you’ll accept their flaws and differences, you’ll be patient, and you’ll realize that they’re worth fighting for. Communication and forgiveness are a must. 

Marichelle and Sherif Boctor, Folsom

Marichelle, 52, and Sherif, 51, both immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines and Egypt, respectively, in 1975. They were junior high school sweethearts—well, until somebody got dumped over a bad haircut. The two reconciled a few years, and inches, later, and recently celebrated their 33rd anniversary. 

Marichelle and Sherif Boctor

How did you meet, and what was your first impression of the other person?

Marichelle: We met in seventh grade. I thought he was so cute with his big afro and high-pitched, hoarse voice. We “dated” for three weeks, until he broke up with me after my sister cut my hair. I hated him! 

Sherif: We first met in junior high school. I couldn’t stop thinking about this cute Filipino girl. She was just so cute and funny and tiny—not even five feet tall. We were actually the same height, but she never grew! We were each other’s first boyfriend and girlfriend for a short period of time—until her sister cut her hair and she looked like a boy, so I dumped her when we were 13. Her hair, among other things, had grown when we got to high school. We got together again at the start of our senior year and have been together ever since. 

How did you know the other person was “the one”? 

Marichelle: After dating for 10 years, we were still the best of friends—and I didn’t want to start over!

Sherif: I was always happy and laughing whenever we were together, and it’s still that way today. 

What’s your go-to date night? 

Marichelle: Food and good wine and great conversation about our kids. 

Sherif: Going out for appetizers and wine. 

What’s your favorite thing to do together? 

Marichelle: I love planning our family vacations. Now that our kids are older, we can travel outside the country. Not to mention, Sherif and I are able to get away on our own. 

Sherif: Church, family vacations, walking our dog every day, and going to Costco together. It seems like we go to Costco three times a week. 

What’s been the most trying time throughout your relationship, and how did you work through it? 

Marichelle: I lost my dad in 2007. The kids were so young at the time that I never left them, ever. With my dad being sick, I couldn’t always take them with me, and there were a lot of hospital trips. Sherif gave me all the time I needed to spend with my dad. He continued to work and took care of the kids. I had his full support, and it meant everything to me to spend that time with my dad. 

Sherif: When we started having kids and had to manage work, home, and life. We made sure that we communicated the best that we could, which isn’t always easy with so much going on.

What’s your favorite thing about the other person? 

Marichelle: He’s kind, generous, and freaking hilarious. He’s the best person in the world. 

Sherif: She’s the most amazing mother, is incredibly beautiful, and the funniest person I know. 

What’s one thing the other person does that drives you nuts? 

Marichelle: He is the worst driver. 

Sherif: Her OCD. Once she does something one way, life almost stops if you try to change it. 

What’s your best relationship advice for other couples? 

Marichelle: Don’t take yourself too seriously. Sherif can always make me laugh. 

Sherif: Laugh a lot. 

How do you define love? 

Marichelle: I think love is being just as content whether you’re sitting on the couch watching television or on a beach in some beautiful place, as long as you’re together. 

Sherif: Putting what makes your partner happy ahead of what makes you happy.

Cristina Mendonsa and Jonathan Robinette, Folsom

It was more than 26 years ago when news reporter Cristina, 50, met middle school teacher/administrator Jonathan, 49, who was working as the bar manager at a favorite happy hour watering hole. The pair clicked instantly and married a year and a half later, crediting their loves of hiking and humor to their relationship’s success. 

Cristina Mendonsa and Jonathan Robinette

How did you meet, and what was your first impression of the other person? 

Cristina: A mutual friend introduced me to Jonathan. He was managing a bar in Denver where all of us reporters would hang out after the late-night newscast. My first impression? He was intelligent and witty, and he had the bluest eyes I had ever seen…and just enough mischief in them to be exciting. 

Jonathan: We met through a mutual friend, and my first impression was literally, “That’s the woman I’m going to marry.” 

What’s your favorite thing to do together? 

Cristina: Definitely hike. We’ve hiked a lot of the Oregon coast, we’ve hiked in Canada, and we love local trails. We’re happiest with a pack and miles of trails to explore. We also love to wine taste and go on culinary tours. 

Jonathan: My favorite thing to do with her is to be a middle-aged hippie staggering through the North American wilderness. 

How did you know the other person was “the one”? 

Cristina: I wouldn’t say there was a magic moment, but I would say there was a quick recognition that my heart had found its home. It sounds corny, but his energy just encircled me. Within a few months, I knew we would always be together. 

Jonathan: She was wearing a T-shirt that said, “I’m Number 1.” So, you know, I just kind of figured it out.

What’s one thing the other person does that drives you nuts? 

Cristina: I don’t like the way he loads the dishwasher, and some of his music drives me nuts. I’m trying to pull him into anything post 1998. 

Jonathan: When she tries to pull me into any music post 1998. 

What’s your go-to date night? 

Cristina: We are BO-RING. We like to hike and drink beer. We go to bookstores and read to each other. We have a small group of friends that we dine with regularly, but we’re kind of introverts. Our clubbing days have passed, but we’re usually up for a wine tour. We did the Sac Brew Bike recently, which was loud and fun. We’d do that again. 

Jonathan: That definitely sounds like us. But you probably don’t need to capitalize and hyphenate “boring.”

 What’s been the most trying time throughout your relationship, and how did you work through it? 

Cristina: Again, hiking is usually the answer. We’ve solved a lot of problems by talking them out on the trail. We’ve had the same problems everyone has: jobs, family, business, and all that crazy stuff that seems devastating when it happens and then doesn’t seem so important in hindsight. We talk a lot, and we text; we keep communication open, and even if we aren’t agreeing on something, we respect each other. I think it’s dangerous for marriage when you lose respect for your spouse. 

Jonathan: When she talked me into buying a restaurant. In Denver. In January. 

What’s your best relationship advice for other couples? 

Cristina: Every day, I wake up and try to think of what I can do to make his life easier today. He does the same for me. When I wake up for work at 2:30 a.m., my coffee is made. He cooks most nights. And he has a great sense of humor, which is huge. The only arguments I remember have ended with one of us making a joke—and he has better jokes. 

Jonathan: If you learn to cook well, she won’t make you learn to dance. Everyone wins. 

How do you define love? 

Cristina: Thinking of others before yourself. Jon does that for me every day, and I strive to do it for him. I pray we have many more years together. 

Jonathan: Love is something that transcends words. Marceline Desbordes-Valmore said, “Two hearts in love need no words.” 

Erin and Dane Forsberg, El Dorado Hills

 Perhaps it’s in their blood: High school sweethearts Erin, 33, and Dane, 34, found out that both of their parents shared the same wedding anniversary—June 24, 1978—and lived on the same rural road. The couple, who wed on June 22, 2012, will welcome their first daughter this March. 

Erin and Dane Forsberg

How did you meet, and what was your first impression of the other person? 

Erin: We met at Oak Ridge High School through mutual friends in 2002. Dane was a junior and I was a sophomore. I always wanted to meet him because he was cute, smart, athletic, and I knew he lived down the street from me. I was so excited when we ended up in the same Spanish class, where we instantly hit it off. 

Dane: We first met when a mutual friend brought her over to my house to hang out. Her bubbly personality was infectious, and I remember immediately wanting to get to know her better. I lucked out when she showed up in my Spanish class on the first day of school. 

What’s your favorite thing to do together? 

Erin: We love music festivals and getting together with friends for a night on the town. 

Dane: Discovering new artists to listen to and seeing our favorite bands live at concerts and music festivals. 

How did you know the other person was “the one”? 

Erin: He’s just a good guy. He’s smart, calm, loyal, trustworthy, and fun. Even through our five years of long-distance and going to different colleges, I was never willing to break up and see other people. I knew we had a good thing and something special that I didn’t want to give up on. He’s my best friend. 

Dane: Erin came down to San Luis Obispo to live with me while I finished school at Cal Poly. I remember how wonderful it was to spend time with her day in and day out. She was the perfect roommate, and we made so many happy memories in that short period of time. I knew I wanted her to be my roommate forever. 

What’s your go-to date night? 

Erin: While living in Sacramento, we loved trying out new restaurants and bars, going to Kings games, or concerts in the park. However, with a baby on the way, our last date night was spent registering at Buy Buy Baby. 

Dane: Our go-to date night is to find a new restaurant to check out in Sacramento. It’s hard to beat a good meal at a happening spot. 

What’s your favorite thing about the other person? 

Erin: His calm demeanor and that he never loses his temper. He’s also a great dancer.

Dane: Her beautiful blonde curly hair. I also love her outgoing and positive nature—she’s always the life of the party.  

What’s been the most trying time throughout your relationship, and how did you work through it? 

Erin: Besides surviving five years in a long-distance relationship, we’ve also dealt with mental illness and deaths of friends and family members. We’re both optimistic people who always try to see the bright side and know that things will get better eventually…and then they might get bad again, but that’s what makes us appreciate the little things. Even while going through a dark and trying time, I know we’re lucky in so many other ways and have an amazing support system of family and friends. 

Dane: Erin and I spent a lot of time apart very early in our relationship, as I was in school in San Luis Obispo and she was up in Sonoma. We made it through the long distance by talking to each other about our days and weeks and sharing as much time as we could together by taking the trip by car or train. 

What’s one thing the other person does that drives you nuts? 

Erin: The way he “cleans” or does the dishes. Also, he leaves bags open, like chips, crackers, and cereal, and then they go stale. 

Dane: She tends to have a tornado effect on her closet. As the week goes on, more and more clothes are strewn about as she tries on multiple outfits before making a final decision. 

What’s your best relationship advice for other couples? 

Erin: Keep it simple and take it slow. We genuinely like each other as friends, trust each other, and balance each other out. 

Dane: Find the things you love to do together and make the time to do them.

How do you define love? 

Erin: Finding someone who appreciates your quirks and everything you bring to the table—good and bad. 

Dane: Love is finding the person who brings out the best in you. 

Kate and Bobby Gonzalez, Roseville 

Dance studio owner and traveling consultant Bobby, 55, thought he never wanted to get married again. Spoiler alert: He was wrong. Kate, 34, a dance instructor and now studio owner herself, waltzed into his life and the couple married two years ago. 

Kate and Bobby Gonzalez

How did you meet, and what was your first impression of the other person? 

Kate: We met through work. Bobby was already well known in the industry, so he was pretty intimidating to me at first. 

Bobby: I met Kate through our work at Arthur Murray Dance Studios. I was living in San Jose and she was living in the Sacramento area. I moved to Roseville and got to see her more frequently, as our circle of friends became closer, and we got to know each other better over the years. My first impression of her was that she was a talented dancer and singer. At that time, I thought of her as a friend. 

What’s your go-to date night? 

Kate: We go grocery shopping and he cooks me a meal. 

Bobby: We’re always busy and on the go, so we love spending time at home. Typically, I cook dinner for us. We also like to get foot reflexology together. If we could hold hands during the massage, she would love it. 

How did you know the other person was “the one”? 

Kate: I’m a very goal-oriented person, and a lot of the things I’ve done in life were toward my goals, my happiness, and my own fulfillment. When his happiness became just as important to me, even though it didn’t have anything to do with my plans, I knew [he] had changed my life for the better. 

Bobby: When Kate and I started dating, I was at a place in my life where I thought that I would never want to get married again. As we grew closer and my feelings for her deepened, I had a change of heart. I remember being on a work trip and missing her like crazy. That’s when I realized it. 

What’s your favorite thing to do together? 

Kate: I’m a cuddler. I can never get enough cuddles! 

Bobby: Reflexology, naps, and traveling. 

What’s your favorite thing about the other person? 

Kate: He’s the best traveling companion and the ultimate gentleman. He still opens my car door. He’s kind, empathetic, and can light up a room when he walks in. He’s an amazing cook, does laundry and irons clothes better than I do, and he takes very good care of his shoes. 

Bobby: Kate is a loving, kind person. She’s super smart, motivated, and giving. She’s a big thinker and she makes our goals happen. I love her heart and that we share the same faith. 

What’s been the most trying time throughout your relationship, and how did you work through it? 

Kate: Sometimes he goes out of town for weeks at a time. I try to brace for it and submerge myself into more work, and we always connect every day, whether it’s a text, voicemail, e-mail, or FaceTime. When he gets home, we make sure we make time to be together. 

Bobby: The most trying times are when I’m on a long trip and far from home. Sometimes FaceTime helps. We once watched an episode of Game of Thrones via FaceTime on a long-distance date night. 

What’s one thing the other person does that drives you nuts? 

Kate: He’s a slow driver and always waits until the garbage is overflowing before he takes it out. 

Bobby: When she does laundry, she washes everything in the washing machine and dryer. 

What’s your best relationship advice for other couples? 

Kate: You can never say “I love you” too many times to each other. 

Bobby: Take time to hold hands. It’s OK to be sappy. 

How do you define love? 

Kate: Love is when your happiness is their happiness. 

Bobby: Love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning.

Marian and Michael McKone, Gold River

Together since 1957, Michigan natives Marian, 88, and Michael, 89, are celebrating 62 years of marriage. A retired defense litigator, Michael’s work brought him to California some 60 years ago, and the couple decided to call Sacramento home. The long-time empty nesters (sons Michael Jr. and Brian are in their late 50s) are, in fact, just like us: They, too, spend a lot of their free time scrolling through Netflix. 

Marian and Michael McKone

How did you meet, and what was your first impression of the other person? 

Marian: I met Michael when I was a student at the University of Michigan. We met through mutual friends, but he was on a date with another woman at a party. I had heard his name, and I had a date too! A few days later he called me up. I thought he was very handsome—he is still very handsome! 

Michael: Frankly, I can’t recall. I know it was favorable. 

What’s your favorite thing to do together? 

Marian: We can’t get out together as a couple much anymore, but we like watching Netflix. 

Michael: We watch The Office

How did you know the other person was “the one”? 

Marian: I guess we just fell in love. We enjoyed each other’s company. I was working part-time at a hospital where I’d get off at midnight, and he’d meet me for ice cream. We met in February, he asked me to marry him in August, and we were married the following February. 

Michael: When she said yes! 

What’s your favorite thing about the other person? 

Marian: His sense of humor. Even if we’re at odds about some particular thing, he’ll come up with a smile. He’s also good-natured and always has a good attitude. 

Michael: She’s a very good friend. I like being with her, she listens to me, and I have to say, I’ve never caught her without an opinion. She was a very good choice. 

What’s your best relationship advice for other couples? 

Marian: A lot of it is luck, but I think you have to admire each other and enjoy being together. 

Michael: Take your time. 

How do you define love? 

Marian: Love is something there between you. I know he loves me, and he knows I love him. It’s a feeling of comfort with the other person. 

Michael: I think it’s basically a question of reliance. You rely upon the reaction of what the other will be to a given situation, and you can pretty much anticipate how they’re going to respond, and you love that you can rely on that. 

Julie and John Hilton, Lincoln

It’s a tale of boy hears girl on the radio, boy sends flowers to girl’s work and insists he isn’t crazy, boy meets girl, and they end up living happily ever after. Married for 12 years, Julie, 47, and John, 51, are a charming example of what can happen when you tune in. 

Julie and John Hilton

How did you meet, and what was your first impression of the other person? 

John: Julie worked for a local country radio station, and I listened to her for several years. I wanted to meet the voice on the radio that made me laugh every morning. I assumed she was getting married because she left the station for a couple of years. Years later [after she returned, and I found out she was single], I contacted the radio station asking for her e-mail address, but it was incorrect. (Thanks, Tom.) A couple of months later, I sent a half-dozen roses to her office with a card explaining who I was and saying I wanted to meet her and wasn’t a weirdo. On our first date, my impression was that she had an attitude and could hold her own, but she was also very funny and beautiful. 

Julie: As soon as I got the roses and read the card, I thought, "Nope. Not going out with this guy." I e-mailed him to thank him, in case he was cuckoo and was waiting for me in the parking lot, upset because I didn’t thank him. I told some friends about what happened, and it turned out I knew people who knew him, and everyone said I should go out with him. It took a couple weeks of e-mailing before I agreed to meet him for a beer. When I walked in, I thought he was handsome but also nervous. He was very polite—he shook my hand when we said goodbye. I still make fun of him for that. 

What’s your favorite thing to do together? 

John: We like to golf, hike (it’s been a while), and go wine tasting. 

Julie: I like to make him go to Disneyland as often as possible. 

What’s your favorite thing about the other person? 

John: Definitely her sense of humor and her kindness. She’s also still the most beautiful woman I know. 

Julie: I love his dedication to our family. I love how he can explain things, whether it’s Common Core math or how to deal with things happening in life. I love his sense of humor and his smile. And I love how he’s my sugar daddy now. 

What’s your best relationship advice for other couples? 

John: Make sure you can live independently, but at the same time that you can depend on each other. 

Julie: Keep laughter in your relationship. Trust each other. Respect each other. And bring home tacos.

Mari Sciamanna and Sigrid Zandate, Placerville

Mari, 51, and Sigrid’s, 55, first date was going well—so well that they sat in the car for half an hour after dinner. A black cat had just crossed their path, and, determined not to jinx anything, superstitious Mari was waiting for another car to go first. Something magical happened that night, though, because that was more than 16 years ago. The couple now owns Amore Mio Bistro in Placerville, where they share their second love—their love of food—with others. 

Mari Sciamanna and Sigrid Zandate

How did you meet, and what was your first impression of the other person? 

Mari: It was September 2002, and our first date was at an Italian restaurant in Long Beach. We were both really nervous. My first impression was that I loved Sigrid’s eyes. They were green and deep. 

Sigrid: I loved Mari’s accent. 

How did you know the other person was “the one”? 

Mari: We weren’t looking for the perfect soul back then, but it just happened. 

Sigrid: And we both knew it from the first moment.

What’s your go-to date night? 

Mari: We love to travel—our honeymoon in 2014 was to Europe with our two little dogs. 

Sigrid: We love concerts, plays, movies, and good dinners. 

What’s your favorite thing about the other person? 

Mari: She’s a super strong woman. 

Sigrid: She’s funny!

What’s one thing the other person does that drives you nuts? 

Mari: When she starts to talk to me in the morning before coffee and when she changes things in the house. 

Sigrid: When I speak seriously and she makes jokes. 

What’s your best relationship advice for other couples? 

Mari: Respect your alone time. Sigrid loves to meditate and read, and I love to write, so we both take time to ourselves. Being together but separated sometimes is not a bad thing, and respecting that is the strongest element in our relationship. We recently met a couple in their 80s from Paradise at our restaurant. They lost their home in the Camp Fire and were staying at a hotel. We offered them the dinner and watched them; they held hands the entire time they were eating. It’s easy to love each other when no challenges are in the way, but what they showed was love. That’s the secret: sticking together when times are rough. 

Sigrid: Have patience and respect and be willing to change as life changes as well. The magical key to success is in those moments when you think, “This isn’t the same person I met a long time ago”; you met that person, you fell in love, they aren’t the same person anymore, but you love them more and more. 

By Luna Anona

Ask the Relationship Experts

Once you find love, how do you keep it? Read on for some top tips from local relationship counselors Suzy Lee, MA, MFT, and Joan Druckman, PhD. 

Q: What piece of advice do you think all couples would benefit from? 

Suzy: Many couples report that they’re no longer “in love” or that they’ve “fallen out of love” with their partners. My response is that love is a verb, meaning to be in love requires action. What have you done lately to be in love with your partner? You need to do something to improve your relationship every day. 

Joan: Couples should recognize that differences and conflict are not necessarily a problem. The problem arises when couples don’t know how to repair conflicts and differences with care and respect. 

Q: Other than go on dates, what’s something long-term couples can do to keep the spark alive? 

Suzy: Often, couples are willing to be intimate with each other physically, but they don’t talk about their needs, wants, and desires sexually. Start a conversation with your partner about what you enjoy about your sex life, what you’d like to change, and what you’d like to add. 

Joan: Intimacy requires an openness and willingness to let your partner know you deeply. I sometimes tell couples that intimacy means “into me see.” Letting your partner know your desires and wants is a significant part of romantic intimacy. 

Q: How can couples actively improve their communication skills?

Suzy: Have you ever been so focused on how you’ll respond to your partner rather than actually listening to what they say? Instead, listen to your partner; repeat back the message you heard and them ask them, “Did I get that right?” Once your partner acknowledges you understand them, ask, “Is there more?” This can help your partner feel that they have your attention. 

Joan: To get to the heart of communication, learn how to listen to the emotional message your partner is sending. Getting caught up in facts doesn’t get you to understanding; rather, hearing and sharing emotional truths does. 

Q: When you meet a couple, what’s the biggest indicator that they’re happy together? 

Suzy: It can vary to couple to couple, but relationship researcher and author John Gottman says couples who don’t use criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling have a much better chance of staying together. 

Joan: When people are willing to let their partners into their inner worlds, when they can laugh and enjoy each other’s company (even when they aren’t around other people or their kids), when they know—deep inside—that they can depend on their partner, and most importantly, when they feel emotionally safe with one another. 

Q: What common piece of relationship wisdom may not actually be true? 

Suzy: “If he/she loved me, he/she would know what I want.” We want our partners to know us so well, but we all have different needs and don’t always know what our partners want from us in any given moment. Couples who clearly communicate what they want from their partners will be more satisfied in their relationships. 

Joan: It may be untrue that couples need to feel “in love” to experience relationship satisfaction. Feeling “in love” is usually a temporary experience in the first 18 months of a relationship. What follows is learning how to deeply connect to your partner, building a lifetime of experiences together, and relying on one another.

—Suzy Lee, MA, MFT, 530 Plaza Drive, Suite 130, Folsom, 916-799-1644,; Joan Druckman, PhD, Psychologist and Couples Therapy, 1845 Iron Point Road, Suite 180, Folsom, 916-847-5328,

10 Romantic Restaurants

It’s a fact that regular date nights help keep relationships going strong. Take your love out on the town at some of our favorite dinner destinations. 

For French country dining: 

La Provence Restaurant & Terrace, 110 Diamond Creek Place, Roseville, 916-789-2002,

For warm and sophisticated ambiance: 

Sienna, 3909 Park Drive, El Dorado Hills, 916-941-9694; 1480 Eurkea Road, Roseville, 916-771-4700, 

For a five-course chef’s tasting menu: 

Hawks Restaurant, 5530 Douglas Boulevard, Granite Bay, 916-791-6200, 

For a seriously good steak: 

Sutter Street Steakhouse, 604 Sutter Street, Folsom, 916-351-9100, 

For juicy prime rib: 

Bacchus House Bistro, 1004 East Bidwell Street, Suite 100, Folsom, 916-984-7500, 

For rustic flair and modern American fare: 

The Independent, 629 Main Street, Placerville, 530-344-7645, 

For an elevated bar menu: 

Chef’s Table, 6843 Lonetree Boulevard, Suite 103, Rocklin, 916-771-5656,

For a classic American steakhouse vibe: 

C. Knight’s Steakhouse, 2085 Vine Street, Suite 101, El Dorado Hills, 916-235-1730, 

For farm-sourced casual fine dining: 

Smith Flat House, 2021 Smith Flat Road, Placerville, 530-621-1003,


For a guaranteed memorable dining experience: 

Taste, 9402 Main Street, Plymouth, 209-245-3463,

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