The elated couple stood side-by-side, holding each other’s hands by only their pinkies. This was the moment when they said “I do” and pinky swore to be honest and faithful to each other every day. That was 16 years ago for Truckee residents Andy and Naomi Berendsen, and that pinky promise has never been broken.
Andy and Naomi both claim that they have never once been in a fight with each other. This is an extraordinary thing to have in a world where fighting is understood as a necessary part of marriage and many marriages end in divorce.
“Life’s too short to fight,” Andy, 49, said. “We took our vows seriously, even before marriage.”
Both Andy and Naomi vow that they married the smartest person they have ever met, and both enjoy the intellectual side of life together. They share a love for movies, and often recite movie lines in their daily conversations. Andy will tell you they are similar because they are both nice, good looking, and care for each other.
They met 21 years ago in Cupertino, Calif. Andy mixed drinks at an establishment where bartenders also danced on top of the bar. Naomi was a patron and Andy danced his way into her heart. Recently divorced, Naomi had moved back to California from Colorado only a week prior to meeting her future husband. After just two months of dating, they moved in together, bringing along children from previous marriages; Naomi had two teenage girls and Andy had a young daughter.
The relationship didn’t start out easy. The couple decided to always have one parent at home with the children to provide stability for their newly blended family. Naomi and Andy both worked different shifts five days a week, Naomi in the hotel industry and Andy, a former pro-skateboarder, at the bar. He was also attending school. Seeing each other for only an hour a day was hard, but they made it work, and now they rarely spend time apart.
Both Andy and Naomi had thought they would never get married again, but after dating for a few years, they made their way to a Reno courthouse on New Year’s Eve in 1997 and got married.
“It was a neat thing to do a legally binding thing,” Andy said. “We were making a promise forever.”
Flash forward to the present. Andy and Naomi are happy and still in love. In 16 years of marriage, only twice have they spent more than two days apart.
“We aren’t clingy or obsessive, we just naturally prefer to be together,” Naomi, 58, said.
Andy currently works at Sugar Bowl and Naomi works for Alpine Chimney and Stove. After the workday ends, they often meet downtown for an afternoon stroll and a nightcap.
Andy and Naomi said the secret to their successful marriage is simple: Don’t lie, not even little lies, pay attention, and trust each other.