Two Love Stories and the Importance of Sharing the Traditional Role of Homemaker and Caregiver

February 13, 2023

Historically, traditional roles within couples have shown women in the primary homemaker and caregiver. Two couples at Artman, Bob and Marilyn Adick, and Jim and Betty Denardo, have broken the mold of those roles, because the men share those duties with their wives, and have done so throughout their marriages.

Meet Bob and Marilyn Adick

Bob and Marilyn met in High School. “She was the most beautiful girl in the school; an excellent student, very intelligent, so I wanted to get to know her, but I didn’t think she would be interested in me. We hit it off right away and she asked why I hadn’t asked her out earlier,” says Bob.

“It became apparent that we would either have to break up or get engaged because the strict school we attended discouraged serious relationships,” he adds. “I wasn’t about to break up with her, so we got engaged and married shortly thereafter.”
When Bob joined the Air Force, they were separated while he was overseas. Once he returned, together Marilyn and he worked as a team.

“Throughout our lives, careers and childrearing years, we shared responsibilities,” Bob explains. “When I returned from the military and was working, she was a principal, running a school. It just made sense that we both shared the daily responsibilities. It’s always worked for us to mutually take care of one another.”

Meet Jim and Betty Denardo

Like the Adicks, Jim and Betty have known each other for years; however, they’ve been married only 23 years. Each was married to another partner.

Jim was friends with Betty’s husband, and Betty friends with Jim’s wife. “We often socialized together,” says Jim.

In the 1990’s, after Betty lost her husband, and Jim lost his wife, Jim’s daughter suggested that he take a ceramics class. She casually mentioned that it might be nice to invite Betty to join the class.

Jim explains, “Betty and I started going out to eat after ceramics class, and before long, we realized that we shared many common bonds beyond doing ceramics. We both suffered losses of children as well as spouses, so we have an understanding of what the other has gone through.”

Before Jim and Betty got married, Jim enjoyed baking and cooking, and he had acquired many culinary tools. He shares that after they married, Betty said, “if you want to do the cooking, go right ahead!”

He also took over doing the laundry, and admits, “One of the great aspects of moving to Artman is that I have been able to relinquish that role.”

“The Denardos and the Adicks are role models around here,” shares Dana O’Donnell, Executive Director. “Their love and compassion is contagious.”