Robyn and Robbie Valentine have been married for a year and a half, but having been together for about seven years, they know a thing or two about what makes a relationship work.
Robbie, who played on the University of Louisville’s 1986 NCAA basketball championship team, compares a relationship to playing defense in basketball.
“You have to know each other’s moves,” he said.
And that all starts with being best friends.
How did you meet?
“About seven years ago, I was in Greentree Mall. She was in Chick-fil-A with her daughter,” Robbie said. “I was ordering my food, and they were ordering their food. Of course, I kept looking at her. So we ordered our food, and she went to sit at her table with her daughter, and I sat at a table by myself.
“When I went up to get some ketchup, she went up at the same time, and they gave her like eight packets, and she gave me a couple,” Robbie said.
After going back to his table, Robbie overheard Robyn’s daughter say, “He spoke at my elementary school.”
“So I went back to the mall, and after about 10 minutes, I thought, ‘I’m going back in there,’ and they were gone.”
That was a Thursday night.
The following Saturday, Robbie visited a club called Vinny’s, and when he walked in, he saw Robyn.
“It was really interesting because I was brave,” Robbie said. “I noticed she saw me too because she kind of tapped her friend and said, ‘That’s that guy I met.’ So she went out to dance on the dance floor, and I went out on the dance floor and tapped her on the shoulder … and I started talking to her. And right when she started talking to me, I kissed her.”
“Yes, he did,” Robyn chimed in.
Robbie gave Robyn his phone number.
“She called me Monday,” he said. “And it just kind of went from there, and here we are.”
How did he propose?
“We were at dinner at (T.G.I.) Friday’s restaurant, which is his favorite,” Robyn said.
Where do you like to go when you are out and about?
“Of course Friday’s is my absolute favorite restaurant,” Robbie said, “but we love Morton’s, Jeff Ruby’s – it’s not like we go all the time. We also love Wick’s Pizza.”
How do you make it work on a day-to-day basis?
“I think the most important thing is communication,” Robbie said. “I don’t think any relationship is perfect, but you’ve got to work at it. Robyn and I both have been married before.”
“He has three children,” Robyn said. “I have three children. We have a granddaughter, so we have a very busy schedule, so a lot of communication.”
“It’s 100 percent communication, but at the same time, it takes work,” Robbie said. “Ninety percent of the time everything we do is fun, and the other 10 percent of the time sometimes it gets stressful … I couldn’t be happier with my wife. She’s my best friend, and she’s fun, and she keeps it fun.”
Robyn didn’t have anything else to add.
“Am I fun?” Robbie asked with a laugh.
“You are fun, I’m sorry, you are fun,” Robyn added with a smile. “We do have fun together.”
What are some things you always do as a couple?
“We go out with married couple friends, and we enjoy doing that,” Robbie said. “We don’t do the bar thing, but we’ll do dinner and maybe hang out for an hour or two. We’re very private. We stay at home a lot. We do a lot with our kids. I have a senior in high school, and she has a junior in high school, and her middle daughter has a baby, so between all of that, it makes us run a lot, which we enjoy.”
“Right now we’re preparing for a graduation, and my daughter is getting married at the end of May, so there’s a lot going on,” Robyn said.
“Blended families are a beast sometimes, but we all make it work,” Robbie said.
The Valentines also attend Northside Christian Church together.
“I think it’s important to have God in your marriage,” Robyn said.
What advice would you offer to couples – young or old – who want to walk through life In Tandem?
“I’ve been giving my daughter a lot of advice because she is getting ready to get married,” Robyn said. “I think one of the biggest things is to respect each other and to trust one another and to communicate – always keep that line of communication open. Don’t hold back anything; don’t have any secrets. Be the best of friends and have fun together.”
“Like Robyn said, you need to have fun,” Robbie added. “As you get older, you mature in a lot of areas that maybe you were weaker in when you were younger, but you have to be wise, but also, in a lot of ways, we were so meant for each other.
“You have to know each other’s moves. If you play basketball, you watch the videotape and you want to watch the other person and that way when you finally get a chance to guard that person, you want to know his or her every move. We know each other. You have to be best friends.
“We learn every day, and we listen, and that’s one reason why we spend so much time with married couples because you listen and you can learn from them as well – good and bad.
“It’s very important that what happens in your home stays in your home,” Robbie said. “You can really hurt relationships when you share with too many people what’s going on at home.”
“You have to be careful who you invite into your relationship,” Robyn said.
Oct. 9, 2009
Robyn has three children: Ashley (24), Lindsy (22) and Kristyn (17); Robbie also has three children: twins Eric and Aaron (21) and Brooke (18).
Cards or Cats?
“I most definitely love the Cardinals,” Robbie said. “Kenny Payne (who played on the 1986 championship team) is Calipari’s top assistant, so I do like Kentucky a lot. I love my Cardinals, but I like the Cats.”
Robbie is the assistant general manager at the KFC Yum! Center, and Robyn is the assistant corporate credit manager for Metal Sales Manufacturing Corp.
Category: In Tandem
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Jacob Glassner, News Editor/Plate Spinner
Jacob usually has his eyes glued to a computer screen, editing stories and making sure the paper gets out the door each week. Multi-tasking is his modus operandi – similar to the plate spinners you’d see on the old “Ed Sullivan Show.” Turn ons: freshly-sharpened pencils. Turn offs: exclamation points!!!