Las Vegas Sun

November 24, 2017

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Love, Las Vegas style: Four couples share their secrets to romance and happiness


Leila Navidi

Dick and Mary Hansen at their home in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012.

It's not hard spotting romance on the Strip, with couples falling in love atop the Eiffel Tower, alongside Bellagio's fountains and floating down a Venetian canal.

But love can blossom anywhere in our valley, and today we celebrate the love that grows in the most prosaic places.

Fairy tale romance, after all, doesn't have to come adorned in glitz and glitter.

Enjoy these love stories.

    • Sean and Suzie Su

      Sean and Suzie's romance began in the same place it flourishes today: at the microwave.

      Sean was a sophomore at the University of California, Irvine, when he met Suzie, a senior, at the microwave while warming his lunch.

      Sean, now 41, says Suzie, 42, made the first moves.

      After 15 years of marriage and two children, they still meet for lunch every day inside the office where he has his medical practice, Sexy Vegas Skin, and she has her dental practice, Sexy Vegas Smiles.

      It's just enough separation to give them some space, Sean says.

      "If you are with someone 24 hours a day, I don't know if you can handle it, but luckily we have a buffer," Sean says.

      The other necessity: good communication skills.

      "Whether it is yelling or soft speaking, as long as there is a dialogue between you two, everything will be fine," he says. "Screaming or yelling or kissing each other, everything will work out."

      "We are really opposite, so we really have to work hard on our relationship," Suzie says.

      "I think to keep your marriage going, every day should be a Valentine's Day," she adds. "I know it's corny, but Sean does it for me."

    • Tony and Valerie Kraft

      When Tony went home to Glendale, Calif., from Asia after three years in the Navy during World War II, the 20-year-old didn't have to look far for love. Valerie, who was 19, lived just down the street from his parents.

      "She was almost engaged to another guy," Tony remembers. "But I talked Valerie into marrying me."

      "I was good-looking then," he says from his motorized wheelchair in the Nevada State Veterans Home, where they both live.

      "To me, you've always been good-looking," she replies, reaching over and touching his arm.

      They married in 1947, raised their family — three children, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren — in Southern California before moving to North Las Vegas to live with their son when Tony, who is now 85, began to need help taking care of Valerie, who is 84.

      A few years ago, they moved to the Veterans Home, where they share a room.

      Tony: "We haven't had an argument in 30 or 40 years."

      Valerie: "I say it and he says, 'Yes, dear.' "

      Tony: "I knew when I met Valerie that her name was Mrs. Right. I didn't know her first name was Always. After a year or so, I decided I should listen to her more often."

      Later, Valerie leans in and kisses Tony on the cheek.

      "I think we'll stay together, OK Tony?" she says to him before turning to the onlookers and adding, "I don't think I could break in another guy like that."

    • Cesar and Amber Salas

      Amber moved to Las Vegas in 2002, fresh out of college, hoping to make her way as a dancer. She did a few shows and got a job at a nightclub before being hired as a VIP hostess when Tao opened at the Venetian in 2005.

      Cesar Salas was hired as a security guard about the same time at Tao, not long after he came to Las Vegas from Miami.

      It took a year of working at the same place before they got to know each other.

      But once they met, the rest went quickly.

      "After we started hanging out, we hung out every day," Cesar says.

      "It was an instant connection," Amber adds. "We got to know each other fast because we worked in the same place, had the same friends and have a lot in common."

      They got engaged in 2010 and were married Oct. 2 at the Las Vegas Country Club.

      Both 32, they now live in Rhodes Ranch with their four dogs. Cesar still works at Tao, now doing promotions and marketing, while Amber works at Tao's sister-property Marquee at the Cosmopolitan.

      And their advice for other newlyweds?

      Don't let the relationship fall into routine, Cesar says. Take turns planning dates so the other one gets a surprise.

      "To merge your lives together and make the other person happy, you have to compromise," Amber says.

      And she's learned her grandma's advice was right: "Never go to bed angry and have some good, clean fun."

    • Richard and Mary Hansen

      The Hansens are among the most experienced newlyweds you're likely to find.

      Mary was married for 46 years before her husband died in 2009. Her friend Richard Hansen and his wife, Ann, were there to offer their support. The two couples had been close friends for 15 years.

      Then a few months later, Ann, Richard's wife of more than 30 years, died. The two survivors grew closer together as they helped each other move on from the deaths, and before long they decided to marry.

      Richard thought he was done with marriage. His first ended in divorce.

      "I married for love the first time, and the second I married for money," says Richard, 83. "I didn't think I'd marry a third time, but I found someone I really love, and when you love somebody, it's hard to be without them."

      Their long friendship and their past experiences with spouses help make their union stronger, they said.

      "You learn from life," Mary, 64, says. "You just cannot carry problems into the night or the next day or even the next hour. Do not carry a problem; take care of it now so your life is happy and fulfilled."

      As for this Valentine's Day, the retired couple doesn't need any fancy restaurants on the Strip or cruises to Mexico to find romance.

      "I'm going to eat good things and be with the one I love," Richard says. "Valentine's Day to me is every day of the year. I couldn't always say that, but I can now. We are going to make the best of every day we can."

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