The power of partnership

Four Tulsa couples share why their relationships just work.



Sometimes William Tell’s aim is better than Cupid’s. But when the god of desire, love and attraction finally gets it right, it’s worth noting.

What does it take to build a lasting relationship? Is finding the right person all there is to it? When do opposites attract? And how do like-minded people find each other?

TulsaPeople asked four local couples to spill their secrets or share their advice on the power of partnership. (Spoiler alert: it’s more than hearts and flowers.)


Jeff and Molly MartinJeff Martin
Online communications manager, Philbrook Museum of Art; founder, BookSmart Tulsa, a local literary organization

Molly Martin
Owner, Antoinette Baking Co.

How long have you been married/together? Married for nearly nine years, together for 11.

How did you meet? We met while working together in a bookstore in 2002.

What was the moment you knew your partner was the one? In a spontaneous moment, not knowing each other very well at all, we took a road trip to Des Moines to see a painting by Edward Hopper. The trip took several days and lots of gas money (in Molly’s old Jeep Cherokee). But by the time we returned, we were simply together from that point on.

What’s the one thing you would change about your partner? After more than a decade together, we’ve either changed those things that annoy one another or accepted them as part of the package.

What’s your biggest challenge as a couple? Committing to anything other than each other (pets, kids, events, etc.).

Describe a typical weeknight. Early dinner together. Maybe a walk through the neighborhood. Watch a show. Molly heads to bed usually by 8:30 or 9 p.m. Afterward, Jeff reads, writes, catches up on work or watches a movie until midnight or so. There may be some ironing and laundry thrown into the mix, as well.

Describe a great date night. Dinner at a favorite spot (Juniper, Lucky’s, Palace Café) and some sort of cultural happening like a gallery opening or show. We love to catch a performance by the Tulsa Symphony whenever possible.

What do you disagree about but tolerate anyway?
He: Jane Austen novels and British period dramas, a la “Downton Abbey.”
She: Jeff’s often-repeated mantra that “anything can be interesting.” That’s simply not always the case.

His passion? Her passion?
He: It’s hard to say without coming off as cheesy, but more than anything I like to make some sort of impact. Small or large.
She: Baking and giving people (my customers) a moment of pleasure in this busy, hectic world.

What’s the quintessential story that describes your relationship? When we met, we were both in need of something. Not necessarily a rescue, but more of a North Star to guide our lives by. It’s been a fantastic journey so far.  

What’s your advice for making a relationship work? Lots of little trips. Take some time. Get away. Even if only for a day or two. We all need a recalibration every so often.


Miranda and Philip KaiserMiranda Kaiser
Philip Kaiser

Owners, Laffa Medi-Eastern Restaurant & Bar and Cosmo

How long have you been married/together? We have been legal 20 years. However, previous to that we lived together in sin for about five years.

Children? How many? Three going on 103. Boys; ages 17, 15 and 10.

What brought you together? We met on a kibbutz in northern Israel. I was a soldier and Miranda was a volunteer. We hooked up.

What was the moment you knew your partner was the one? When I asked what he was thinking and he said, “I think I’m falling in love with you.”

What’s your partner’s best trait?
She: His honesty. Also he’s super smart, very funny and incredibly cute.
He: She’s beautiful, funny, creative, ballsy, and I’ve heard she can cook.

What’s the one thing you would change about your partner?
She: He’d not make me feel bad when I buy more (stuff). I’ve only filled up two rooms, an attic, warehouse and storage unit. The cats are all accounted for.
He: She’s a bit of a hoarder.

What’s your greatest strength as a couple? We have complementary skill sets. She’s creative; I’m practical.

Describe a typical weeknight. Argue with kids about dinner. Get Chipotle. Go back to work at 6 p.m. Come home at 8:30 p.m. Snuggle with our youngest and watch (an episode of TV show) “Kitchen Nightmares” together to make ourselves feel better. Read a bit. Go to bed.

Describe a great date night.
She: Sitting at the bar of a great restaurant together with no phone calls from work or kids. In a different city so we don’t run into anyone we know.
He: Dinner at one of Tulsa’s superb local restaurants, then get hammered at SoundPony and see a great band at Cain’s Ballroom.

What do you agree on wholeheartedly?
She: Making a difference.
He: Religion.

Have the same politics? Yes. Now that he sees it my way.

His passion? Her passion?
She: His, Israel. Hers, eating.
He: His, her. Hers, food.

How do you see yourself as a couple when you’re old and gray? I’ll be out with my hot male nurse at Cain’s having fun. He’ll be discussing the world’s problems with his cronies. He’ll have all his hair.

What’s the quintessential story that describes your relationship? The one-night stand that never left.


Anna America and Michael PattonAnna America
Journalist and writer-turned-activist working on education/environment/community issues

Michael Patton
Executive director at the Metropolitan Environmental Trust

How long have you been married/together? 17 years.

Children? How many? A 15-year-old son, Braden; a 12-year-old daughter, Eva. A complete set.

How did you meet? We met when Anna was a City Hall reporter for the Tulsa Tribune and I was doing contract work with the city. I talked to her at a public meeting then saw her at the Sunset Grill on Brookside.

What was the moment you knew your partner was the one? After we had been dating a few months, he helped my sister and me do a cross-country drive with her three toddlers — and didn’t run away screaming when it was over. I knew then he’d be a good partner and father.

What’s your partner’s best trait?
She: Michael knows every street in Tulsa. I love that I can get turned around in any part of the city and call him; then he can instantly direct me to the right address.
He: She tolerates my idiosyncrasies.

What’s your greatest strength as a couple?
She: Our shared love of our community.
He: Anna.

Your biggest challenge?
She: Trying to balance all of our commitments and still focus the energy we need on us as a couple.
He: Me.

What do you agree on wholeheartedly?
She: That it’s part of our responsibility as humans to try to make a difference, and that we want our kids to grow up believing that.
He: We both like bacon.

What do you disagree about but tolerate anyway?
She: The importance of baseball.
He: How funny my jokes are.

What’s the quintessential story that describes your relationship? He had the idea that we could do worm composting in a bin in the dining room. I reluctantly agreed until I found worms escaping out the sides and crawling across the hardwood floor. We went back to “regular” composting.

Have the same politics?
He: If politics were baseball, she would play left center, and I would play left field and stand in foul territory.
She: But we would be on the same team.


Shirley Elliot and Steve LiggettShirley Elliot
Program director for the PAC Trust

Steve Liggett
Artistic director at Living Arts of Tulsa

How long have you been married/together? We are a couple, but are not married by agreement. Three and a half wonderful years.

How did you meet? We have known each other professionally for years, but we started dancing at the Absolute Best of Tulsa Awards in 2010 and never stopped.

Are you an opposites-attract or things-in-common couple? We are wonderfully like-minded but not cookie cutters of each other. We can talk for hours about our jobs, the people we meet, the art world in Tulsa and never get tired of it.

What’s your greatest strength as a couple? We understand each other’s need for alone time and each other’s work commitments, yet love to get together on the weekends and maybe a few times during the week for lunch.

Your biggest challenge? Being able to have enough time together with our busy lives.

Describe a great date night.
He: Having dinner after wandering through the Night Markets in Luang Prabang, Laos. Or maybe having a smoke from a sheesha at a little second-floor café across from the great pyramids at Giza.
She: Salmon Sunday. Our Sunday night tradition is like a ritual. We cook together, and Steve grills salmon with rosemary fresh from the garden. If the weather is right, we eat by candlelight out on my deck, watch the moon rise and listen for the owl that lives nearby in the woods.

What’s the quintessential story that describes your relationship? Our 60th birthday party. We celebrated after returning from Egypt together. India Palace catered it, JD McPherson’s band played, we filled Liggett Studio with lots of projections and people. Made handmade invitations that we created together and just had a blast of a time.

How do you see yourself as a couple when you’re old and gray? We are both 62, so some people might put us in that category already. But I (Shirley) see us doing all the things we love until we keel over: traveling, gardening, creating and playing with our grandchildren.

What’s your best relationship advice?
He: Don’t look for someone. Just enjoy life and “they will come.” But first, be happy within your own skin.
She: Have the relationship that works for you and your mate. Don’t let others define what love should look like.

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August 2019

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Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

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307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Telephone: 918-585-1234
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More information

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Cost: $15

Where:
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415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

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Telephone: 918-585-1234
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Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

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Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
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Telephone: 918-585-1234
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Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

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307 East M. B. Brady St.
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View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

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Cost: Advance Tickets $14- Adult $6 child

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Sponsor: Carson & Barnes Circus
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Contact Name: Circus Saurus
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Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

See The Dinosaurs and Unicorn Come Alive At The Circus   The 2019 edition of CIRCUS SAURUS will feature artists from around the world.  Immerse yourself into a mythological quest...

Cost: Advance Tickets $14- Adult $6 child

Where:
West of Plaza Santa Cecilia
2160 S. Garnett Rd.
Tulsa, OK  74129
View map »


Sponsor: Carson & Barnes Circus
Telephone: 580-743-7292
Contact Name: Circus Saurus
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


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Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
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Show More...
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Have you been dreaming of owning one of the world's best charcoal grill? Been waiting for the right time to buy a new Hasty-Bake Charcoal Grill or add another one to your collection? Well, this...

Cost: FREE

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Hasty-Bake Charcoal Grills Retail Showroom
1313 South Lewis Avenue
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Sponsor: Hasty-Bake Charcoal Grills
Telephone: 918-665-8220
Contact Name: Hasty-Bake Retail Showroom
Website »

More information

The Lazy V 105’ Pasture Festival is an annual action-packed, four-day phenomenon of live events at Riverbend Arena at Owens Ranch in Inola, Oklahoma that includes: team roping, calf roping,...

Cost: $15 - $40

Where:
Riverbend Arena at Owens' Ranch
12900 E. 600 Rd.
Inola, OK  74036
View map »


Sponsor: Riverbend Arena at Owens' Ranch
Telephone: 405-417-6191
Contact Name: Eric Owens
Website »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

See The Dinosaurs and Unicorn Come Alive At The Circus   The 2019 edition of CIRCUS SAURUS will feature artists from around the world.  Immerse yourself into a mythological quest...

Cost: Advance Tickets $14- Adult $6 child

Where:
West of Plaza Santa Cecilia
2160 S. Garnett Rd.
Tulsa, OK  74129
View map »


Sponsor: Carson & Barnes Circus
Telephone: 580-743-7292
Contact Name: Circus Saurus
Website »

More information

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Cost: $1+

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