April Meeting Summary: Gene and Gina Poletti-Dzielak
For our April meeting, speakers Gene and Gina Poletti-Dzielak shared their experience as a recently married couple, as well as their mutual love for radio broadcasting. Although the two have only been married for 10 months, they were together for 7 years before Gene proposed. One of the main reasons for the long wait was due to the death of their mutual friend, Rich, in 2008 from a heart attack; he was only 48 years old. “It didn’t seem right to get married after he died,” Gina said. “We had always saw him as coming to the wedding, and it seemed strange to have it without him.”
In addition to mourning her friend, Gina was also dealing with the divorce of her parents. The split had come as a shock to Gina, for she had always seen her mother and father as a “perfect” couple. “When their marriage fell apart, something fell apart for me as well,” she explained. She felt angry and broken, and as a result, she stopped attending church. “I needed to take a step away from my faith, and then come back to it for the right reasons,” she said.
For Gina, her “right reason” was her marriage to Gene. Once they became engaged, not only did they attend church together, but they also went through the Pre-Cana program. For their Pre-Cana, Gene and Gina chose to go on the “Engaged Encounter” retreat, a weekend-long event with other engaged couples. Through this program, Gene and Gina were able to address their insecurities and grow closer. Most importantly, they learned how to become more honest with each other. Although this honesty can sometimes lead to disagreements, Gina feels that this is all part of a healthy relationship. “My parents never fought because they would just hold everything in,” she said. “My mom would complain to me about my dad, but she never said anything to him. I decided that if I had a problem with Gene, I would talk to him about it.”
Along these lines, Gene noted that when having a disagreement, a couple has to approach it in a constructive way. “It has to be a fair fight,” he said. When a couple has known each other for so long, they have more than their fair share of ammunition against the other. The important thing, however, is choosing to love and forgive over being cruel and hurtful. “You choose every day to be in your marriage,” he said. “You choose everyday to love each other.”
Perhaps one of the most obvious signs of Gene and Gina’s success as a couple is the fact that they have worked together at the radio station for the past 2 years; their desks are only 8 feet away. “When people find out, they always say ‘I could never do that,’ ” said Gina. “It just shows that our relationship is that strong.”
To view more photos from our April meeting, visit our Flickr site here.