A couple from Oberhausen recounted how it felt to suddenly meet the “love of life” in a marriage with several children.
Martina and Peter Pilgrimm sat leisurely on the terrace of their house in Oberhausen-Klosterhardt and enjoyed the spring sun, they exchanged glances and teased each other every now and then. This family idyll has long been unimaginable for retirees: when they met in 1992, they were married and had five children in total. Despite many obstacles and challenges, fate finally brought them together – they told us their story.
First encounter felt ‘like a lightning strike’
“When I first saw Peter at a mutual friend’s house in 1992, it was like a lightning strike. I thought the man of my dreams was standing there,” Martina Pilgrimm began with a smile. Precisely this “dream man” was now sitting next to her, giggling. embarrassed and added: “I had the same experience, after just a few words we realized we have a very special relationship with each other – everything we say to each other is true.”
The first meeting of the Oberhausen couple sounded like something out of a fairy tale, but by that time Martina Pilgrimm had been married for 18 years and had three children, Peter for 11 with two children. Both are aware of their responsibilities towards their family, which is why getting to know each other better is impossible – especially since they are 100 kilometers apart, as Martina lives in Sauerland and Peter in Oberhausen.
However, the two of them couldn’t get their minds off of each other. Peter Pilgrimm recalls: “I sat at home and thought about Martina. But I know it won’t do anything, you’re not only jeopardizing your marriage with children.” His current wife felt the same way, he decided to give her a call at least for a bit. This time was followed by more phone calls and finally a meeting, “but always only with friends or in public, we are wise people,” said the retiree. But: “It’s hard to keep pushing excuses.”
Suddenly both of them are single – “nothing to hold back”
As neither of them wanted to disappoint their family, Martina and Peter decided to cut contact after several years of regular phone calls and meetings. There was silence on the radio, but Martina Pilgrimm noticed that she was no longer happy in her marriage and, after much deliberation, decided to separate in 1995 – apart from Peter. What he did not know at the time: Peter’s wife at the time separated from him at the same time, he fell in love again. Suddenly both of them are single. Martina recalls: “Our mutual friend mentioned to me in the subordinate clause that Peter and his wife had separated. Nothing held me back, I quickly dug up his number and we met. After a while we were together.”
Although neither of them have marital obligations, there are still many hurdles to overcome. A long distance relationship challenged young lovers, and they separated twice in the space of three years. But they could not get rid of each other and decided in 2000 to look for a shared apartment in Oberhausen – not without hesitation. Peter Pilgrimm explains: “I worked in the mines and couldn’t move to Sauerland. Martina has her job in Sauerland, the kids have their school and sports club. It’s really hard to get a family out of their safe environment – after all, we don’t know if we’ll get along well with each other in everyday life. I’m afraid this will go wrong. But it doesn’t help, we want to try and do our best.”
Harmony returns after a rough start
Martina Pilgrimm described the first year at Oberhausen as a “disaster”: strange environment, strange job, strange school. Although the children of both families got along well with each other and with their new partners, it was difficult at first to fit in. “But with love, respect, strong nerves and good humor, we have mastered all the ups and downs together,” the retiree concluded. Her husband added: “We’ve never regretted it, because the bottom line is there’s always enough positivity left, even in the tough times. And as the kids settle down better and better, we know we’ve done everything right. .”
In 2004, marriage finally followed at the recently demolished Hotel im Volksgarten, and 18 years later the couple are still happily together. “Our grandson makes our happiness perfect. And I still think every time I see Peter that the man of my dreams is standing there,” said Martina Pilgrimm, gently stroking her husband’s hand.
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