EASY MAGAZINE: Rondine & Joan Lavia’s love story
Rondine and Joan Lavia’s romance was played out in the public eye.
The Lavias were the first winners of The Nation Publishing Company’s Forever I Do competition in 2001. The couple sent in a letter detailing their love and their romance to try to convince the public and the judges that they should win the competition.
The couple said even if they didn’t win the wedding would have gone ahead, but their romantic story struck a chord and they were judged as having the best story – winning their dream wedding package.
Part of the story is that the couple met when Joan was a student at the Barbados Community College, and Rondine, a conductor on the ZR van on which she was travelling. After striking up a conversation they got to know each other and realised they both had the same values and attitudes towards life.
It didn’t hurt that they were both also from St Vincent.
In the letter to the competition, they outlined an old-fashioned romance where Rondie asked to meet her mother to state his intentions; he was well aware of the negative perception about ZR drivers and conductors and was eager to show his future mother-in-law, as he had his wife-to-be, that he was different.
“At the end of the day we both loved each other and knew that with God on our side we could make it.”
They were married on July 21, 2002, at Advent Avenue Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Fast forward 12 years on and the couple have moved into their own home, making the family complete with three-year-old daughter Janae.
“We both wanted to have one child and we wanted a girl. God has blessed us with what we wanted,” they said, playing with the daughter and pushing her on her bike.
Things have gotten better career wise as Joan has finished her degree in business management at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies and Rondie is a self-employed taxi operator. The couple said they have used their Christian faith and the importance of family to preserve their marriage.
“As Christians, we put our trust in God and pray about everything. We sit down and talk about everything and get to know each other’s differences. The key is to talk to each other,” Rondie said.
They see each other as a team: “Time management and communication. I don’t work at night. By 6 p.m. I am home no matter what. I use that time to spend with my family”, said Ron, as Joan affectionately calls him.
“Sometimes before we leave home, we plan for the day so we know what is happening after work and so on. When my day at work is over, I pick up Janae from daycare, spend time with her, we may both take her to the playpark, but we make sure to support each other in whatever is happening,” added Joan. The couple said they didn’t wait on each other to do stuff together as they had their separate likes and friends.
“He loves his car racing, cricket and hanging out with his buddies. But he makes sure to tell me ahead well this week this is what I am doing. But we make time for family. So one week I lime with girlfriends, next week maybe with his friends and at least once a month we make sure to go out together. And it is not like the expensive restaurants or anything, just like the boardwalk, Sheraton, or Lanterns. “For me personally it is all about church and the young people at my church in Advent Avenue SDA, where I spend a lot of time. So we both have our individual things that we do and love but at the same time, we find time to spend as a family,” said Joan.
It is evident they both have a strong love for church and God as almost every answer has a mention of God. It is that faith, they said, that had cemented the values of the institution of marriage and helped them keep the vows they made.
“We have love for each other, love for God and very committed to family. For those looking for a partner, keep trusting and believing in God that He will send the right person for you. Continue to live your life and if it is God’s will, He will send you a partner,” said Joan, with Ron agreeing.
When asked what was the best piece of marriage advice ever received, both said “What happens in the family stays in the family” and “work things out together as husband and wife” (Ron).
Communication has gotten easier for both and disagreements do not go over into the next day. “It is important to remind yourself that with God all things are possible. That once we love each other and are both willing to make the relationship work, we can make it together,” they both acknowledged.