A married Michigan couple, who were fatefully born on the same day in the same hospital, recently celebrated another big life milestone together: their 50th birthdays.
Doug and Lynda McCready were destined to be together from the start, after they were both born on April 7, 1970 — just hours apart — at Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital in Grand Rapids.
Despite moving to California when she was one, Lynda would make occasional trips back to Michigan during the summer because her grandparents lived in a cottage on Bills Lake next to Doug’s family’s summer cottage.
Those summers on the lake are ultimately what started Lynda and Doug’s serendipitous love story, which now spans nearly three decades.
“It didn’t seem possible that I would leave Michigan when I was 1 years old and live in California and still end up marrying the boy I was born next to,” Lynda says. “[But] we will be celebrating 28 years together this June.”
Though their families knew each other, Doug and Lynda say their romance didn’t begin until the summer of 1986, when they were 16 years old and began to hang out with each other and their siblings.
“That is when it all started for me… [and] where I first noticed her,” Doug explains. “We went to the movies, boated and swam in the lake, and hung out. I noticed her smile and laugh right away.”
Lynda, who remembers Doug as a “very shy boy,” notes that he was also “very fun to hang out with.”
“He would constantly come out to his dock and ‘fish’ when my sisters and I were out on our dock sunbathing,” she recalls. “I thought it was cute that he always came out when we were outside.”
During that summer, Doug realized he had feelings for Lynda and worked up the courage to tell her — but only through her brother, and after she had departed for California.
“My first attempt was minutes after she left for home in early August of 1986,” he says. “I had ‘fallen’ for her that summer but was way too shy to say anything. I told her brother to tell her I liked her.”
“I then proceeded to write her a love letter explaining how I felt and that we were destined to be together,” Doug continues.
But instead, the Michigan father of three says he received “crickets.”
“I did not get a return letter. I even called her on the phone — unheard of to call long distance — to see if she got it,” he shares. “She was speechless and didn’t know what to say. I eventually got a return letter stating ‘I’m flattered but I am not the one.’ I was devastated.”
Then, it was Lynda’s turn to reciprocate the feelings. In their senior year of high school, she returned to Michigan with her twin sister Lora and reached out to Doug.
“One Sunday after church, I called Doug to see if he wanted to go to the movies. I assumed that since he liked me so much — he wrote so many letters — that this would be an emphatic yes,” Lynda recalls. “When I asked him, he said, ‘Um, I can’t. The [Detroit] Lions are on.'”
“He had told me how much he loved me but when I finally ask him out he chooses football over me!” she jokingly adds.
Looking back on that decision, Doug quips, “As I always say, I was setting the precedent that once we got married that she would know that Sunday afternoons are for football and for me to watch my team!”
By June 1989, at 19 years old, the couple finally were on the same page and their romance blossomed.
“He called me long distance the night I left for California in early August, and every night after,” Lynda explains. “We talked for four hours that first night. His phone bill was quite high!”
Three years later, Lynda moved back to Grand Rapids to be with Doug and the couple finally wed on June 20, 1992. Since then, they’ve welcomed three sons — Jon, Matt, and David — and have been enjoying all of life’s adventures together.
“Each year it seems like there is another ‘best part,'” Doug explains. “It is constantly evolving. Our three boys are such a huge part of our lives. Grandchildren will eventually become another ‘best part.'”
Adds Lynda: “I totally agree with Doug, they get changed every year. The birth of each boy was life-changing and watching and teaching them to become responsible men has been a great part of my life… I look forward to all the new best parts.”
One of their newest parts happened earlier this month when they entered their fifties together.
Though the coronavirus pandemic disrupted their original birthday plans to visit California, Doug says he and Lynda made it a special day in other ways — returning to the very place where their love first blossomed.
“The virus forced us to cancel the trip,” he explains. “We spent the day together going to the place where it all began, the cottage on Bills Lake in Newaygo. It was perfect. It means so much to celebrate together.”
“Our son who lives near us and his fianceé bought us a steak dinner and dropped it off to us,” Doug adds. “We plan on going to California at some point this year still [and] we will have a family gathering at our house at some point.”
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As they approach their 28th anniversary in June, the couple says the secret to a successful marriage lies in communication and shared time together.
“Communication is the key,” Lynda explains. “Talk through things with each other and never go to bed angry. Always say ‘I love you’ and kiss goodnight, even if we are still angry, and kiss in the morning too.”
“Doug has always called me on his lunch break to say hi and see how things were going,” she continues. “It is the little things he does that let me know he loves me and our family. He is always thinking about us.”
Adds Doug: “The key is to find things you both enjoy and do together. It doesn’t matter what they are — the same TV shows, political views, cooking. Everyone has things they love to do that their spouse doesn’t, and that’s okay, but make it a priority to share as many things as possible.”