Ah, love. An emotion and a feeling felt by people of all ages. It comes in varying degrees and sizes and might have been felt for more than a few decades, a number of years or perhaps, as with young love, for a brief moment of time.
Cut Bank Police Chief Mike Schultz and Donni, his lovely bride of 12 years, admit not only have they been in love all that time, but they are still in love. And maybe even better than that, they are best friends in love.
In the beginning, “I was blessed to be able to get to know a lot about Donni and she a lot about me, just by talking to each other as often as we could. We developed such a strong connection that we have become each other’s best friend. She is who I enjoy spending time with the most,” said Mike.
“I think our marriage works because Mike is my best friend,” agreed Donni. “I can talk to him about anything. It is nice to be able to talk to someone and not worry about what they will think. He accepts and loves the good and bad in me. Mike and I are kind of opposites, which works for us. He is more outgoing and goofy and I am more reserved. We balance each other out. He makes me laugh a lot.”
Mike agreed the two have very different personalities, but it does, as Donni said, work for them and has since day one.
“Donni ignored a lot of my faults and weaknesses on our first date. Whenever my eccentric and loud personality gets out of hand and Donni asks me where the heck that came from, I can reference our first date and tell her she knew what she was getting into,” Mike shared. “It had to be love at first sight for her and it was for me too!”
Communication was and continues to be the key to their successful marriage. When they first met, which was via email because Mike lived in Cut Bank and Donni was in Pocatello, communication through their computers or cell phones was pretty much all they had. It worked to get the relationship started.
Mike confessed in the beginning, he really liked Donni, though he had never actually seen her. When the two decided to meet, both were nervous and Mike recalled exactly how he felt that day.
“We decided to meet in Anaconda at Washoe Park. I remember being extremely nervous going there. My main thought was, ‘I really like this girl. I hope she’s not ugly,’” he said laughing. “When we met, I was not disappointed and neither was she.”
Meeting in person meant communication was now face-to-face, and included communicating with cell phones and computers.
“Donni and I established good communication from the very beginning,” noted Mike. “Again, one of the blessings to offset the curse of being so far away is that the foundation of our relationship is based firmly in communication. We still text and speak throughout the day when I am at work.”
Donni concurred, adding, “We text and call each other throughout the day. We kiss each other goodnight and when he leaves and comes home from work. We tell each other that we love each other a lot. We also hold hands when we are watching TV. I think it is the little signs of affection that I love the most.”
“I think love is shown best when you see a person at their worst and still want to give everything you have to be with them and build them up,” Mike said. “Everyone enjoys the honeymoon stage, but true love stays strong when times are bad. Our marriage has always grown stronger after a trial.”
From the Schultz’s wonderful marriage have come five children, all boys.
“I have always wanted to be a dad and I have been blessed to be a father to five healthy boys. And before the question is asked, I’d like to answer, no, we are not going to try for a girl!” he exclaimed with a smile. “Five kids is a lot and there is never a dull moment no matter how hard and often you pray for one.”
“It is great to have kids and be a great big family,” Donni said. “It definitely doesn’t get boring around here. I always say I am trying to manage a five-ring circus. The kids make this family so much better. They bring so much love and laughter to us. They often show me how to be a better person. I love when we are able to spend time together as a family. Those are memories I will always cherish.”
The five boys in the Schultz family are: Eli, 10, and in fifth grade; Gabe, 8, and in third grade; Isaiah, 7, and in first grade; Ty, 5, is just in kindergarten; and Hudson is the youngest Schultz at two years of age.
“We have really good kids and I give most of the credit to Donni. She sacrificed a successful career to be a mom to our boys. The rewards of full-time mothering aren’t always obvious and sometimes I know she feels like she is spinning her tires. But we consistently get told how great our kids are, that they are kind and are good workers in school. I feel truly blessed to parent five good boys with Donni,” Mike said.
Even with a house that is as busy as one could get, Mike and Donni still make time for each other.
“Having a lot of kids means we don’t get a lot of official dates with just the two of us, but even going to the grocery store, playing cards or watching TV is enjoyable together,” said Donni. “I also think it is the little things that we do for each other that makes a big difference in our marriage. Mike will go to the store and bring me back my favorite candy bar and flowers. He will massage my feet whenever they are sore. He shows appreciation when I do the never-ending chores of cleaning, laundry, dishes, etc. As a couple, the more selfless acts of kindness you can do for each other, the better.”
Donni admits they don’t have the marriage or love “thing” completely figured out, and they surely have their “ups and downs, but it is a fun journey to take alongside him.”
It was love at first sight over a decade ago and just as many years later, it is still love for Mike and Donni Schultz. May it be that way for them for many more decades to come.