At first glance, Ann and Benjy Blackmon appear to be opposites in every way. He’s a pessimist who loves staying at home. She’s a people person who loves being out and about, and sees the proverbial glass as half full.
The couple, who have a 12-year-old daughter together, have known each other for 32 years, and first met in the eighth grade. They were bowling with a church group, and since she was newly single, Benjy thought it was time to make a move.
The couple bonded over movies, and saw “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” and “Home Alone” multiple times before they split up after six months together. They remained friends, but Ann went on to marry someone else, with whom she now shares a 23-year-old son.
As that marriage was ending, Ann ran into Benjy after a trip to a tattoo shop, and they spent the whole night talking. The couple was officially back together in 2006, but again Ann dumped him. Benjy says he just couldn’t let go, and in 2009, he won her back. The couple was married in 2010.
Benjy, who is the technical director for the Georgia Southern University Performing Arts Center, describes himself as “weird and silly,” but says his wife is much more serious than him.
“I can definitely change moods like you change channels on a TV, and she kind of keeps me grounded. She keeps me from getting into trouble, and helps keep my mouth shut before I can put my foot in it,” he said.
Benjy says that when he was younger, he was much more egotistical. But now, he says he doesn’t feel he has as much faith in himself as he used to. He also says he’s much nicer than he used to be.
“It’s certainly nice to have someone around that supports me, because I need that. I’d like to say I do the same. At least, I try,” he said.
Ann, who is a realtor with ERA Hirsch Real Estate Team is a people person, and enjoys being much more social than her husband. She laughs as she says she has to force him to leave the house.
“I’ve just always kept an optimistic mind,” she says.
Benjy is the baby of four children, while Ann is the oldest of four. She says those dynamics have played out in their marriage as well, as he’s used to being cared for, and she’s used to being in charge.
“I don’t know how it works, but it does,” she says of their relationship. She describes her husband as one of the main characters in the movie, “Grumpy Old Men.”
“That was him, from 16 years old,” she says, laughing. “I sit up straight, he slumps down. You can look at our demeanors and tell the difference.”
But Ann wouldn’t trade her marriage and her relationship with Benjy for anything.
“He has been more of a friend, more of a partner, more of a soulmate, than anything else, and he is my lover. It’s weird though, because we are so different,” she said.
What makes them work, despite being so different? Benjy says it’s because they support each other completely.
“We care for each other very much. We want to see each other succeed in life,” he said.
“I think it was just that bond when we were young,” Ann adds. “It’s just weird, but it’s a neat thing.”
Getting each other through some tough times in life has also strengthened the couple’s bond. They have stood together as siblings have died and gone through rough times, through Benjy’s father’s death after battling lung cancer, and his mother’s extended illness.
“When you deal with heavy things in life and you can be there for each other, then it bonds you,” Ann said. “It makes your bond closer and stronger and more secure.”
Ann and Benjy say they still enjoy watching movies together, although these days they stream them instead of going to the theater. They also enjoy watching television shows, and they have fostered a multitude of cats. They currently have five, along with two dogs.
Their advice for young couples? It’s simple.
“Stay single,” Benjy says with a laugh, as Ann smacks him on the arm.
“Have fun and be there for each other. Compromise. Enjoy each other and spend time together. That is the most important thing,” Ann said. She adds that in today’s world, it’s become increasingly easy to get a divorce; to just give up and move on.
“But it’s worth it to fight for what you have,” she said.
“Everybody has their story to tell. Everybody makes mistakes. Everyone is worthy of redemption on some level,” Benjy added. “Life is about dealing with other people and forgiveness.”