Fluvanna Faces: Tips For A Marriage That Lasts from Melanie and Rob Lewis

By Harvey J. Sorum

When writing the Fluvanna Faces article, “A Place To Stay Away From Home,” there was a certain amount of dialogue between Melanie and Rob Lewis and me. During our discussions, I found a great deal of togetherness between the two. After being told how long they had known each other prior to their marriage and how long they had been married, I felt Fluvanna Review readers would find it interesting to hear the Lewis’ perspective on what makes a partnership last. 

How long have the two of you known each other and where did you meet?

We met in a bar in Canton, Connecticut on May 23, 1977. Melanie was 20 and Rob was 21. We moved in together shortly after we met.

Was it love at first sight?

We would say lust came first, then love.

How long have you been married?

We got married on May 21, 1983. So that would be 39 years. It is hard to believe.

Have you always lived in Palmyra?

No. We have been in Virginia for 34 years. We came to Virginia in June of 1988 so that Melanie could take an administrative job with the UVA Physicians Group (then the Health Services Foundation). We bought Rill Cross Farm in Bybee on April 1,1989 to start Melanie’s dream of raising American Saddlebred horses.

We chose the location so that we would not need to move when Melanie changed jobs. This location would give us access to Richmond. As luck would have it, Melanie worked for the Physicians Group for 32 years and retired in 2020.

What do each of you do for a living now?

We are working together on three different “jobs.” First, we have the Air BnB (The Road House) which is occupied much of the time. We grow and sell produce to some restaurants in Charlottesville and sell on Saturdays at the Nelson County Farmers Market. We also have a catering business and provide food from our mobile kitchen at Wisdom Oak Winery in North Garden on weekends. It is a little bit of a misnomer to say we are retired!

What are your avocations?

Rob loves native history, artifact hunting and the Virginia Cavaliers. Melanie loves horses and music. During one email session, I mentioned that it was incredible that the two of them have never had a disagreement. Melanie corrected me immediately. Melanie, would you care to reply to this? Melanie’s response was, “You’re too funny! We have arguments every day. It is the letting it go that makes it all work.”

For a couple contemplating marriage, what would your advice to them be?

Love each other always. Like each other most of the time.

Choose your mate carefully. It is important to have similar values and goals.

Opposites attract.

Live together before you marry. It is the best way to ensure you are well suited for each other.

Even when you are mad at each other, always sleep in the same bed.

Make major life decisions together. Negotiation is an invaluable skill.

Have fun!

Melanie’s mother used to say it should be very hard to get married and very easy to get a divorce.

Anything else?

We feel very lucky to have met so young and to have been able to stay together so long. It hasn’t always been easy, but it sure has been worth it.

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