Our LOL True Love Story with Steve & Rhonda

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Old Ladies Know Stuff Season 1 – Episode 6

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Rhonda Stoppe (00:11):

You talk? No <laugh>.

Rhonda Stoppe (00:15):


Steve Stoppe (00:17):

Go ahead. She was a little girl.


Rhonda Stoppe (00:20):

I Was

Steve Stoppe (00:20):

Young… like, like a little, little girl.

Rhonda Stoppe (00:23):

Okay, now let’s just back off. I was 14 years old. The first time I laid eyes on this man. He had just come home from Bible college. So my, my uh, Christian school that I attended was where his parents went to church and, uh, that was in the San Francisco Bay area. And he had moved from, uh, his family had lived in one town when he went away to college. And then he moved to another town when he came home. So when he came back home, he came to a church that he was kind of the new guy in the college department, which

Steve Stoppe (00:52):

It’s called “New Meat”,

Rhonda Stoppe (00:53):

“New meat” <laugh>. Anyone who’s watched a young adult college ministry, when a new guy walks in, you know, there’s always that, oh, maybe this is husband material. So, so he walks in and, and, and I see him and I, he’s super, super cute, but I see all these, you know, 20 somethings looking at him and he’s starts dating all of them, basically.

Steve Stoppe (01:17):

Yeah, I don’t know. Maybe not dating. Oh

Rhonda Stoppe (01:20):

No, no. You dated. Okay. No, you dated.. Yeah… You dated.

Steve Stoppe (01:21):

So, so here, here’s the, I don’t even know what I was gonna say now. <laugh>,

Rhonda Stoppe (01:28):

<laugh>. See, in your defense, you have no defense.

Steve Stoppe (01:32):


Rhonda Stoppe (01:33):

He was kind of oblivious. You know how it is. The guy walks in, he is like, well, all these girls are so friendly. But I’m sitting back going, oh, I, I see what’s happening here. He

Steve Stoppe (01:41):

Was just a friendly church. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s what all churches should be.

Rhonda Stoppe (01:44):

So, so I remember the first time I met him, I, um, he was working on, uh, the buses. This was back in the seventies when churches had a bus ministry. I don’t know if you know about that. You guys are kind of young. Um, but he had come home from college and he was working, uh, just volunteering or maybe they paid

Steve Stoppe (02:00):

No, I was being paid. Paid. I was teaching, uh, old Testament survey. Oh, yeah. And, and working on buses. I, I don’t know how you get that mix of, uh, <laugh> compilation in there. But,

Rhonda Stoppe (02:09):

So he was in the back working on one of the buses and I walked back there. Um, I was looking for my sister actually at the time. My sister was dating his brother, so I met him first time.

Steve Stoppe (02:19):

One of, one of her sisters was dating one of my brothers. Yes.

Rhonda Stoppe (02:22):

There you go. And so my

Steve Stoppe (02:24):

<laugh>, we don’t have any more than one brother or sister, but you have to say that. So nobody really knows who you’re talking about. There you go. <laugh>

Rhonda Stoppe (02:32):

Could be anybody. Anybody.

Steve Stoppe (02:34):

So they were, they were going out, but her parents didn’t want them to be going out alone.

Rhonda Stoppe (02:41):

So I always had to go …

Steve Stoppe (02:42):

With ’em. So Rhonda had to go with him.

Rhonda Stoppe (02:43):

So I walk back, I’m looking for them, and I’m run into Steve, which I call him Stoppe cuz there’s a million Steve’s in our life. So I our last name is Stoppe. So I always, he’s, he’s Stoppe. So if I say that, that’s, I’m talking about him. So I see him and I have a banter back and forth, where’s my sister? And he’s kind of being, being charming, clever, funny. And I walked away and I’m 14 years old. I walk away and I had this fleeting thought, I’m gonna marry him. And then I’m like, where did that come from? I’m so embarrassed. That’s silly. Uh, and that was the first time I ever met him. And then honestly, he was 20. So I’m 14, he’s 20. And and he’s thinking,

Steve Stoppe (03:17):

Oh, I, I’m thinking, wow, she’s cute, but oh goodness, she’s a baby.

Rhonda Stoppe (03:21):

Stay away. Stay

Steve Stoppe (03:22):

Away. Stay away. That’s dangerous.

Rhonda Stoppe (03:23):

So he was very, very not not, he didn’t gimme a whole lot of attention. And uh, so we became friends. And then, uh, over the years, so

Steve Stoppe (03:31):

Because our, one of her sisters, one of my brothers were dating <laugh>, um, <laugh>. . So, um, because of that, she had to go with them on dates. So I would, she somewhere in there, she said, Hey, you want to go along so I don’t have to be with them like a third wheel? And so, uh, we just kind of went along and just did whatever they were doing and just went to different places and hung

Rhonda Stoppe (03:58):

Out, hung out on water skiing back in those days. Oh yeah. On the Sacramento Delta. If you live in Sacramento, you know what I’m talking about.

Steve Stoppe (04:03):

Oh, that was the best time of our life. Yeah. Anyway.

Rhonda Stoppe (04:07):

Yeah. Um, so all the time that we’re hanging out, he’s still dating these, these women. And I remember he bought this car. He bought a 1969 mock one hanging

Steve Stoppe (04:17):

4 28 Cobra Jet “RRR”

Rhonda Stoppe (04:19):

<laugh>. And, uh, he came over start sound effects here. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Exactly. And we still regret that we sold that car. And he came over to my parents’ house where his brother was. He was dating my sister, and he came over to tell him about the car. Well, he had stopped and shown the car to some other girl that he had been dating before he came to my house. And I remember just feeling very like, oh, he’ll never notice me. He’ll never care. So that’s, that’s how we met. And there was a long time in there where he stayed clear of me. Uh, and we were just friends. And, uh, one of the stories that I tell, uh, I have a book out. He and I wrote a book together called If my Husband Would Change, I’d Be Happy. And Other Myths Wives Believe. And so mine and Steve love stories kind of all filtered through the book. And one of my favorite stories, uh, I talk about in the book is to help people remember those magical moments that you had when you were dating. Cause I think when we’re married, we forget how we fell in love. We forget how, you know, excited. We were when they would look our way. And you know, I always tell women, I I stalk Steve Stockey long before there was internet. When you stalk somebody back in the seventies, you had to place yourself at the right place at the right time. <laugh>,

Rhonda Stoppe (05:25):

It was work

Rhonda Stoppe (05:26):

<laugh> and then accidentally bump into them. Yeah. It was a lot more

Steve Stoppe (05:31):

Strategy. And not have them know that you accidentally were there.

Rhonda Stoppe (05:33):

Yeah. It had to be completely done. Amazing thing. Yeah. So I hadn’t seen Stoppe in a while and I was a cheerleader for the high school that I went to. And we went to a we going that basketball game? Yes. This is a fun story. Oh, okay. And I saw his cool Mach 1 in the parking lot and it was completely like i knew it was his car

Steve Stoppe (05:49):

Mediterranean blue with a shaker hood. By the way,

Rhonda Stoppe (05:51):

I don’t think he’s gonna get past the car, but well, we’ll just move on <laugh>. And then I <laugh>. So I’m thinking, oh my, my goodness. Stop. He’s here. I’m gonna see him. And so I’m kind of, you know, all excited. And I walk in the gymnasium and as I walk in, he’s coming toward me and he makes a layup in a basket. You know how gymnasiums are pretty small sometimes. And the basket is like right as you walk in the entrance. So he makes this layup and he makes a basket and he kind of, you know, kind of freezes down. And he looks at me and I look at him and he kind of gives me this cute little smile. And then goes to play the rest of the game. Well he was playing an alumni game for the school that my high school was gonna play, uh, basketball against. So I was like, oh, he saw me. He knows I’m here. He’s gonna come talk to me. I’m so excited. I haven’t seen him in a while. And so I’m waiting. And then he comes out after he is had a shower after the game. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and a woman on his arm, <laugh>. And I was

Engaging Story Host (06:39):


Rhonda Stoppe (06:39):

No, I know, right. And I was crushed cuz she wasn’t a little girl like I was. She was, I mean I was a teenager, I was a high schooler, but she was a woman. Yeah. And I watched him walk, walk up the bleachers with this woman introducing her to all the people he went to high school with. And my heart just sank. I was like, he’s never gonna notice me. And I looked down at my little block on my chest that said, Rhonda, yay on it. And I had my hair in a ponytail and I was just like, that’s it, it’s over. He’s never gonna notice me. So that story I love because I remember how I felt whenever there was a finally a chance that he, uh, started paying attention to me. But at that moment it was just like, oh, he’ll never notice me. And then as the story goes on and, and I dated boys and he dated women. Then as I got a little bit older, our paths crossed again. Like, the man has issues about his car.

Engaging Story Host (07:37):

He, he loves that car. <laugh>. Oh Man. So then, well, did anything happen after that?

Rhonda Stoppe (07:43):

That was somewhere in there. We got somewhere in there. I realized she wasn’t a little girl anymore

Rhonda Stoppe (07:52):


Rhonda Stoppe (07:53):

I was kinda wondering if you remembered it.

Steve Stoppe (07:58):


Steve Stoppe (07:59):

I kind of do. I remember it as you tell it.

Rhonda Stoppe (08:01):

Yeah, exactly. Well there was a time when we were sitting in his Mach1

Engaging Story Host (08:06):


Rhonda Stoppe (08:06):

Yeah. And he was expressing that he had gone to see this certain person and I’m not gonna name names..

Steve Stoppe (08:12):

No, that wouldn’t be good. That’d be wrong.

Rhonda Stoppe (08:14):

<laugh>. And I was like, oh my goodness. If I don’t say anything now, it’s, I’m never gonna say anything. Cuz we, I played it pretty cool, like the whole time that our families had been friends and I just kept the friend card going. And so as I got older I was like, uh, okay, if I don’t say anything now, I’m never gonna have a shot at this guy. So we’re both sitting in this Mach 1. I don’t know. why. I have a story about, is everything with this car? We really should have kept that car. Yeah.

Steve Stoppe (08:40):

Our whole life is in that car. Dude. <laugh>.

Rhonda Stoppe (08:44):

So we’re sitting in this car and we’re facing forward and I’m, and I said, I kind of really don’t want you to go see this person. And he said, why not? And my heart’s like in my chest pounding. And I’m like, okay, here goes. And I said, cuz I always kind of thought maybe one day you and I would get together. And then he didn’t answer me. He made me sit there in silence. And I was like, oh, I just blew it. I just blew it big time. And then finally he looked over at me and What’d you say? Do you remember Uhhuh? <laugh>? He didn’t remember all. He said it was no big deal. He just looked at me and said, uh, yeah, me too. That’s it. That’s what you said. Yeah,

Steve Stoppe (09:19):

I remember that. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I was there.

Rhonda Stoppe (09:21):

Yeah. If I told you right now, you wrote me a poem, you would believe that <laugh> <laugh>,

Rhonda Stoppe (09:26):

That was a beautiful

Rhonda Stoppe (09:27):

Poem. Yeah, yeah. No, thank you. Um, and so anyway, that was, that was the first I like you, do you like me? Yes or no? Check the box experience. That was our, that was our, uh, yep.

Rhonda Stoppe (09:37):

Our I do remember that. That was a great conversation. It

Steve Stoppe (09:39):

Was. Yeah, it was. Yeah. But I had to think real quick on my feet.

Engaging Story Host (09:41):

Like what was, what was, go ahead. What was the age difference between

Rhonda Stoppe (09:47):

You guys? I was probably,

Rhonda Stoppe (09:48):

It was, it was shorter then, um, <laugh>, she grew up and I stayed about the same. So we were probably within two years LOL

Rhonda Stoppe (09:54):

I was probably, I think I was driving, so I was probably 16 or 17. You’re probably, I think you’re getting close to graduate. And I think he was about, yeah. And he was probably about 22. I remember our families went out on his 21st birthday mm-hmm. As families. And we weren’t dating then. So it was sometime after something like, so yeah. So it was, uh, it was one of those, like, it just kind of took years before it was something where it was like, like even when people say, when did you start dating? It’s like,

Steve Stoppe (10:21):

We don’t really know <laugh>,

Rhonda Stoppe (10:23):

We still date now just to be sure. <laugh>,

Engaging Story Host (10:31):

Your faith has guided your marriage and made your relationship stronger.

Steve Stoppe (10:38):

Oh. Um, I’m just trying to maybe put into words what I’m thinking here. Um, I

Steve Stoppe (10:51):

I think understanding that our, our lives are here to serve Christ. I, I mean the only, the only reason why we’re, why we’re here on this earth is really to, and to have any real benefit or to have any real gain or to have any real, uh, maybe you might even say success is how, how you serve your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The holiness that you, that is manifested in your life. And I, I I think knowing that you start to filter that through all areas of your, of your relationships, whether it be, uh, your, your, your spouse, whether it be the people at church, whether it be, you know, whoever it might be, even the world as you relate even in the world because you have something greater to offer them than just, you know, your good looks and charm or your abilities or whatever it might be.

Steve Stoppe (11:45):

You have, you have eternity that you can, uh, can offer to them. And I think just having that perspective, um, a a as you enter into that marriage relationship, you, you realize that I’m, I’m bringing honor to the, to the Lord, to my God, to, to, I’m honoring Christ by the way that I treat this woman. Um, you know, it becomes very important. I mean, what, what, what’s Peter say in, in, in the third chapter of his book, he, he says, um, that I’m supposed to live with this woman according to knowledge. In other words, I’m supposed to know her. I go to school on her, understand everything about her, know how she ticks, know why she thinks the way she thinks, uh, know why she does what she does. And and he says the reason for that is so you can be a a so you can come alongside and be the husband you’re supposed to be, but there’s a reason for that as well.

Steve Stoppe (12:34):

And that is so that your prayers are not hindered. And so a lot of times I think we as men even, um, you know, because we don’t treat our wives well, because we don’t, uh, you know, we kind of look at them like, ah, man, I never understand. They’ll never get it. They’ll, you know, whatever it is that sometimes we do as guys. Um, I think that’s the whole thing, that when we get to a point where we go, man, I don’t feel like God’s even answering my prayers. It’s like, uh, yeah, duh. He’s not mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, because you are not fulfilling your end of the bargain. You’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing by being faithful to him and, uh, and knowing your wife the way you’re supposed to. So I think that’s probably just our faith and understanding that nuance of it. Uh, I, I think that’s probably played into big time, um, what my marriage looks like and what I want it to look

Engaging Story Host (13:21):Like.

Rhonda Stoppe (13:26):

Um, you hear that song being played, I think Rhonda wrote about it. It’s like all of a sudden you kind of look around the room, you’re seeing, you know, husbands put their arms around their wives and, you know, kind of look at ’em and maybe give ’em a little bit of a, uh, oh yeah, this is us sort of thing. So it it’s kind of a meaningful that way, you know? Um, and I think it’s better than groovy kind of love. So, you know,

Rhonda Stoppe (13:47):

<laugh>, there’s

Rhonda Stoppe (13:48):

Just, I don’t know how you can say that. I, I know we, we just celebrate our 35th anniversary on Monday, and this is all,

Rhonda Stoppe (13:53):

This is the first time she’s ever heard new to

Rhonda Stoppe (13:55):

Me that groovy kind love is not our

Rhonda Stoppe (13:56):

Song. Yeah. In, in,

Rhonda Stoppe (13:59):

In, in 35 more years. I got another one. I’m gonna have to lay on her. But that’s, that’s, that’s later

Rhonda Stoppe (14:04):

<laugh>. Thank you.

SPECIAL THANKS TO ENGAGING STORY Podcast Hosts Matt & Rebecca where this interview first aired 12/9/2016

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