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Algonquin couple wrote the book on bettering marriages
Alissa Groeninger | Daily Herald Staff

Bob and Rita Boeke of Algonquin have written and self-published a book about bettering marriages. Bob's retired from teaching at Harper College in Palatine and Rita teaches at St. Viator in Arlington Heights.


Courtesy of Bob and Rita Boeke

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Published: 8/10/2009 12:04 AM

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Bob and Rita Boeke are planning a workshop called "Forever and a Day."

Date: Sunday, Oct. 25

Location: Holy Family Parish in Inverness

Details: Call Mary Whiteside at (847) 907-3450

They also will be doing a book reading and signing in October at Harper College, but details are still being finalized. It will be aimed at retirees and titled "Keeping Retirement Interesting: Writing a Book and Other Activities that Keep Boredom at Bay."

Algonquin couple Bob and Rita Boeke say that after 43 years of marriage, they are still in the honeymoon stage.

"There's still a distinct chemistry between us that people see," Rita said.

The Boekes have written and self-published a book, "Forever and a Day: An Invitation to Create a Marriage that Lasts a Lifetime," about enhancing marriages. The book was published on May 6 and is available on

"We really see this book as telling our story so other people can have a better story of their own," Bob said.

In 1974, the couple took a marriage retreat with friends and by the end of the weekend they were asked to present. After the retreat, the Boekes began working with couples. Bob said they never planned anything but people kept asking them to help.

"When we talk about our story, they find something about their story," he said.

The Boekes went to high school together in western Ohio and Rita, who is a year younger than Bob, was best friends with Bob's sister. Rita had a crush on Bob for years before they started dating her senior year of high school.

They moved to the Chicago area when Bob went to graduate school at Northwestern University and to the suburbs when Bob got a job at Harper College in Palatine.

"I always think its important to know where you come from to determine where you want to go," Rita said.

Couples often told them to write a book, but it took their four children, who range from age 29 to 36, to get them going. The couple worked two-to-three weeks every summer for five years on it, renting a condo in Florida to find inspiration and time with one another. Not much was done outside of summer because both were teaching. Rita is still with the religion department at St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights and Bob, who at one time also taught at St. Viator, is retired from teaching physics and math at Harper.

The Boekes say that their book is unusual in that most marriage books are written by at least one professional in the field. They also stressed that the book is not about fixing marriages; it is about celebrating them.

Paul McMahon, director of youth ministries at Holy Family Catholic Community in Inverness, where the Boekes are members, agreed.

"It's aimed at making good marriages stronger," he said.

McMahon, who also taught at St. Viator, and his wife read the book together. It is for busy people who want to take some time out to reconnect, he added.

"Sometimes that communication can get lost," he said. "We get so separate in our worlds."

Readers can learn "what it truly means to love someone, selflessly," said Rita King, of Arlington Heights, a close friend of the couple and a teacher at St. Viator. King said she smiled while reading the book because she could see her own marriage in the story.

"They invite people into their life," King said.

The couple has had a successful relationship because they have a "tremendous respect for each other," Bob said. On their wedding day, the Boekes decided they wanted to do something together that would help other people.

"We think its always important for a married couple to see marriage as bigger than the two of them," Rita said

Through the years that Rita has taught, Bob has spoken to her students in the hopes that they can find happiness.

"We think we've experienced a pretty fantastic life together," Rita said. "(But) we want other couples to have more than we've experienced."