If you held me down to provide the “secret sauce,”
I’d say it is simply giving each other space.
This week’s blog posting has a more personal indulgence than past posts. Hopefully, in keeping with the theme of this blog, you will see the connection to growth and resilience. Valentine’s Day is not just another holiday on the calendar for me. It our wedding anniversary. And February 14, 2016 marks our 40th year. Forty years! Amazing to think of that number. It seems like it belongs to someone else—someone much, much, much older! Where did the time go? My wife and I agree that it has gone by in a blink.
A little background. My wife Laurie (Hoppi) and I met on a blind date during my senior year in college. (Wednesday, January 21, 1975 to be exact). We went to a Jacksonville University Dolphin basketball game at the old Jacksonville Coliseum. Three months after our introduction, I graduated and started a career.
One month after that, Hoppi moved to Jacksonville. Nine months after that we were married. The year was 1976.
Historical context. It’s really difficult for either of us to forget our anniversary date. The day is a holiday and the year saw our nation celebrating its bicentennial. For those readers who might have a bit of difficulty remembering that year, here is a (very) little time capsule:
- Pittsburgh beat Dallas in Super Bowl X.
- A new figure on the national political scene won the Democratic Caucus in Iowa—and eventually the presidency.
- The Toronto Blue Jays baseball team came into existence.
- Apple Computer Company was created by Jobs and Wozniak.
- The New York Yankees were swept by the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series.
- NBC replaced the peacock logo (remember that logo?).
- Ted Turner purchased the Atlanta Braves for $12 million (not sure that would even pay for the salary of a “star” in 2016).
- Laverne and Shirley premiered.
- The minimum wage hit $2.35.
- Bruce Jenner won the Olympic decathlon.
- The number one Billboard song on February 14, 1976: “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover” (Not sure that was a good omen for a wedding day! But I digress.)
(Above from http://www.timelines.ws/20thcent/1976.HTML;
Secret Sauce? But obviously for this 22-year old couple, the big news was our wedding—and the beginning of a life-long adventure.
People have asked us about the “secret” to 40 years of marriage. I never like those types of questions. The answers usually sound so freakin’ pompous and self-serving. For us, there is no secret; no formula. We have had our difficulties like all others.
Heck, truth be told, we didn’t know what we were getting into. We didn’t have a checklist of what we wanted or were looking for. But, if you held me down to provide a “secret,” I’d say it is simply giving each other space. That “secret sauce” was there in 1976. Still present today. Heck, who else would go to a wedding with someone who looked like he had stepped out of Miami Vice? (See above photo sometime in the 1980s. Sonny Crockett anyone?)
We have encouraged each other, supported each other, and challenged each other along these four decades. We have NEVER “kept score.” You know, the kind of relationship you might hear something like, “Well, I did such and such last week…so you have to do such and such this week.”
We did share—and I think more than we really knew at the time—a value structure about the things that really mattered. Trust. Respect. Laughter. Simplicity. Work and play ethic. That has been huge as we moved through–and continue to move through–life. Growth and resilience were nurtured.
But mostly the reason for our success and longevity is that I “married up”! I’ve said this often. I hit the jackpot. Cliché? Guilty! But if there is such a thing, I married an old soul. Hoppi lets so many things roll off her back—while I fuss and fume. We’ve had our share of challenges and disagreements—and, again, she had the winning attitude.
One card I got her (on our 35th anniversary) pretty much summed it up: “Of course I love you. Who else would put up with all my crap?” She is amazing.
Video recommendations for the week:
So, happy anniversary to my (and many people’s) inspiration. I’ll leave with two songs. Billy Joel’s “You’re My Home” was our wedding song. (The wedding reception band we hired was named Sounds Interesting.)
And Alan Jackson simply captures the range of experiences over time.
When you spend more than two-thirds of your life with one person, it is healthy to remember all the good times and the not-so good times that made us stronger and increasingly resilient. And the many, many good times to still come. I love you, Hoppi!
Make it a spectacular week as you grab for each moment.—H.T.R.B. as needed.
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(c) 2016. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.