Harold and Louise are an extraordinary couple. My wife, Ashley, and I had the privilege of meeting them at a recent marriage conference we were hosting, and we were instantly drawn to them. There was a sparkle in their eyes and an adoration they obviously had for one another. They couldn’t help themselves from smiling every time their eyes met. Even though they were both in their seventies, they acted like two teenagers in love.
I spent as much time around them as I could that weekend, because I wanted to learn the “secret” of their lifelong love. I wanted know how their love had grown richer with time, and how even through painful setbacks in Louise’s health, they both remained joyful, optimistic, and passionately devoted to one another.
I asked them, “How have you remained so much in love after all these years? What’s the secret?”
Louise responded by sharing a story with us which gave us a glimpse into their relationship. She said, “Our first date was on March 17, so on April 17, Harold brought me a long stem rose to celebrate our one month anniversary. I was genuinely impressed by his thoughtfulness, but I didn’t expect the roses to come very often. I was so surprised when he brought me another rose on May 17 to celebrate our second month together. I smiled and thought, ‘Wow! This fella is a keeper!’
She looked at Harold with a smile and continued her story. “After we got married, I expected the roses to stop, but on the 17th that first month of our marriage, another rose appeared.”
She paused to squeeze Harold’s hand and tears began to form in her eyes as she smiled and said, “It has been fifty-four years since our first date, and every month on the seventeenth for 648 months in a row, Harold has brought me a rose.”
As she finished her story, I was simultaneously inspired by their love story and at the same time feeling like a jerk for having never done anything for Ashley that could match that level of consistent thoughtfulness. Harold definitely challenged me to raise the bar in my own marriage! I obviously couldn’t build a time machine and go back to the beginning to start that type of tradition, but I can (and you can too) start today to bring more thoughtfulness and romance to the marriage.
As I spend time with couples who have successfully loved each other for decades. I’m convinced their “secret” is really no secret at all. Lifelong love is a simple choice put into action by consistently serving, encouraging, supporting and adoring each other.
Make those simple-but-powerful acts of love a priority in your marriage and you’ll be writing a happy ending to your own love story.
For more tools to help you build a lifelong love with your spouse, please check out my bestselling book, “iVow: Secrets to a Stronger Marriage” which is now available on iTunes as an ebook download for iPhones, iPads and all Apple devices.
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