How to have a happy marriage: Chuck and I have been married 24 years today and this is how we did it

How to have a happy marriage: Chuck and I have been married 24 years today and this is how we did it

Today is our 24th wedding anniversary and I'm feeling very lucky.  I met Chuck Jordan through a mutual male friend 24 years and 6 months ago at the old Palm Restaurant on E. Lake Shore Drive.  Actually, he wasn't the intended fix-up but he was the one who I remembered after leaving the restaurant.  We started dating and six months later, we got married at the Drake Hotel.  From the very beginning, he was and remains the nicest, kindest human being I've ever known.  It isn't often that you find your soulmate in life but I'm very blessed to have found mine.  I've learned a lot during the last 24 years and this is what I know about having a happy marriage.

People talk about "secrets to a happy marriage" but, in reality, they aren't "secrets" as much as common sense.  I admired and respected Chuck from the start and this admiration has only multiplied from year to year.  The one big argument I remember having was when we were first married and I threw a surprise birthday party for him.  I didn't know him as well as I should've because this turned out to be the one thing he hated the most.  He never wants to be the center of attention and, on this night at Gibson's, I realized what a mistake I had made but he gallantly carried on throughout the night as if it was his favorite thing in the world to be doing.  Lesson number one, know your intended's likes and dislikes, memorize and honor.

We've always been a romantic couple and I will never forget my birthday the year he made an omelet with a happy face in hot sauce on the top for me.  Leading from our bedroom all the way downstairs and into the kitchen, he had placed notes saying "this way".....ending with a beautiful card next to my creative breakfast plate.  A gift doesn't have to be costly to be memorable.  Whenever I find an appropriate  "Love Is" cartoon, I tape it somewhere unexpected for him to find.   I don't think you can ever say it or express your love often enough in both big and small ways.

For our first Christmas, I knew he loved Hemingway.  He was/is a voracious reader so I set out to find the perfect gift for my bibliophile husband and found it at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers; three pristine first edition Hemingway books (cheap!)!   And actually, these books led us to our continuing passion, collecting rare books which has now outgrown our library space.

Chuck says I collect so many things that the only thing he can afford to collect are swizzle sticks.  And he's right, we now have too much stuff but the one thing we both love are collecting travel mementos, especially Christmas ornaments.  We've bought one from every country/city we've ever visited.  And every Christmas, when we decorate the tree, we take a trip around the world all over again together.  Make memories, they will last you a lifetime.

While my job takes me to  many fabulous parties, galas and events, what I love the most is staying home with Chuck and our two Chihuahuas, Mickey and Rooney, with a nice fire, a good dinner (nothing fancy) and a bottle of wine.  For us, this is heaven.  Make time alone together.

A lot of my single friends have asked me if Chuck has a brother and, sadly, the answer is no.  I waited a long time for the right person to come along.  I was prepared to be single and was fine with this.   It's certainly better to be alone than to be married just for the sake of being married.  Believe me, your heart will tell you if you've found the right person, if this is what you're looking for.  Right now, there are some pretty scary things going on in the world and I hope you have someone to share your ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies, be it girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife.

I found mine and I'm counting my blessings today.  Happy Anniversary Chuck.....I hope we share 100+ more.

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