Monday, December 18, 2006

One Heart, One Love: Not Your Usual Love Story

This one falls under my "weird and wonderful" categories: a love story that came from a transplanted heart. Can you imagine how Shakespeare would have rewritten Romeo and Juliet if organ transplants were available in his time?

Cheryl Cottle lost her beloved husband in 1995 when he was only 33, and had made the decision to donate his organs. The eventual recipient, Sonny Graham, had been given 6 months to live if he didn't receive a heart transplant. Transplant information is kept confidential, however, he wrote a letter to Lifepoint, Inc. (the organ procurement agency) who forwarded it to Cheryl. He thanked the family for the gift of life he had received from them and asked to meet.

Cheryl sent photos and some information. About two years later, they finally met for dinner and Sonny was immediately taken with her. He said, "I felt like I had known her for years. I couldn't keep my eyes off her. I just stared.". . . and Sonny won her heart.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Christmas Collectibles

The holiday season has officially begun and many of us are preparing for Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. If you're like most, online shopping is the way to go. No traffic, no lines. You get from one store to the next with a mouse click. What could be easier?

Christmas and Hanukkah Gifts & Ornaments
They'll always cherish a holiday gift or ornament that you personalize with a loving message.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Love Mystery

A four-page love letter was found in a cigarette box donated to the Oxfam charity shop in Manchester, England. It was apparently written by an American serviceman named Walter (because of some of the slang in it) to his fiance, Toni. It seems as if it was written just before the wedding.

The staff didn't know who the donor was, as many people come in and just leave a bag of goods for them.

The store manager, Wendy Elliot says, ""This is such a beautiful and movingly written letter. It just brings home to you what ordinary people had to live through. I do hope Toni and Walt survived the war and found life-long happiness."

This is a very long shot, so I'm posting the contact info here: If you have any information about Walter, Toni or the cigarette box, contact the Manchester Evening News (U.K.) newsdesk at 0161-211-2468 or email: newsdesk (at)

Here's the entire love story.

Monday, August 07, 2006

How to P*ss Off Your Wife

Are you one of those couples whose relationship is going toooooo well? You're too happy and need to shake up things a bit? Well, this guy Steve has come up with a bunch of ideas that's sure to drive your wife completely wacko.

His theory?
The prospect of intimacy is a lot more exciting when you know that there's just no way you are going to get anywhere near her, and you have to find a way to win your way back into her arms.

Women out there? Any rebuttals? (That may be a pun, forgive me.)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A Love Letter That Wasn't Burned

Who says people don't save love letters forever?

An empty envelope postmarked in 1847 with a unique Alexandria Blue Boy stamp sold for $1 million dollars at auction in 1981. It was exhibited in the Court of Honor at the Washington 2006 World Philatelic Exhibition in Philadelphia (held only about once every 10 years).

May Day Taylor, a philatelist, was helping with the preparations and became thoroughly intrigued by the mystery of what that empty envelope contained. She began an extensive search through genealogy and old town records that consumed her interest and time for more than 20 years.

Believe it or not, from two names, Ms. Taylor tracked down the love letter that that was saved in a scrapbook.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Why You Should Handwrite a Love Letter

We all love emailing and text messaging: it's easy and fast.

But there's a downside to sending a romantic love letter by email, especially when your relationship is new, or in this case, doesn't even exist yet.

John Dobbie met Kate Winsall at a party but had a bit too much to drink and well, he behaved in less than a gentlemanly manner. To make it up, he decided to send her an email apology. While writing it, he became inspired and wrote a passionate letter of admiration.

She was taken aback. Hey, she just met this guy a few days ago and forwarded the letter to her sister, who then sent it to her friends...and from there, it spread rapidly through the Internet. John began receiving so many phone calls he had to change his home and cell phone numbers.

Read about his touching love letter that circled the world.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Gifts that Keep on Giving

One of my favorite TV shows is the hilarious "My Wife and Kids" with Damon Wayons and Tisha Campbell-Martin. In a 2004 episode, Jay gives Michael an anniversary present he considers very unromantic: she buys a llama for a poor farmer in South America. In retaliation, he buys the dress she wanted and sends it to the wife of the farmer.

Neither are happy about this and resolve to give each other more personal gifts for their anniversary.

But Michael and Jay are in their earlier years of marriage, and when a couple reaches their 50th, many don't want any more "stuff," from each other or anyone else. Janice and Charles Krahenbuhl of Gilroy, CA decided to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in exactly this way. They asked for donations to the Heifer Project and hope that friends and family donate to the Heifer Project and hope to raise $500 so they can provide an entire heifer.

To make this event noteworthy, Dr. Bill Beck, the director and founder of this project, came to their town and spoke to the townspeople. Read about his talk, Love Made Real and the Heifer Project.

There are many local and international organizations that could use a helping hand. Is this a way you and your spouse can share your love with the world?

Friday, July 21, 2006

An Anniversary Gift of Life

This September, Gary and Jackie Greening will celebrate their 20th anniversary and Jackie gave her husband an early anniversary present: one of her kidneys.

In 1987, Gary accidentally discovered that he had only one kidney that was operational and he was closely monitored. Recently, when his remaining kidney was functioning at 12%, he was told by his doctor that he either had to go on dialysis or get a transplant.

Jackie decided to contribute one of hers, so this past June, they underwent surgery together.

Gary said, “When someone tells you they love you, it’s meaningful, but it’s just a word... when someone is going to risk their life for you, that is truly the ultimate gift.”

Read their inspiring story here.

Monday, July 17, 2006

A Literal Leap of Love

Wanna spice up your marriage? There's a lot of advice about how to do this, but a Malaysian couple, Cheah Sum Beng (64) and his wife Choo Kit Har (61) chose to take their 37th anniversary celebration literally to new heights: they chose to skydive, for the first time in their lives!

Choo Said, "Our children thought we have lost our minds when we told them that we wanted to take part in the event. Only later did they calm down and wished us luck and told us to enjoy ourselves."

Cheah's expressed his attitude towards life: " should jump at every opportunity given rather than keep on dreaming about it."

I applaud this couple's faith in life and love. And although most of us wouldn't go to this extreme, doesn't this make you want to go out and do those things that you've never done before as a couple?

Give yourself some space to live your dreams: you only come around once!

Anyone out there with an adventurous anniversary celebration story?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

China's Love Letter Crisis

Where in the world is the lost art of romance?

The Shanghai Popular Book Mall launched a love letter contest in June which ended yesterday. You would think the Chinese, with a population of well over 1 billion, would contribute a tremendous response.

However, the organizers said they had received only about 30 letters one day before the deadline, and that nearly all of them were from women.

Professor Chen Lifei from Shanghai Normal University offered that "Several decades ago, Chinese people seldom spoke out loud about their love due to the society's atmosphere. Their oppressed feelings could only be relieved by means of passionate love letters."

An organizer of the event lamented that you could find love letter forms all over the Internet, where all you had to do was input some basic information, and presto, you could send an "instant" love letter.

Yes, a love letter from the heart takes some time, but it's a lot easier than you think. Because you shouldn't think when you're writing one! Here are some easy love letter writing tips.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

What does it take to stay married? recently took a poll about what keeps marriages together, that is, the 50% or so of couples that do remain married.

700 people (not couples) responded and here is why they stayed with their spouse:
30% - due to love
30% - because of children
20% - commitment
9% - out of fear
8% - finances
4% - tradition

(That does add up to 101%, but I don't think you should lose any sleep about that.)

Beth Young, Senior Editor, offers advice on going the distance. Much of it has been said over and over again: show your appreciation and love, make date nights, get out without the children. Do you follow this advice?

Marriage and family counselor, Deborah Carver, LMSW, observed that, "people who stay married out of love are working hard at their marriage. A popular catch phrase these days is, 'I’ve fallen out of love.” She advised that this attitude is a cop out because everyone knows that a good marriage takes work; we love the things we take time and energy with."

Why are you staying married? If not for love or commitment, what can you do to improve your relationship?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A Uniquely Romantic Anniversary Gift

Do you stress out trying to figure out what anniversary gift to give your spouse? Diamonds, flowers, chocolate and gold: been there, done that.

A mystery buyer at an auction in England gave his wife a lake for their 40th anniversary. He paid £86,000 (nearly $152,000) for an idyllic lake set in the midst of 8 acres of woodland that is surrounded by farms.

Well, you may not have this much credit or available cash, but this could spark some unique ideas for making sure you have your own little spot somewhere to snuggle forever after!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Give a Meaningful Anniversary Gift

As you reach those benchmark wedding anniversary years, especially the 10th, 20th, 25th and beyond, you may not want all those anniversary gifts, no matter how well-meaning. It may also be your second marriage, and quite frankly, you don't need any more "stuff" crammed into your home.

Why not celebrate your love of life together and ask for donations instead to your favorite charity or cause? Gift-givers (family and close friends) will not only be relieved that they don't have to figure out what to give you, but will be happy that their gift helps others as well as celebrating your marriage and love.

Silvia Murray battled breast cancer and was successful, however, she and her husband have lost other family members to this disease. Read how they decided to celebrate their 10th anniversary and help others suffering from cancer.

Kay and Tony Fahey are going to celebrate their 25th anniversary by cycling together for a 750 mile ride through France and Spain to raise money for cerebral palsy, which their 22-year-old son has.

Another idea may be to create a family time capsule, which I got from this incredible story about a grandfather who suffered from cancer and knew he wouldn't live to see his 6-year-old grandson grow up, decided to create one and soon his family was making contributions. Read this extraordinarily touching story of love and memories.

Please post any wonderful anniversary celebration stories (yours or others) about couples who share their love and joy with others!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Happily Celebrate Their 60th Anniversary

It's really no surprise that the former President and his wife are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary and are still happily married. But it is a surprise to find out that Carter admits to being "embarrassingly dominant" in the earlier days of his marriage.

However, at one point, Rosalynn put down her foot. During his 1970 governor's race, he asked her to pack his bag for him again. And she told him he could do it himself!

In love after all these years, Carter often gives her flowers and places a rose in a vase at her desk. What's a more simple and romantic dedication to their love than that?

Read about their earlier years of marriage and find out what makes them tick as a couple.

They're a couple who agrees to disagree: and in this case, make it work for them.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Priest Chooses Love and Marriage

John Hank, a Roman Catholic priest, came to a thoughtfully considered decision after more than a decade of faithfully performing the spiritual duties of a priest: he wanted love, marriage and a family in his life.

About to celebrate his 14th anniversary, Hank still provides sacraments, including celebrating Mass, marrying people and spiritual counseling as a member of Celibacy Is The Issue Ministries (aka, a lay organization that locates, recruits, certifies and promotes married Roman Catholic priests to fill the many spiritual needs of Roman Catholics.

This organization cites 21 canons which they claim justifies the use of married priests.

According to their interpretation, Can.1037, which requires priests to maintain celibacy, "is a merely ecclesiastical law (a man-made disciplinary law) of the Roman Catholic Church...Such laws are of human origin and can be altered or eliminated by human initiative in view of the changing pastoral circumstances of Christ's faithful."

They also feature a controversial book, The Bingo Report, by Louise Haggett which links mandatory celibacy to sexual abuse, according to a 10-year sociological study. Download the first chapter free.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Fathers Day Gifts

The husband who is also "Dad" wants to be cherished by his wife for all the man he is. So for Fathers Day, give him a gift that shows how much you appreciate his XY chromosomes!

For a thrill he'll never forget: send him to a baseball or basketball fantasy camp, or maybe he prefers learning how to race a car.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Dance Your Way to a Happy Anniversary

This is one couple who found great joy in learning to dance that helps them to stay in shape and enjoy their marriage. Carl Boyer and his wife Marge began taking dance lessons 6 years ago when they were retired and just returned from an international dance contest in Canada.

You don't have to wait until retirement: find an activity that you both enjoy and put the fun back in your life again. Not only will it help you stay in shape--when you "play together, you'll stay together."

However, some competitive sports such as tennis can bring out the worst in couples. I've seen near divorces happen right on the court! So if you aren't having fun with one activity, find another that brings out the good side of your better half.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Literally couldn't write a love letter

John Harrell was married for 23 years and never wrote his wife a love letter. Not that he didn't want to write one--he couldn't. He barely knew how to read, let alone write. So at 55, he finally sought help, and finally wrote an overdue love letter to his wife.

Love letters don't have to be for any special occasion, nor do they have to be long. A "just because I love you" note is just as appreciated. Learn how to get the love in your heart on paper.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

A Most Romantic Man

Men may think romance to women is all about the wining, the dining and the diamond jewelry. Sometimes it is. But true romance is when the bottom falls out of your life, and your man is there for you 24/7.

Deborah Icenhour won a contest called "The Most Romantic Man in The South" with an essay about her husband David's gentle and loving care for her when she was diagnosed with breast cancer last April.

She says, "True romance is not flowers and candlelight dinners. It comes from the heart in the form of kindness, love, friendship, understanding, and patience."

Read this touching story here and try not to cry your heart out!

Friday, April 07, 2006

What is it about anniversaries and gambling?

A short while ago I posted about a couple who won $667,000 with a winning Lotto ticket bought on their 12th anniversary.

Now, Carmalee Wolf of Lodi, CA won $500,000 on a penny slot machine on her 30th anniversary!

Seems to still be a lucky day for some couples!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Marriage Is Just Another Job

Men, good news! Forget about becoming more sensitive to your wife's feelings, pretending to care about those long talks about feelings, heck, don't even worry about your own feelings anymore!

While modern therapy has suggested that men do all of the icky stuff above, which turns your average guy's guts inside out, Scott Haltzman, a psychiatrist, has a better idea: you're good at solving problems, "fixing" stuff, so do what you do best and apply it to your marriage.

It's actually a lot of work, but he thinks that men should take advantage of their logical orientation, make observations and create to-do lists. In other words, treat your marriage like a job.

His The Secrets of Happily Married Men: Eight Ways to Win Your Wife's Heart Forever offers eight ways to approach your wife and marriage on terms that will make more sense to you...and ultimately offer more happiness to the both of you. And at under $15, it's a heckuva lot cheaper than marriage counseling!

Right off the bat, the first way is "Make Your Marriage Your Job," and he proceeds to give marriage a job description. I can't promise you this is going to be as easy as it sounds, but it will give you a truly male perspective from which to approach your marriage and problems.

Craig Stoltz of the Washington Post gives a good rundown of the Eight Secrets.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

80 Years of Marriage

Well, what could possibly follow a post on 70, 60 and 50 years of marriage?

George (101) and Shigeyo (96) Yamasaki of Auburn, CA were married 80 years ago on March 19. And all Shigeyo could say to her daughter about it was, "Eighty years - we've been together 80 years?"

They made it through the Depression, life in an internment camp and raised seven kids while running a farm. Six of their children are still alive. Their parents arranged their marriage and they met only once before they were married. He was 21, she was 16.

3 Long-Range Plans

I think it's a good thing that we can't see into the future because we might not do things because we didn't see far enough. Here's 3 short stories on three happy couples who put in 70, 60, and 50 years together.

John and Elizabeth: how they managed
"It's a marriage made in heaven. She's got to look at my side. I've got to look at her side. Then we combine it."

Was it love at first sight?
Just before heading overseas for World War II, Robert spotted Lorraine at a USO dance. He walked over to say hi. "I was lonely," he says. "She looked lonely, too." It wasn't exactly love at first sight. Recalls Lorraine: "I said to my girlfriend, 'Uh oh, here comes a hick.' " Three months later they were engaged.

John and Shirley: who's the boss?
"I'm the president. She's the vice president, secretary and treasurer," he says. "Each office carries one vote. When we decide, I cast my vote. She casts her three."

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A Unique 50th Anniversary Celebration

Well, is this one extraordinarily sentimental husband or is he a bit daffy? Beryl and Les Lailey of Manchester, England kept a tin of chicken in jelly that they had received as part of a gift food hamper when they married in 1956. Les always said, "on my 50th wedding anniversary, I'm going to eat that chicken," and he did. His wife was reportedly not too impressed.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A love that will never be forgotten

International businessman and philanthropist Henri Zimand lost his beloved wife of 25 years, Anda, to breast cancer in 2001. They loved each other and one of the ways they celebrated their romance was to travel to New York City every year for Valentine's Day and take a carriage ride through Central Park.

As a tribute to her, he has been offering free carriage rides through Central Park and for every carriage ride taken, donates $100 to breast cancer research and prevention.

"Every year, I would take my wife to New York on Valentine's Day for a carriage ride through Central Park," said Zimand. "I miss those romantic moments, and my wife, very much. I hope to not only help fight and prevent breast cancer, but also remind everyone that romance is very much alive. Despite all the terrible things happening in the world today, there is so much love and beauty; I want to help people celebrate their love for each other and remember the truly important things in life."

He also said, "My hope is to spread the message of how enduring love and support can get you through the hardest times. My wife Anda and I had one of the greatest love stories, being married for over 25 years and having three children."

Zimand also established an international Valentine's Day love letter contest. Fifteen winners are selected and each winner flown to New York with his or her spouse or significant other for a romantic Valentine's Day getaway.

One contestant from 2005, Cori Ivory, married for 11 years, said, "Love letters definitely have meaning in a relationship," Ivory added, even after more than a decade of marriage and children. "I always have to find time for these types of things. I mean, you always find enough time for work. You have to find time for each other as well."

This year was the second annual contest, which is announced in November, so keep your eyes open for this one! I'll make a post about this when it is announced again later this year. Visit for more information and to view the three grand prize love letters for this year.

Monday, March 13, 2006

A Special 10th Anniversary Gift

Hui-Lan Titangosat and her husband Paul received a wedding gift of cymbidium orchid bulbs from their photographer. Little did they realize that getting them to bloom would be a metaphor for the patience and endurance of love.

The orchids finally began to bloom, in time for their 10th wedding anniversary.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Christopher and Dana Reeve's True Love and Devotion

I don't think you'll ever find a more compelling love story than that of Christopher and Dana Reeve. Three years into their marriage, Christopher became a paraplegic when he fell from a horse. They had recently had their only son, Will.

Sadly, Dana, who just died on March 8th from lung cancer (she was not a smoker), said about Christopher when asked how she kept her spirits up, "I was married to a man who never gave up." And about her devotion to Christopher, she claimed she was no saint, "but a woman simply in love."

A few months ago, I was in a convenience store and struck up a conversation with a man in his 60s. After a minute of chit-chat, he confided in me about his situation. His wife of over 40 years was stricken ill and bed-ridden in the past year. He had a caregiver stay with her during the day as he worked (he was obviously not a wealthy man) and came home at night to take care of her himself. He stayed up many nights to comfort his wife when she was in pain.

Some of his married buddies told him to "stick her in a home and get on with his life." He was so shocked that his friends felt that way. "She made a wonderful home and life for us for nearly 40 years. How could I abandon her? I love her."

How do you think you would react if your spouse was stricken with a long-term illness or injury that he or she would not recover from?

Care Packages: Letters to Christopher Reeve from Strangers and Other Friends was compiled by Dana, who selected from the postal tidal wave following his accident. She presents her choices in chapters such as "Overcoming Adversity" and "Cures and Recommendations," along with recollections from correspondents who knew or had met the actor. Dana wrote an introductory note for each chapter and a handwritten final word to her husband.

Nothing is Impossible: Reflections on a New Life is a meditative companion to Christopher Reeve's earlier biography, Still Me. Each chapter is devoted to some aspect of successful living (humor, faith, hope) or addresses a major life issue (parenting, religion, recovery). It also serves as an inspirational primer for those who may be challenged by mental rather than physical wounds.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

What's The Best Wedding Anniversary Gift?

Choosing a wedding anniversary gift that wows your husband or wife can rate high on your anxiety list; your anniversary is an occasion where the thought counts even more than the gift. The idea that your loving spouse should "know what I want" can lead to disappointed expectations, as men and women tend to have radically different ideas about what "romantic" means. Mind reading is an art, not a science; so make it easy for your husband or wife to choose the best anniversary gift for you. Drop easy-to-figure-out hints or talk about how you would love to celebrate your anniversary.

You don't always have the money or the time to plan an extravagant wedding anniversary celebration, and truly, the amount of money spent isn't going to be what makes your husband or wife feel cherished. Life is busier than ever for most couples and it's easy to fall into a routine that deadens your marriage. Making time to celebrate your love gets lost in the shuffle. Your anniversary is the perfect occasion to break out of your rut.

What will touch your husband or wife's heart, what's been missing in your relationship that you want to enjoy again? Answer this question and you'll be on the right path to finding wedding anniversary gifts that have the magic "wow" factor.
  • Personalize a flower bouquet or a box of chocolates with a love letter, note or a short poem. "Roses are red, violets are blue, we've been married for xx years, and my love for you is still true." "Chocolates are yummy and sweet, but you are always my number one treat." Take a romantic song lyric and personalize it by changing a few words or a line or two. Doesn't have to be fancy, just romantic, sweet and heartfelt.

  • Place a jewelry gift in a special keepsake box and also enclose a love note. If you're dining out at your favorite restaurant, have your anniversary gift delivered with dessert. Buy a heart-shaped serving tray to present it. Or custom engrave a bracelet with a romantic message.

  • A romantic evening home alone can jump start your romance again. Create a fun theme for your evening and buy costumes to match it. Order in a dinner so you only have to heat and serve.

  • Indulge yourselves with a sexy getaway. If you have children, maybe a relative or trusted friends can take them for one night so you can enjoy a private anniversary celebration. Get a suite and decorate it beforehand. Set up candles, strew the bed with flower petals, sexy lingerie and fun toys. Put on your favorite music and leisurely give each other a massage to get into the mood.

  • Personalized romantic gifts are very appreciated, especially when they include words of love or a happy photo of you together. Create a custom anniversary gift basket. Include items such photos, love coupons, a framed love letter, a small box of chocolates, massage oils, a few fresh flowers, aromatic candles, bottle of wine or small romantic trinkets with special meanings to your marriage.

  • Show how much you appreciate your husband or wife and plan your anniversary celebration around something that they always wanted to do but haven't done yet.

A great wedding anniversary gift expresses what romance uniquely means to your marriage. Carefully listen for your spouse's hints and clues.

But the best anniversary gift is to give your husband or wife what they truly want: to know that you cherish your love and marriage...and always will.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

U.S. legalizes interracial marriage in 1967

1967?!?! I was just browsing for some interesting trivia about marriage, and although I'm a child of the 60s, had no idea this persisted until then. So much for learning relevant history in high school.

This turning point was made with the case of Loving v. Virginia, where the United States Supreme Court ruled that Virginia's ban on interracial marriage was unconstitutional—I guess Virginia wasn't always for lovers.

In 1967, the following states still had bans on miscegenation: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

It took South Carolina until 1998 and Alabama until 1999 to amend their state laws and remove the offending language.

Danny and Annie Perasa, Lovebirds 4Evah

Off-Track betting clerk Danny Perasa passed away last week, but despite suffering from pancreatic cancer, made the trip a few weeks ago with the treasure of his life, Annie, to the StoryCorps oral history booth at Grand Central Station in New York City. The booth was dedicated to them with a special plaque. They recounted the tale of their first date, where Danny quipped:
"If we're going anywhere, we're going down the aisle, because I'm too tired, too sick, and too sore to do any other damn thing."

Annie tells about the love notes he left her: guys, once you hear this, you'll never be at a loss about what to put in a love letter again.

Listen to their story and others here. The StoryCorps is a national project to record Americans' inspiring stories and create an oral history. They are traveling throughout the country recording interviews between family members and friends.

Learn how you can participate in this extraordinary project. NPR (National Public Radio) and The American Folklife Center/The Library of Congress are their national partners and you can have your interview archived at the American Folklife Center if you wish.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Which last longer: romantic or arranged marriages?

A Taiwanese couple, Liu Yung-yang, 103, and his wife Yang Wan, 102, were certified by the Guiness Book of Records as the world's longest married couple in 2002. They were married in 1917 and have more than 100 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Amazingly, Mr. Liu worked on the family farm until 1982. Mrs. Liu died in 2003 and they had been married for 86 years by then.

They had an arranged marriage, and according to Taiwanese customs, Yang Wan went to live at his parents house when she was five, to do chores and learn to take care of him. They married in their late teens.

It is said that arranged marriages last longer, I have no idea whether or not that is true. But if it is, I wonder why.

Here is an enlightening explanation of modern arranged marriages and the dowry system in India. Everything has its pros and cons.

Is it that we expect too much from romantic love, which is short-lived? And desperately try to recreate magic moments over and over, which as we all know, can never the same. The evolution of romantic love, which was once a liberating movement, has become its own trap. Yet romance is an intoxicating feeling, and keeping its spirit alive in a marriage is something that many couples can achieve. Accepting the transition of fiery passion into a warm, mellow glow is a prerequisite.

Perhaps the success of arranged marriages (at least in the past) was due to lowered expectations of guaranteed happiness. I'd love to hear from contemporary couples in arranged marriages and find out their views on arranged marriages in today's world.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

When losing your virginity once is not enough...

Thought that once a woman lost her viriginity, it was a done deal? Hah, there's nothing that a good plastic surgeon can't reconstruct!

A hymenoplasty reconstructs the hymen and its star-shaped center so that a woman will go through the "first time" pain and bleeding again. A reconstructed hymen does not make you a virgin again--technically, spritually, physically--once you give it up, it's gone forever.

A young woman can accidentally stretch or tear her hymen from a fall, athletics (such as cycling, horseback riding or gymnastics) or from the use of tampons, and due to ethnic or relgious reasons, may want to have her hymen intact again before she marries.

Some cultures value virginity so highly that a woman will not be able to be married without the semblance of virginity. This procedure is very popular in Latin America and the Middle East, but is fast becoming popular in the U.S.

This is not a procedure that will help a woman improve her sex life, although many women hope it will do just that, due to shady marketing practices.

Why would an older woman have a hymenoplasty? Jeanette Yarborough decided virginity would make a great 17th anniversary gift to her husband!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Seniors in love: commited, but no marriage plans

Here's a wonderful story about an older couple who fell in love, but aren't getting married.

Some of us see our parents going through this situation, either divorced or widowed, meeting a love later in life but not wanting to get married as there can be too many legal and financial complications. They want to keep their own assets, make sure their own children inherit something, previous Social Security benefits may be lowered, the list goes on.

How do you feel about a parent living with someone and not getting married?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Same-sex marriage is the result of marriage?

The Rev. Donald Sensing, pastor of the Trinity United Methodist Church in Franklin, TN blames The Pill for leading to same-sex marriage.
In conclusion, he says:
If society has abandoned regulating heterosexual conduct of men and women, what right does it have to regulate homosexual conduct, including the regulation of their legal and property relationship with one another to mirror exactly that of hetero, married couples?

I believe that this state of affairs is contrary to the will of God. But traditionalists, especially Christian traditionalists (in whose ranks I include myself) need to get a clue about what has really been going on and face the fact that same-sex marriage, if it comes about, will not cause the degeneration of the institution of marriage; it is the result of it.

Read the entire article at the Opinion Journal.

More people wanting to get married is better, no? It's going to be interesting to see if gay marriages outlast hetero ones down the line.

A $667,000 anniversary gift they'll never forget

Couples search for that unique "something extra" to celebrate their wedding anniversary, but the unexpected gave Dwight and Jeanie Walton of Kentucky the surprise anniversary gift of a lifetime.

They celebrated their 12th anniversary with a romantic dinner at a local restaurant and on the way home, decided to buy a couple Powerball quick pick tickets at a convenience store. The next morning, they found out that they had matched 5 numbers. The usual $200,000 prize had swelled to $667,142 because of the size of the prize pool.

One heckuva way to top off an anniversary celebration!

Monday, February 20, 2006

I've heard of pre-nups, but nothin' like this. . .

You may have heard about Travis Frey, an Iowa man accused of kidnapping his wife (and downloading child porn) and the insane marriage contract that he expected her to follow. You can't say this man is crazy, because his list is so thorough and methodical from how often his wife should shave everything (every 3 days), allowing her to keep 5 pairs of non-thong panties during her menstrual cycle and a requirement that half her shoe purchases must be 2" or greater high heels. But he did offer "good behavior days" where she would be relieved of duties to him.

Of course, this is not a "marriage contract" but a sex slave contract.

Frey's lawyer denies that his client wrote the four page Contract of Wifely Expectations. Ladies, don't read this near your loving hubby, as you may freak and accidently take it out on the wrong man!

The power of love may help Alzheimer patients

Your wedding day was one of the happiest days of your life (hopefully) and an Edmonton, Canada care center, McConnell Place North, has been re-enacting wedding ceremonies to help stimulate Alzheimer patients memories. It's a unique approach and there's no scientific proof that it works, but at the very least, it shows how strongly a loving memory can impact a severe illness.

If you have a parent suffering with Alzheimers, perhaps this is something you could suggest to their care provider.

Please post your story or e-mail me here if you receive a positive response from a care provider. news story

Sunday, February 19, 2006

How did Madonna celebrate her 5th anniversary?

By getting very drunk, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

"I usually have rather grand affairs: I insist that all my friends put on shows in my country house, or I have a big party in the city, or we go back to Scotland, where we got married.

"But this time I decided to do it very low-key."

I, I, I, I: I think the problem is obvious.

Yes, the Ritchies are having mucho problems. Do you think they'll last as long as Bill and Lil Ritchie of Kentucky, married in April, 1919? They were one of the couples who held the Guinness World Record for longest married couple in 2002.

That was a very good year for longest marriages.

77th wedding anniversary and still going strong

Fred (102) and Gwen (101) Landis were married in October, 1928 and their love is still going strong. What's the secret to their marital bliss?

Both agree on commitment. "Sure, we've had squabbles and disagreements galore," Fred said. "But there's a commitment to marriage because we have a reverence to it."

Read their sweet Valentines Day story

A miracle of love

A tale of love that was meant to be against all odds: a young boy, starving in a Nazi concentration camp, was helped to survive by a young girl who tossed him apples and bread every day for months. And they miraculously met again on a blind date.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

A gift is a gift is a gift...not

Do you know what your wife really wants for an anniversary gift?

It's one of those four letter words: Your love. With a little icing on top, please.

What does your wife truly want for an anniversary gift? She says "no" but does she mean "yes" or the other way around? Her final answer: yes and no.

So what's a husband to do about a meaningful wedding anniversary gift?

Right off the bat: it's not how much you spend (most of the time), but how much love she perceives is attached to your gift. No wife will turn her nose up at a diamond heart pendant or ring, but do you want to increase its "love" value? Or are you short on cash and long on love?

The solution is simple: it's all in the packaging. Your wife will treasure any romantic gesture that shows you put in extra time or thought with your anniversary gift. You may be thinking that "I'm not creative" or "I don't have any special talent." You don't have to do something extraordinary, you only have to show her it came from your heart. That's what's going to win you a home run, slam dunk and touchdown all at once.

A few ideas:

  • A love letter. No matter how lousy a writer you are, your original words are as good as gold. Guaranteed. If a love letter seems too difficult, write shorter love notes with only a line or two and fill a heart shape keepsake, music box or jewelry box (if you bought a jewelry gift) with them. Or mail her a new one every day for two weeks before your anniversary.

  • If she loves photos, go through your albums and make reprints of your favorites. Write a short love note on the back, which can be as simple as, "Remember when we did this? We had so much fun!" Hide them in her purse, lingerie drawer or briefcase, tape onto the coffee maker or inside the refrigerator. Or mail her one a day.

  • Cook up a romantic dinner for two. Order in a meal if you're not the chef type. Decorate with candles, flowers and mood music. You're the basic food type? Make heart burgers with a cookie cutter or simply create with your hands.

  • Visit your local crafts store. You'll find plenty of heart themed items to wrap or present your gift in. Buy a heart shape box and use a glitter pen to write "I love you always" or "Happy Anniversary to the love of my life." Or buy small decorative stones and write words of love, your names and anniversary date on them. Give in a keepsake box.

  • Do you love working outdoors? Create two interlocking hearts with decorative stones and fill the center with cement. Write your names and anniversary date on the wet cement. Or fill with ground cover. Carve two hearts in your shrubbery.

  • Is this a milestone year? Decorate your car as if you were just getting married, but make a banner that says, "Married 5 (or 10, 20) years and loving it! Take her out for a romantic anniversary dinner.

  • Do you use PowerPoint in your job? Create a love presentation and present it as you would to a client. List all the qualities you appreciate about your wife and marriage and then give a short speech about each one.

  • You're a computer programmer? Build her an online store where she can "buy" love gifts from you. They can be kisses, hugs, a night out (or a night in), make dinner, whatever little treats she loves. The checkout basket will allow her to print out a coupon that she can redeem with you. Or maybe a trivia game about your fun times together or a "Love Poll."

  • Not a programmer but adept with computers? Burn a CD with a slideshow of photos from the time you were married. Add background music. There are tons of free slideshow software demos on the Internet.

  • You're a financial whiz? Create a "Love Account" sheet or a stock portfolio listing your love investments together. Print out and frame.

  • Love sports stats? Make up a list of love stats. Title it, "The (your name) and (her name) Love Team. Stats can include dates when you met (or approximate), marriage date, birth of kids, trips, special moments. Print out and frame.

  • Sports fan? Do a fun, sexy cheerleader routine before you present your anniversary gift.

  • Remember that 1997 film, "The Full Monty" where a bunch of ordinary working guys put together a strip show to earn money? Yes, put on a private strip show for your wife. Give her "love" coupons she can stuff your thong with.

  • If that's over the top for you, read a short love note and sing a romantic song dedicated to your wife and anniversary at a karaoke bar.

You don't have to give a polished performance or create something with a professional appearance. Think about what you enjoy doing and simply put a romantic spin on it. Your love and enthusiasm will help you create an extra special wedding anniversary gift for your wife that she'll always cherish.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Free last minute Valentines Day gift

What's the one gift most women want more than anything, be it wedding anniversary, Valentines Day and especially...just because? A love letter.

Yes, it means spilling your guts, reaching into your heart and squeezing tight--all those emotional trauma thingies that many men would trade off nearly anything to not face. Here's a quickie love letter primer.

You already bought a Valentines Day gift, but it's still missing that je ne sais quoi? Want to increase its value to priceless? Present it with a love letter. Don't have fancy paper? Download a printable love letter background. Still having trouble coming up with one? Make up a love list instead. Here are Top 10 love list backgrounds.

You know those "honey-do" lists? Try a do-honey list. I'll bet this is one list your honey won't ever lose!

So what is it about staying married?

It ain't easy, that's for sure. I was married for 20 years and neither regret the marriage...nor the divorce. My marriage was a jigsaw puzzle with too many pieces that never fit, but my ex-hubby and I continue an amicable, but distant, friendship.

I love to see how two people can remain married or committed over the years. To say "I want to be married" at this stage of the game for me is putting the cart before the horse. "A husband" becomes an item to tick off on my Check List of Life. This was probably a consideration when I was younger. Not anymore.

The longest marriage I've read about recently is a couple who celebrated their, gasp! 71st wedding anniversary on February 9th. A big congrats to Mr. and Mrs. Dick Sembach of Glenwood, Indiana! Post a congrats note there.

Read these very simple "stay married" tips offered by this couple who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year. Can it really be this simple?

Ditto on Carlton and Vernabelle Kastberg who just celebrated their 60th anniversary. Carlton says, "Yes, we’ve had our spats, but we have never gone to bed not speaking.” This is one of the oldest pieces of Marriage 101 advice given, but I wonder how many people actually practice it?