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.