The best relationship advice I have ever received came from an extraordinary man who was celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary. It’s important that I provide some background and describe the scene as it adds credence to the advice.
I was working part-time as a delivery driver for a florist while attending college. I started there during my senior year in high school. By the time of this incident, I had delivered countless wedding anniversary flowers. But this particular delivery stood out from all the others.
My bosses (3 brothers) explained to me that the flowers were for two special, longtime customers. So special in fact, they were giving them a flower arrangement of their own as a gift. My delivery to them included 50 roses, a corsage, a boutonniere, and a gift from the florist.
I was struck by the grandeur of the house when I arrived. It was a stately-looking home in an older but upscale neighborhood. Although the house was old, it was immaculately kept and so was the landscaping.
I was a bit concerned about whether the recipient would be ready to receive this type of flower delivery at 8:30 in the morning on a Sunday. I decided to knock softly on the door and not ring the bell to limit the disruption.
Within about 15 seconds, the door quickly swung open. There stood an elderly man in his late 70s, impeccably dressed in an impressive suit, clearly fit and full of energy, smiling broadly, and with a bright twinkle in his eyes. He said, “Ah! I was hoping it was you. Thank you for bringing the flowers early.”
The instant he finished speaking, an elderly woman came up behind him with a look of surprise, delight, and love on her face. It was his wife! She too was impeccably dressed in a beautiful gown, obviously fit and vibrant, smiling joyfully, and with an excited twinkle in her eyes.
She slid her arm around his waist and said, “Thank you darling!” and then kiss him quickly but affectionately on the lips. She thanked me emphatically and whisked away with her floral treasures.
I thought to myself, “This is the quintessential example of the perfect couple on their 50th wedding anniversary.” They were obviously blissfully happy, well suited for one another, financially successful, and physically fit! I had to know their secret.
As soon as the man finished signing for the delivery I said, “Both of you look so wonderful today. May I ask you a question, sir? “Sure!” he said. “You’ve been married for 50 years and you and your wife act like you just met. What’s your secret?” I asked.
He paused and thought for a moment and confidently said, “Courtesy! Simple courtesy. We have always been courteous to each other. That has been the key for us.” I said, “Great answer. Thank you for sharing that.” He extended his hand. I quickly grabbed it and received a surprisingly firm handshake for a man of his age.
He smiled and said, “Thank you. Best of luck to you.”
Courtesy. The secret to a successful relationship. Who would have thought of something so basic and simple? Certainly not many marriage or relationship counselors. There’s no money or prestige in that.
Courtesy. It makes perfect sense if you think about how this practice would affect every aspect of your relationship. It’s simply brilliant!