Mark Stoller moved to Falcon in 2007. He and his wife, Andra, both U.S. Air Force veterans, enjoy life with their daughters, extended family and adopted rescue dogs in Latigo. Mark savors the privilege of his wife and daughters being his muse for topics, people to meet and places to investigate.
Did you ever have a day when the article you chose to read online wasn’t nearly as interesting as the plethora of suggested articles next to or below what you’re reading?
I am a sucker for a good headline that will tease, hopefully, a story I will consider useful or meaningful.
While I don’t remember the original article I was looking at, the headline on ex-President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, celebrating 73 years of marriage caught my eye.
Say it with me, “73 years!” Andra’s parents have been married for 51 years, and my parents have been married for 57 years. Maintaining lifelong marriages, unfortunately, seems to be a waning societal norm and value — but I digress.
As Andra and I are on the cusp of celebrating 23 years of marriage, I thought I would read what the Carters have to say about their secret to an enduring marital success.
Jimmy Carter (age 94) says he and Rosalynn (age 91) have two specific rules they follow in their marriage.
“For starters, we give each other plenty of space. She has a lot of interests that I don’t share and vice versa.”
After affording each other space during the day, they cook dinner together and watch Atlanta Braves baseball games, which they mutually enjoy.
Andra and I are lucky to share many of same interests. While bagpiping and leading the Pikes Peak Highlanders takes a great deal of her time, we both enjoy the music (trust me — you either love or hate the tonal quality of bagpipes!) and the ability to attend Celtic festivals all over Colorado.
This year, we have both chosen the field of healing, with Andra utilizing yoga to help those with post traumatic stress and my certification as an emergency medical technician.
For the second rule, Carter said they never go to sleep angry. “This is a rule that we follow pretty meticulously, sometimes with great difficulty,” Carter said. “We have 21 grandchildren and four children, so we have a lot of arguments about our family. But we try to get over that argument before we go to sleep.”
A friend of the Carter family, billionaire Warren Buffet, not only shares sage financial advice but has some very salient personal advice, too.
For you young readers out there, Buffett offers, “Who you choose to marry may be one of the most important decisions of your life. It’s the most important choice you’ll make because you want to associate with people who are the kind of person you’d like to be. The most important person, by far, in that respect is — your spouse. I can’t overemphasize how important that is.”
In addition to nurturing relationships, it’s important to assess where you are on your own path. Each year, Bill Gates takes a moment to reflect, with three questions:
- Did I devote enough time to my family? Money can buy most anything, but it can’t buy you an extra minute in the day.
- Did I learn new things?” Lifelong learning is essential for personal growth, success and happiness. The internet provides a wealth of knowledge and there is no better time than now (or after reading this column) to learn something new.
- Did I develop new friendships and deepen old ones? Introduce yourself to someone new or call the friend you haven’t spoken with in a while.
My opportunity to work in the medical community has reminded me of how precious today is with no promise of tomorrow.
Identify the relationships that spark joy in your heart, nurture them and be certain you are making the effort to grow along the way, too.