love story: david & julie

This is how it happens:  I go to an Oktoberfest party in Princeton, New Jersey, and the nice couple who pick me up from the train station tell me they’ve been married for 37 years.  I’m 37 years old.  I need to get their story.

David and Julie Schmidt met at church when they were both in college – she was 20, he 22.  I remember what I was like at 20 and 22, and I marvel at how two people were able to get together at that age and know how to have a relationship.  How did they learn to do it, I ask?  “It took 37 years,” laughs Julie.

David and Julie have two daughters and have moved all over the country for his job – he’s an executive compensation consultant; she’s a schoolteacher.  Last year, they were humbled and overjoyed when their youngest daughter’s boyfriend came over and asked for her hand.

Does this still happen?  Why yes, it does – apparently, at least, in the Schmidt family.  “They lived in different cities, and he wanted to make sure she didn’t get away,” recounts David. “And because she would have to move 220 miles away and she was ‘our little girl’ as he put it, he wanted us to know he’d take good care of her.”

So what’s the secret to their marriage?  (I always wonder if someone’s going to give me a dirty look or call me out for being nosey when I ask this, but they never do.)

“Selflessness,” says David, without missing a beat.

“Yeah, he really likes to golf, and now I’ve been taking lessons since it makes him happy if I go with him,” says Julie.  “But it wasn’t always this way – I used to be resentful about all the time he spent on the course, and then when he’d come home he’d zone out.  But now I look at it differently, and I actually enjoy going.  And now Dave is more willing to do things I like to do, and usually he enjoys those experiences with me as well.”

Suddenly it hits me: one of the reasons why so many of us have trouble finding a lasting relationship in New York is that this can be a selfish city.  It’s all too easy to be alone here.

The trick – as David and Julie discovered together – is finding someone who is willing to play the selflessness game with you, because then you both end up winning.  Then you both end up putting green.

Before we say goodbye, David and Julie give me their email address – which is made up of their initials, and which they both share.  “We’ve always had a joint  bank account, and of course now we have joint email.  That’s when you know it’s real love.”

2 Responses

  1. Marie

    Jessica!

    Your recent articles were brilliant :) Loved reading them, as they have such a wonderful flow and content. You know how to connect with your audience and certainly have the gift,and thank you for sharing with all of us !
    Hope to catch up soon!
    xo

    October 24, 2012 at 1:28 am

    • Jess

      Thank you very much, Marie. I really appreciate it and look forward to speaking soon. xo

      October 24, 2012 at 10:44 am

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