I might be showing my age with this one, but the song “What’s love got to do with it?” keeps refraining in my head this morning. Perhaps because my parents are celebrating their 42nd anniversary today. It’s got me thinking — Why have Diane and Dan (AKA Mom & Dad) not only stayed married for so long, despite the odds, but blossomed and enjoyed marriage for all of these years?
What’s love got to do with it? The truth is everything and not very much at the same time. I’ve come to recognize it’s not love alone that’s made their marriage a model I can only aspire to learn from. My parents taught me how to fight and most importantly to forgive. They taught me how to look past the unmade bed, or burned pot and laugh. They taught me how to show appreciation for their marriage in a hundred small ways – like not complaining when CNN loops for the third iteration that afternoon, or when your partner asks for the 8th time today what you want for dinner. And of course their marriage is sprinkled with the occasional grand gesture -like a surprise 15 year anniversary gift from dad to mom back to their honeymoon resort.
In fact, love doesn’t have all that much to do with it, it was the commitment to love that really mattered. It was the signs of appreciation, the laughter, the forgiveness that has endured for 42 years that’s made it last.
Maybe because I just finished Steve Job’s biography but I can’t help but see the parallel between my parents 42 year marriage and the most rewarding professional teams with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working. No, we didn’t “love” each other in the marriage sense, but we did love our work. We were united with passion for a common cause – launching a company, building new features into a product, getting the word out about our services. We made mistakes, but we made them together. We laughed. We disagreed, sometimes violently, but we forgave and got behind each other. We demanded excellence, but we held out a helping hand and appreciated all that each of us did every day. We loved our work, but more importantly we were committed to that affection.
So the next time you build a project team, maybe you too can learn a little something from 42 years of Diane & Dan’s marriage. I sure did, and I couldn’t be more grateful.