Extraordinary Couples

April 15th, 2010

An elderly couple walks past, arms linked, out to enjoy a long-awaited Spring day.  Others notice them and express delight at their cuteness.  I can only think, what’s their story?

Taking part in Utah’s 2010 Extraordinary Marriage Awards was a humbling experience. I had the honor of interviewing nominees that include a centenarian who flirts shamelessly with his wife and stopped bowling only a few years ago, a couple with three special needs adult sons, a gentle giant who combats MS with a relentless positive attitude while his wife treats physical therapy like Olympic training, and fiery immigrants who have endured three rounds of cancer and the heartbreaking loss of a son.  Recording their rich and often complex histories was no easy task; jokes were plentiful and recollections were often corrected by disputing spouses.  All joking aside, a bittersweet theme inevitably emerged:  oftentimes love and hardship live in the same home.

Despite the differences of the couples, their advice on maintaining an enduring successful marriage was almost identical.  Communication, teamwork, a positive attitude and adapting to change topped the list.  This combination has kept these couples resilient while raising families, facing illness and loss, and enduring the wear and tear of time itself.  After many years together, they look at each other with increased respect and affection.

I’m incredibly thankful to the nominees, who graciously invited me into their homes and personal lives.   I’ve been inspired to better my own relationships since meeting these couples. Cute? I say extraordinary.

For a video on some of these extraordinary couples, click the link below:

Extraordinary Couples

D’Nelle Swagger is the Patient Care Coordinator for Midas Creek Home Health and a Member of the Utah Commission on Marriage.

If you’d like to share a story about an extraordinary couple in Utah, e-mail it to mreese@utah.gov