If you are in a relationship, when was the last time you had a really good time with your partner? Or have the pressures of running your wedding business begun to erode what is fundamentally important to you?
In my lifetime, I've experienced the highs and lows of success and failure with relationships. Today I work on this foundation through The Love Account. It's something I learned from Lori and Dave, grandparents of Ashley, a bride I met while working at a destination wedding in Brugge.
Two hours after Ashley married Weston, I bumped into her grandparents, Dave and Lori who flew in from Illinois, USA.
Dave was about 6ft tall, balding and wore silver glasses over his grey sideburns. His wife Lori was about 5' 6", with shoulder-length grey hair with a side-parting. One thing I'll never forget about Lori is whenever she smiled, it seemed to radiate from the inside out.
If you were a guest at the wedding, you would have been at the drinks reception on the top floor viewing deck, above the centre of Brugge. As we looked down, the terracotta houses, streets and tourists on bicycles seemed tiny. After some small talk, Dave said: "We are so happy Ashley married Weston; Lori and I have been together since I was 24 and I'm gonna be 82 next week!"
"Wow! Congratulations Dave, happy birthday for next week! If you don't mind me asking, how long have you two been married?"
"On the 3rd of December, we will have been married for 58 years."
"58!... That's longer than I've been alive!"
It was clear to me that Dave and Lori had discovered the 'Path to Happiness', and I wanted to know their secret!
"Dave, I want to have a stable relationship like you two, what's the Love Story that's kept you together for so long?
Somehow, I knew wisdom would flow, and as Dave began speaking, the other guests seemed to fade away, leaving just the three of us at the reception. And if you were by my side you would have heard Dave say this:
"Terry, be a friend first. Open a joint account, not a bank account, a Love Account. Begin each day finding ways to make your partner happy, because this will deposit a unit of credit into your Love Account. But, behaviour that makes your partner sad withdraws a unit of credit. As long as you end each day, with more credits than the previous day, your Love Account will pull you closer together.
I looked at Lori; she was smiling from the inside out, nodding in agreement, her soft rosy cheeks seemed to flush with pride at her husband's advice.
I looked back at Dave and said: "Thank you; I'm going to apply that to my relationship."
I slowly became aware of the other wedding guests chatting around us and spent a little more time with Lori and Dave before circulating. But I couldn't put Dave's wisdom out of my mind; something deep within urged me to share it with others. I was the Master of Ceremonies at the wedding and thought "Why not create the opportunity to share his wisdom?" The moment I chose was after the wedding speeches, Dave's Wisdom would be my close.
I shared all that Dave said during the drinks reception, when I finished, I looked over to the top table; it was a 'Sweetheart Table' with just Ashley & Weston on it. Weston looked at me and used a white handkerchief to wipe away some tears. It didn't surprise me, he cried during his vows and throughout his speech. Ashley was different and radiated happiness all day, and as my final word fell, her eyes flicked from me to her grandparents.
Dave and Lori were sat in the middle of the room, and as I made eye contact with them, the only thought in my mind was "Thank you for sharing, your words will help a lot of people."
Once you've got credits in this Love Account - open another for the next most significant person in your life. Keep doing this until you've created an account for everyone you want to.