By ALIX STRAUSS
October 24, 2017
Because marriage is an ever-evolving experience, we constantly shift, change, love harder, love less, and in some cases, start over. In It’s No Secret, a new feature, The Times highlights couples who share thoughts about commitment and what they have learned about themselves and each other along the way.
Who Wyn Leenhouts Lydecker, 64 and John Lydecker, 65.
Occupations She is an author and business strategist; he is a securities broker.
Their Marriage 40 years, 5 months, and counting.
Through the Years
The couple were married May 14, 1977 at the Brick Presbyterian Church in New York. They have a daughter, Drew, 33, and son, Robert, 31. The couple have lived in Darien, Conn., for 31 years.
Ms. Lydecker and Mr. Lydecker met in 1974, on the first day at Penn’s Wharton Business School. “We met at breakfast. It was orientation. We were all carrying around blue folders. There was a whole table of us. We also ended up eating dinner together, too,” she said. “We kept talking to each other and found out we were in the same dorm. Then John showed up at my door and invited me out for a beer. I said yes. He told me most girls didn’t like beer so he was really happy I did.” They went to a little place off campus. Afterward, the two kept bumping into each other. She thought he was the smartest person she had ever met. “He had amazingly intelligent eyes. I wrote a letter home, back then that’s what we did, and said to my mother he’s too good to be true,” she said. The couple graduated in 1976. Mr. Lydecker proposed a year later on Valentine’s Day. By May they had married. This year they celebrated their 40th anniversary.
What I’ve Learned
Ms. Lydecker “I’ve learned you have to respect each other. John respects and loves me as a person, as a human being. We discovered how wonderful being supportive of each other is, and to keep the lines of communications open. I’ve learned to think about the other person and see something from their point of view. I’m an only child. You have your own style and expectations. Learning to live with another person can be difficult, especially when they have a different approach to doing things. I make piles, he files. I’ve learned how beneficial and great it is to put things in a filing cabinet. We’ve always had the same values about finance and money, and how to manage things. Forty years later we still end the day with a meal together. We sit down across from someone and share a meal. It helps you have conversation and look each other in the eye and talk about what’s going on in the world, and with ourselves, and what our next plan is. We did that with our children, too. That was a way for us to be together. We got to know each other over meals. That’s how we started. And we still do it.”
Mr. Lydecker “The one principle I learned early on, for me and for us, is being able to compromise for the greater good for both of us. A lot of disagreements happen because someone says, ‘I want this.’ And the other says, ‘No.’ If one person’s desire is stronger than the other person’s desire for something different, then you should be willing to compromise. If you’re able to do this, than you can take happiness from the other person being happy, and the relationship builds on itself. Wyn and I have shared values, that’s so important for long-term compatibility. She’s learned to enjoy my mountain vacations, and I’ve learned to enjoy her beach vacations. She’s the best partner, wife and friend I could imagine. It’s nice to think you’ve become a better individual, but I’m not sure how to measure that. Early in our marriage we were living in a starter house. One night I was coming home and could see into the kitchen. Wyn was cooking and Drew, our daughter, was beating on a pot on the floor. It was the perfect picture of suburban life. It was a nice image to come home to. I still like coming home to her even though our picture has changed. It’s a slow- and fast-moving movie at the same time: a motion picture of growing up and maturity. But my feelings for her and how much I love her remain the same. And I’ve learned to be very grateful for that.”