Happy Anniversary!

Because I’m looking for a job I haven’t gotten personal (or controversial) on my blog.  I’ve wanted to “curate” my digital footprint so that I don’t offend a potential employer or referral.  But I’m going to be personal today.  Really personal.

Today is my husband’s and my 28th wedding anniversary.

I can’t even comprehend what that means.  28 years of loving and being loved by a most exceptional man.  A good man.  A principled man.  A generous and kind man.  A man who knows who he is and who chose to walk beside me through life.  A man who has supported me emotionally, metaphysically and in every other way imaginable.  He’s supported my career (including 9 geographic moves and several instances of living apart when our jobs were in two different cities) in ways that most wouldn’t or couldn’t understand.

He’s my coach, my confidant, my cheerleader and my business advisor.  And my best friend.  He has dressed up in a tuxedo to escort me to black-tie business events; he has traveled around the world with my business colleagues; he has left great jobs because I had promotional opportunities.  He is a good man.

My husband, the coach, is the coach you want your kids to be coached by.  He’s the coach who tells his high school football team to go home and hug their mother and shake their father’s hand and thank them for their love and support.  He’s the coach who tells his college women’s track team members to embrace their inner “stud” while embracing their femininity.  He’s the coach who tells his high school wrestling team “we may not win every match but we’ll be in better shape than every other team we meet – increasing our chances of winning.”

He’s the coach who treats the gifted athletes and the uncoordinated “wanna-be’s” exactly the same – as long as they’re working as hard as they can.  He’s the coach who treats the rich parents exactly the same as the parents who struggle to provide for their families — as long as they’re supporting their child’s development as a complete person.  He’s the coach who treats female athletes the same as male athletes – that is, with respect, support and encouragement.  He’s the coach who never gives up on a kid who gives it all they’ve got.  Favoritism isn’t in his vocabulary.

I don’t know who loves him more:  the student athletes because he treats them with respect; their fathers because he’s a former NFL coach; their mothers because he focuses on character development; or the school administrations because his his athletes get good grades, because he models good sportsmanship and his teams win.

This man has changed my life.  More importantly, he’s changed the lives of hundreds of young people over the years.  Former student/athletes who are now community, religious and business leaders.  Former student/athletes whose children are now competing – and are calling their coach for advice.  Former student/athletes – now business leaders – who look back at key practice situations and send messages of thanks for requiring so much from them and always thinking the best of them.

It’s an honor to be Mrs. Ira-John Gorman.  I use the “Mrs.” with great pride because my partner is the most extraordinary man I know.  And I love him more today than I did 28 years ago when we said “I do” in a small chapel with two friends standing up for us.

We could never have predicted the amazing life we would live together.  But 28 years later, I’m grateful that God brought us together.  More grateful than words can express.

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48 Comments

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48 responses to “Happy Anniversary!

  1. I LOVE this, China! Saw your CMG Group on LinkedIn. Congratulations on launching a new venture! Hope all is well with you.

    • Thanks, Kim! CMG Group is me doing some consulting and public speaking while I look for my next corporate gig. Just thought I’d legitimize it a little… Hope you’re having a great summer.

  2. Keith Emerson

    It’s been a while, my dear friend, since last we had a moment to talk. I am sorry to say that I just found a moment to “catch up” on some of my reading, and your blog is always a part of that. You have brought so much into my life, I wanted to wish a very belated, but very heartfelt “congratulations” to both you and IJ. I too have the honor, warmth and happiness of a long term partner in life, and your story brought me to tears. A BIG hug to you both from Randy and me.

    Keith

    • Well, number one, no need to apologize. And number two, thanks for visiting my blog! Thanks for the congrats. God has been very good to both of us! I’m giving one of the keynotes at the Illinois SHRM state conference next month. Would love to get together. Let’s connect soon.

  3. Jessica Miller-Merrell

    Like 😉

  4. Martha Quirk

    What a special, yes, wonderfully personal story about two people (and particularly one husband) that I remember from 28 years ago and more! Not only is IJ’s imprint upon those young people who were fortunate enough to cross his path one to laud, but you, China, have certainly made your own extraordinarycontribution to the world of business. I’m proud of you both and honored to call you my friends.

  5. Stephanie

    How neat for us to know him through your eyes!! If I could add anything…. The amazing family man he is and the role as a second father he has taken on for his siblings. We love you very much. Congrats to 28 years, here’s to another 28 . Xoxo.

  6. 28 years? And you two act like it is always the first year. I loved the tribute and wish you and IJ every happiness and more.

  7. Late, but wanted to say thanks for the inspiration – a post that tells us you’re every bit the match of your wonderful husband! Congrats!

  8. Katy McKinney

    And what a blessing you both have been to our lives! Congratulations and love you both very much!! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful tribute!

  9. Joan Halliburton

    Wow China – what a wonderful, heartfelt tribute to your beautiful relationship. Congratulations on your 28 years together and God’s blessings for all those still to come. Joan Halliburton (PS your wedding picture is beautiful!)

    • Hi Joan! And thanks. I love that wedding picture. We actually took it a week before we got married. We got all dressed up in our wedding duds and went out to a local golf course and took our “wedding photos” since we were having a really small wedding: us and another couple. That way we sent the picture out with the wedding announcement after the honeymoon. I look at him now and see the same wonderful eyes and smile.

  10. What a wonderful tribute to your husband and your marriage. Happy Anniversary China and Ira-John!

  11. Frances Hume

    China and IJ–Congratulations to two of the most exceptional people I have the honor and privilege to know and the blessing of having you as friends. Here’s to 28 plus more years!!
    Frances

  12. Karin

    I’ve actually *never* commented on a blog. Some I might only read once, and never return. There are a million of them, vying for my attention.

    This post touched me in a significant way. You have the marriage I always wanted (but life had other plans for me).

    I just got married a month ago, at age 47 — my third hope for enduring happiness. We’ve been together 8 years now. The person I married has qualities I see reflected in your post today. I can easily see myself writing a blog, paying tribute to his immense character and demonstrations of love.

    I can only hope that I can be the kind of person, and show the kind of commitment, that would inspire him to do the same for me. Thank you China! I don’t know you, but I loved reading your blog today.

  13. Congratulations – what a beautiful post! I can’t wait to get home now and hug MY wonderful hubby!

  14. Awesome China….this is truly a wonderful story. Congrats. My 21st anniversary was yesterday so nice to hear others who have dug in and made it long term through the bumps and hurdles over time.

  15. Josie

    This is a blog to touch a mother’s heart. And it has! I love you both so much!

  16. Amy Minzner

    What a gift this post is. I’ve always appreciated the marriage that you and Uncle IJ have shared. You’ve been a great example for Erik and I as we pursue our very different careers simultaneously. Love to you.

  17. Congratulations, China. A really sweet post …

  18. Maren Hogan

    Wow, this was lovely. Brought tears to my eyes and made me go hug my own husband, who brought coffee into me just as I was reading this. It sounds as though both you and Ira-John lucked out 28 years ago and have been smart enough to realize it ever since!

  19. Happy Anniversary! Enjoy the day.

  20. Robert LaGow

    There’s a special spot in heaven for coach’s wives.

  21. This is so sweet, it made me cry. I hope the next 28 are just as swell!

  22. Congratulations and Happy Anniversary, China!

  23. radicalrecruit

    Awe, I don’t usually comment on Blogs but that was great…happy anniversary to you China.

  24. Thank you for getting personal – Happy Anniversary!

  25. Well said. Inspirational. Makes me want to go give my wife a hug and say thanks!

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