By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.

Our ongoing search for the world’s best marriages took us to Gibraltar today, or as some refer to it – the Rock of Gibraltar. Doing interviews with happily married couples there seemed like a nice transitional thing to do since we are on our way to North Africa to interview Muslim couples for the first time in our many travels around the world.

We will land in Morocco on Thursday. Africa represents the sixth of the seven continents of the world where we have interviewed those who are successfully married. More on Morocco later this week.

Today we visited Gibraltar. And rest assured, Gibraltar did not disappoint us! There are lots of loving couples amongst the 30,000 or so folks who live on the Rock of Gibraltar. Today, we interviewed Daniel and Ann. Before we tell you about these two lovebirds, how about a little historical background.

The Rock of Gibraltar has certainly been around for a very long time! The Neanderthals were there. So were the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Romans, the Goths, the Visigoths, and the Vandals. And surely there were others.

The Muslims certainly were there a long time – over 700 years! Then along came the Castilian/Spanish for another 240 years or so.

Now, the British are in charge and have been since the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. The Spanish have insisted on having it back several times, but to no avail. Even now, the Spanish occasionally, by some new edict, make the roads to Gibraltar more crowded than necessary just to bring home the point that Gibraltar belongs to them. Of course, the British disagree! The Brits have history on their side.

So, what about this tiny territory connected to the southern coast of Spain that is strategically located at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean?

The truth is we can answer that from the balcony of our hotel room in Estepona, Spain tonight. By some act of providence, the view from our balcony provides us with a perfectly centered picture of the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean. The view is some 25-30 miles away as the bird flies. Tonight, we took tons of photos of our view just as the sun was setting. To say the view is beautiful is an understatement!

Here is what we see from our perch – the coast of Morocco on the left and Gibraltar on the right. The space between them is the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea or, if you prefer, the entrance to the Atlantic Ocean from the Mediterranean Sea. Either way you look at it, it is remarkable to see with your very own eyes the nine-mile distance between two massive continents – the European Continent on the right and the African Continent on the left.

Which brings us back to our love story of today.

You see, Daniel’s first marriage ended after only one year. He had married his childhood sweetheart. It seemed like the thing to do since both of them grew up on Gibraltar and had known each other their entire lives. The sad part of this story is that Daniel soon learned that his new bride started cheating on him after only a few weeks of marriage. They were divorced within a year of saying, “I do.”

But the story gets happier. Several years later, Daniel and Ann were introduced at a sporting event on Gibraltar. The people who live on Gibraltar are great sports fans! Daniel’s favorite and the one he excelled at most was Hockey, the kind played on grass and not on ice. He was very good as demonstrated by his having appeared in five European championship tournaments.

Ann was enamored not only by Daniel’s athletic prowess but also by his good looks, his hard-working attitude, and by his “gentlemanliness.” That night at the hockey game proved to be love at first sight for these two. In fact, within the year, they were married. He calls her “Babe” and she calls him “Hockey-Man.” They each other’s best friend and cannot imagine life without each other.

While they were showing us their “Rock” today we heard many wonderful stories about love and marriage while we saw gorgeous views of the Mediterranean Sea. Trust us when we say this – the scenes from the Rock are spectacular! The color of the water is deep blue and the views between the rock out-croppings are stunning! You can see why Ann and Daniel have spent their whole lives on this fortress of nature. It is beautiful and romantic. They told us today that they wouldn’t think of leaving it.

We will tell you this – we had trouble leaving Gibraltar today. The people were wonderful, the scenic views were awesome, and the British fish and chips we ate at a local outdoor restaurant were the best ever. The look and feel of life on the streets made you feel like you were back in jolly old England.

But in the end, it was our interview with Daniel and Ann that literally made our day! They had a marriage built on a Rock that was like a Rock. We think there is a metaphor in there somewhere. Don’t you?

Everywhere in the world we have met wonderful married couples. Ann and Daniel represent the best of what it means to be happily and successfully married. Their marriage will truly stand the test of time and is, without a doubt, like the Rock of Gibraltar they live on.

Simple Things Matter in love and marriage. Love well!

By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz

Authors of the best-selling book and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010) Available wherever books are sold.

Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the 2009 Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
2009 Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships

Author's Bio: 

As America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts and award-winning authors, Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz help international audiences answer questions about love, marriage and relationships. With 26 years of research on love and successful marriage across six continents of the world and their own 43-year marriage, the Doctors know what makes relationships work.

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