Scott Hanselman

Happy Eighth Anniversary

October 25, '08 Comments [47] Posted in Musings
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Eight years ago, I got married three times. Er, I've been married three times. No, that's not right, we've had three weddings. Where to start?

Eight years and a few months ago a friend of mine was graduating from school and somehow my house became the central gathering place. One of her friends, a mutual friend, was moving to the East Coast after finishing her MBA. I was working for a company that still gave sabbaticals, and I'd been there 5 years, so I was going to take the month of July off. I'm not sure why, but it seemed like a good idea at time, but I offered to go along with her on a trip across the country.

We knew each other, but only peripherally, in that FoaF (Friend of a Friend) way. We each knew the other was harmless.

She agreed, and we set off, as friends, on a Planes, Trains and Automobiles trip across the country. We went to Arizona, Oklahoma, Detroit, Philadelphia, New York. We looked at the Grand Canyon and said "that's a hole." We flew in a friend's tiny plane over Wrigley Field. We rode train's in Penn Station.

Somewhere in Detroit we fell in love. Not sure how, but it happened, and it was awesome. By the way, neither of us would recommend dating for 3 months then getting married. Still, success is a good metric, as we like to say.

Three months later we got married in a park in Wilmington, Delaware, then walked across the street and had chicken fingers at Friendly's. When we got to the park the judge had asked where our witnesses were? Oops. Didn't have any. I ran after two joggers and somehow got them to sign their names two our Marriage Certificate and bear witness in their jogging sweats. Their names are still on the certificate that hangs in our living room.

We debated which coast to live on, and ultimately it came down to who liked their job more. She moved back to the West Coast and we started preparing for Wedding #2. There was a tiny footnote at the bottom of the wedding program that said something like "Scott and Mo were married in a civil ceremony earlier..." It was like 4 point font.

Then we started preparing for Wedding #3, back home in Zimbabwe. First, I had to start negotiations with her parents for lobola. Sometimes this is called a bride price, but modern folks usually call it a bride gift. Wikipedia has a decent description:

Lobolo or Lobola (Mahadi in Sesotho; sometimes translated as bride price) is a traditional southern African dowry custom whereby the man pays the family of his fiancée for her hand in marriage. The custom is aimed at bringing the two families together, fostering mutual respect, and indicating that the man is capable of supporting his wife financially and emotionally.

Traditionally the lobola payment was in cattle as cattle were the primary source of wealth in African society. However, most modern urban couples have switched to using cash. The process of lobola negotiations can be long and complex, and involves many members from both the bride's and the groom's extended families.

I ended up smuggling $20s into the country strapped to my legs under my clothes and her dad bought a number of cattle and a small shop. I could write a book, not a blog post, about the experience. Suffice it to say, there was a goat in a bathtub at some point, then we ate his liver. Long story.

Since we were married, we've been to five Africa countries over four trips, driven our first son around France and Spain, had her hair pulled by strangers in Malaysia, taken my parents to Tanzania for a month (their first international trip), had a second son, bought and sold a few houses, and had more fun that you can know in the process. We fight fair and make up. We respect each other.

As she (we?) is/are fond of saying:

"Eight years? Feels like twelve!"

To which I always reply, "What were we THINKING?!"

"We weren't!"

"Madness!"

Madness indeed, my love. Happy Anniversary. I hope you renew me for another eight.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008 10:02:14 AM UTC
Scott, this is a very sweet post.

Congratulations on a happy marriage and being a nerd in love... From the rest of the nerds, "good job!" :)
Saturday, October 25, 2008 10:05:27 AM UTC
Congrats :-)
Saturday, October 25, 2008 10:50:56 AM UTC
Congraulations, Scott :-)

And that was an interesting story, of course.
Saturday, October 25, 2008 11:02:05 AM UTC
Scott,

Great post. I knew a bit about this from the podcasts. Waiting for the post on Lobola.

Last week we were debating about blogs and one of the topics was if we should keep separate personal from technical stuff. Many people has two blogs or use facebook for personal stuff and blog for technical posts, but your blog is a good example of how this can be mixed and still be relevant :). Same with Hanselminutes, one of my favorite shows was the one with your father, great job!!!

By the way, I just realized with your other post that .NET is also 8 years. You should also get a new logo.
Saturday, October 25, 2008 11:21:16 AM UTC
Mazel Tov :)

We used to have fish in the bathtub at my parents', then grandma would have made Rosh-Hashana dish out of them.

Saturday, October 25, 2008 11:57:36 AM UTC
Congrats Scott-Mo!!!
Saturday, October 25, 2008 12:09:02 PM UTC
Congratulations...love has a weird way of sneaking up on you when you least expect it. Hope you have many more years ahead of you!
Saturday, October 25, 2008 12:22:01 PM UTC
Congratulations Scott, this is a nice story!
Saturday, October 25, 2008 12:45:00 PM UTC
Ah yes. Detroit, second only to Paris as the city of lovers. :). (I live 20 miles north of Detroit). Congratulations on 8 years.
Rob Gibbens
Saturday, October 25, 2008 1:11:00 PM UTC
Oh, how romantic. :-)

My nerdy hubby and I dated from 4,000 miles apart, so that sounds A LOT crazier than falling in love on such a cool road trip, so don't feel self-conscious about that.

We eloped in a park near San Rafael, California when he was in the country on a business trip.

Your marriage sounds like it's been slightly more exciting than ours, and you're definitely one up on us if you're counting weddings (our 2nd was in Ireland), but, like you, I'm sure neither of us would trade a moment. It's been a great trip.

Congratulations, and here's to many, many more! ~cheers!~
Saturday, October 25, 2008 1:38:24 PM UTC
Wow... I have an eerily similar experience with my wife.

We both had family that lived in Orlando and I needed ride. We had a mutual friend that hooked us for the trip. A little over two weeks later we were married :) That was a 11 years ago and we are going strong.
Saturday, October 25, 2008 2:43:01 PM UTC
Congratulations! What a wonderful story -- wishing you many, many more years of wedded bliss. :-)
Saturday, October 25, 2008 2:56:10 PM UTC
Scott,

Congratulations on your 8th anniversary and best wishes to you and your family for the future.

Alix and I are working on our 20th.

--rj
Saturday, October 25, 2008 3:10:10 PM UTC
Congratulations Scott! Here's to many, many more!
Saturday, October 25, 2008 3:25:25 PM UTC
Congratulations, Scott! Had to chuckle about the goat. My daughter is getting married in January, and I've been wondering what to get her for a wedding gift on top of the big cheque I'm writing. Now I have one more option... :)
AllanN
Saturday, October 25, 2008 3:34:49 PM UTC
Congratulations!

Very nice post.
Saturday, October 25, 2008 4:23:27 PM UTC
Great to hear scott, reminds me of a friend who also married his wife 4 times, but more due to legal problems between countries :D

Enjoy the time together, each minute is valuable!

Martijn
Saturday, October 25, 2008 6:04:11 PM UTC
A great story, congratulations to you and your family. :)
Saturday, October 25, 2008 7:13:28 PM UTC
"Suffice it to say, there was a goat in a bathtub at some point, then we ate his liver"

The perfect ingredients for a Blue-badge :). You're a lucky man Mr. Hanselman - the best to you both!
Saturday, October 25, 2008 10:14:50 PM UTC
What a lovely story! Thanks for sharing. Congrats :)
stacy murray
Saturday, October 25, 2008 10:23:45 PM UTC
Scott, congratulations to you and your wife. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has had a shotgun marriage that didn't end in misery. And we also got married on a road trip. I guess something about hurtling down the highway and talking to the person next to you really forces you to listen and understand. I read in a magazine that movies and theaters make the worst dates since you are discouraged from trying to talk to the person you are attracted to.
Saturday, October 25, 2008 11:18:07 PM UTC
Congrats!! Great story
Sunday, October 26, 2008 2:48:27 AM UTC
Congratulations Scott. What a great story, waiting for the book.
Sunday, October 26, 2008 3:06:57 AM UTC
Scott, just read your post about your 8th anniversary with my wife. It brought back all kinds of memories as we too, after only three months of knowing each other, took a road trip that included the Grand Canyon and other great AAA stops. We were engaged after six months and married after a year. I was only 20 yrs and she had to buy alcohol on the honeymoon. Twelve years and four-kids-under-five later (http://wideopenair.blogspot.com) here we are loving our crazy life.

I suspect we may also share some passions / compassions for Africa. By any chance was one of the five countries you visited Ethiopia? I'm just back from a trip touring orphanages last week. I blogged about it on http://redletterscampaign.com. love to talk about it if you're interested.

Sam
Sunday, October 26, 2008 6:11:37 AM UTC
This post has a high WAF:-) Thanks for the awesome memories; I toast you, too!
Mo, The Wife
Sunday, October 26, 2008 6:28:53 AM UTC
Absolutely the best decision you have ever made!
Dad
Sunday, October 26, 2008 8:30:46 AM UTC
I've heard the story before, but it was fun to read again!
Congratulations!
Sunday, October 26, 2008 11:35:43 AM UTC
Scot - Thanks for not only sharing with us your code and guidence, but also your family. Happy Anniversary!
Sunday, October 26, 2008 5:12:07 PM UTC
Congratulations on 8 years with Mo.NET!
Eric
Sunday, October 26, 2008 10:57:06 PM UTC

Hey Scott, Congratulations. Wow.. 8 years..

Daniel
Monday, October 27, 2008 1:09:47 AM UTC
WOW! What a fantastic picture of your wife! She looks like a face wash model...and that's a good thing.
Monday, October 27, 2008 4:16:20 AM UTC
My wife and I have the same story! Except its been 9+ years.. and it was only Phoenix.. and there were no cows for her family... in fact they practically threw her at me... ok, not really even close to the same. :D

Very cool!! Sincere congratulations to you both.
Monday, October 27, 2008 9:00:31 AM UTC
Congratulations Scott, im into my 4th year as a married man and i can guess what 8th could look like, double of everything right :), May God shower his blessings on your family.
Monday, October 27, 2008 9:22:59 AM UTC
Scott, that's such a fantastic story. Congratulations to you both, and let us know when the book is out ;-)
Monday, October 27, 2008 9:58:43 AM UTC
Congrats man... Life is good..... But life with the right person is Great!
Monday, October 27, 2008 1:50:58 PM UTC
Congratulations. Sunday was our 6th anniversary. It's a great thing when you find that someone who is enough of an equal and an opposite to keep it going.
Monday, October 27, 2008 5:46:33 PM UTC
Congrats on 8 years.
One word of advice, to improve your chances of having another 8 years, don't blog pictures of your wife with her eyes closed ;-)
Dave
Monday, October 27, 2008 8:26:16 PM UTC
It's never an easy journey! Congrats on 8 years!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008 5:18:43 PM UTC
Congrats, Scott, may you have many more happy years together!!!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008 5:00:38 AM UTC
Congrats on your first 8!
Cheers to many many more!
Galynne Davis
Wednesday, October 29, 2008 12:32:23 PM UTC
Bayete Nkosi,
long live my lord and his family
balaji
Thursday, October 30, 2008 1:29:03 AM UTC
Makorokoto scott & mo. :) I'm less than 2 yrs in my own marriage and we are soon (hopefully) going to embark on the traditional marriage preps. Fun. :) Cheers!

Jane
Thursday, October 30, 2008 5:04:35 AM UTC
Perfect story man! Congrats and beautiful picture of your wife.
Thursday, October 30, 2008 5:46:32 PM UTC
Congratulations Scott. Wishing you (all) everlasting happiness.
Friday, October 31, 2008 3:38:16 AM UTC
Funny thing...every couple I've known that got married pretty darn quickly (like 5 couples) are some of the happiest married couples I know. I personally waited a year to get engaged, then another to get married, and I wouldn't personally recommend jumping into marriage, it doesn't seem to correlate with divorce.

In my VERY limited experience, that is...

Anyway, congrats to you and Mo. Have a fantastic next 8 years.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008 6:30:22 AM UTC
Congrats :)! You guys rock :).
Kirsten
Tuesday, November 04, 2008 2:13:15 PM UTC
Congratulations! 3 weddings! Wow, you had to be dedicated. ;) Still, seems that everyone would have been happy with you guys, maybe except the goat.
Kaisa
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.