(c) Phil Date

(c) Phil Date

Remember your wedding day – or are you still dreaming about it?  It’s the EVENT for many people.  They plan for months, spend horrible amounts of money, resources and time, all for that one perfect day and happy ever after.  I recently returned from the wedding of a brother-in-law and it was a great family and personal day of celebration and commitment.  Wonderful in every way.  Every one seemed to enjoy themselves and the festivities.  The focus was on the bride and groom, as it should be.

But a month, later where is the focus?  It’s no longer on the bride and groom – they’re now a married couple and treated as such.  Most everyone at the wedding is focusing on their daily lives with the myriad concerns that individuals have.  So was the to-do of the wedding worth the effort?

My parents were married by a justice-of-the-peace in a simple civil ceremony – a far cry from the wedding of my brother-in-law or even my wedding.  And yet, my parents had a very effective and loving marriage – and I believe my wife would agree that we have an effective and loving marriage as well.  I expect my brother-in-law will have one as well.  In short, the wedding doesn’t define the success of the marriage.

The success of a marriage – or any relationship – is not in the event which indicates its start but in the many small, individual actions that comprise the daily interactions.

In the late 1990’s I was part of a team that supported the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition which I wrote about before.  One of our tasks was to create PowerPoint presentations for the top civilians – but with the requirement that we have the last slide be a pithy quote as the “Get off the stage” slide.  We spend more time looking for quotes than we did creating the rest of the presentation.  I finally got tired of the hassle and created a simple Access database with two fields – Quote and Author.  Every time I found a quote, I would put it in the database – and when it came time to create a presentation, I would search my database and provide  several options to use.  It saved time and a lot of hassle.

When I left that team I took that database with me.  I kept adding quotes and I realized that I could add articles as well.  I called it my treasures of truth database because it contained a lot of sage advice that I could retrieve quite easily  with the built-in search function.  As of this writing, there are 17,156 entries.  I’m never at a loss for a quote or article to reference in my writing.

The point I’m making is that it wasn’t the wedding or the creation of the database that was – or is – important.  It’s the persistent, daily efforts that create a success – whether it’s a marriage or a database.

My mother-in-law hated Mothers’ Day.  She would say, “If you haven’t convinced your mother you love her the other 364 days of the year, nothing you do on Mothers’ Day will make a difference.”

We focus on the EVENT – but it’s the process that’s really important.


A physicist by trade, author by choice, a born teacher, a retired veteran, and an adamant problem solver, Frank has helped the White House, federal agencies, military offices, historical museums, manufacturers, and over 250 technology startups get stuff done, communicate effectively, and find practical solutions that work for them. In his spare time, he makes sawdust and watches Godzilla movies.