One key to Tess and Andy Wald’s more than four decades of marriage: a weekly rose
Married for 43 years, Andy and Tess Wald of Chevy Chase eat dinner together every night and spend many weekends at their house in Delaware’s Broadkill Beach. Andy is a therapist who often counsels couples and co-authored a book on relationships; Tess runs her own event production company. The couple has two children, Ben, 29, and Leah, 26.
Love at first sight: Andy, 66, and Tess, 65, met at a wedding in 1972 and talked all night long. Andy lived in Chicago and Tess was finishing her undergraduate degree at the University of Kansas. After the wedding, they began exchanging letters, which soon gave way to nightly phone calls. Eleven months after they met, they were married, at 23 and 22. “We really learned about each other after we were married,” Andy says. “We grew up together.”
Faith and family: After being raised Lutheran, Tess converted to Judaism when she married Andy for the sake of being “on the same team.” Although the conversion initially caused friction with her relatives—some of her uncles refused to attend the wedding—she says Judaism has become an important part of their family identity. The Walds have a tradition of inviting many of their friends, religious or not, to their home for Passover dinner. “They live out of town, but they make sure they’re back for Seder,” Tess says.
Off the clock: Tess says being married to a therapist doesn’t lead to constant analyzing, as some might expect. Andy says his work often informs his relationship, and vice versa. A lot of his clients complain that they’re too different from their spouses, but Andy says he can tell them from his own experience that differences aren’t a bad thing, and that they can create new shared interests. “She loves time outdoors,” he says. “That’s influenced me to love the outdoors.”
Weekly tradition: Andy has brought Tess a single rose from the garden or the florist almost every Friday since they got married. Tess says it’s a sign of how they always work to make their marriage a priority, even in the little things they do. “We look at each other and say, ‘Another week.’ ”