Today’s Featured Spouse Date couple is Jerry and Elaine Stumpf.
Jerry and Elaine have been married for 40 years and have three adult children (36, 32 & 30), along with six grandchildren. They live in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Jerry is an author, blogger, one-on-one coach and marriage mentor. He is passionate about helping husbands understand and openly communicate with their wives. You can learn more about him and his work by connecting on Twitter and Facebook, as well as by visiting his website Cracking the Marriage Code.
How did you first meet?
We met at college and were married six months later, to the day.
What was your first date?
The day after we met, I took her to the church where I preached while in college, 90 miles from our college.
What encouraged you to keep dating?
I kept asking her out, she kept saying, “Of course!” We both felt right for each other.
What was your best date ever and what made it so outstanding?
We spent a week in a cabin in Tennessee away from everything. My wife treated me – surprised me – when we sold the business I had built for 20 years. It was a fun time just being with each other. This happened two years ago. I also have two other dates of note: 1 – I sent her on a scavenger hunt after she got off work one night and then whisked her away to a hotel room with a Jacuzzi tub. In between I presented her flowers at the restaurant for supper before the hotel. 2 – A Luau in our living room with my Hula girl complete with her grass skirt! The beach was a “kiddie” pool with sand. I could share a few more but these will suffice for now! What made all the dates outstanding was having my bride and the time to enjoy each other.
How do other people describe you as a couple?
Fun to be with. Hospitable, to encourage their marriages. We are compassionate. They know we will help them develop their relationship.
What’s one of the biggest challenges you have faced as a couple and how has that challenge affected your marriage? How would you encourage other couples that may be facing this challenge?
Finances for so many years were sparse. We have worked with small churches so the money to raise a family was limited. We help other couples to get on a written budget and to have a set plan to get out of debt.
What are some marriage resources that have helped you build a better marriage?
Many books and a couple of seminars. I have been a student of marriage for over 30 years. At age twelve, An event I witnessed changed my life regarding marriage. I kept a promise I made to myself at that time. I spent so much time learning about marriage since my parents did not give me a good example to follow and I did not know how to be a husband.
(Jerry’s own book Cracking the Marriage Code is also a great resource.)
Tell us about an “Aha!” moment that you have had in your marriage and how that has helped you become a better spouse.
Early in our marriage I was jostling my wife in what I thought was a love tap. She said to me in a raised voice, “Why do you keep doing that?” “What?” “You keep hitting me!” “I am showing you I love you!” “Well find some other way!” I was devastated as I did not know how to correctly show my love for her. So I became focused to find out how to show my bride that I do actually love her in a way that her heart understands. Now Elaine calls me the most romantic man she knows. Guess I learned. I’d say I have had almost forty years of gradual “aha” moments.
When you think about your future together, what are you most excited about?
At our age, that we have a future to be together. Every day is a wonderful ride. I am excited to expand my “Cracking The Marriage Code” business to help hundreds of more couples learn that you can completely change your legacy and carve out a great marriage for your children.
What is your idea of the ideal date?
Spending time with my bride together where we both enjoy the event and we are free from the pressure of life. For many years we could not enjoy extended time together as it was difficult to relax with our children’s needs and finances so tight.