Our 20th Wedding Anniversary!

Today, my husband and I join other special couples who have been able to keep it together for 20 years: Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks, Kyra Segdwick and Kevin Bacon, and Jamie Lee Curtis and Christopher Guest among others.

Yes, today is our 20th Wedding Anniversary!!

Twenty years ago a very young, tall, dark and handsome man actually thought I was worth marrying and has taken care of me, very well  I might add, since then.

But, one of us almost gave up on the relationship before the big day.
Before you can also appreciate the weight of these two decades you've got to know a little of the back story. So sit yourself down for a bit, grab your passport and camera because we'll be traveling away from here to the places where our love was born.

London, England September 1989.

A full-fledged executive working in the days of “Greed and Glory on Wall Street” with the now-defunct investment bank Shearson Lehman Brothers, I sat at my opulent, mahogany desk on the third floor overlooking the ice rink in the financial center of London. Unsuspectingly, working away on the trading room floor watching my telephone line indicator lights blink, the far left hand corner light started to shine green so I pressed and answered: “Shearson Lehman Asset Trading, this is Suzette.”

“Hello, this is Alejandro, I'm Alberto's friend and I work at PNC in Pennsylvania. Alberto and I have worked together, and he mentioned you are also a debt trader.”

Alberto was our mutual friend working at a Paris bank, and had met us on separate occasions during business trips.
“Oh, yes. Hi! Alberto told me you might be calling.”

This was not the most charming introduction by any means, but the interesting element is that during that initial conversation we found out we were both Mexican living and working abroad in the same industry and in the same sector; both as expatriates, bilingual, with many things in common including our education; we both have Masters Degrees.

After the ice was broken, this faceless man took command of the daily phone calls that came in on the same line and at the same time… and I kept a close eye on that little light each afternoon around 4 o'clock London time because that was about the time Alex would be showing up to start work in America (as the Euros call it).

Every day for about a month, 15 minutes before I would check out of work to hit the next happy hour, Mystery Man and I would chat about the market, trades, acquaintances and work-related stuff at first. After a couple of weeks the conversations slowly shifted to more personal topics; music, plays, travel and our families who were very far away for both of us.

The voice at the other end of the corded phone might as well have been a hypnotist because I couldn't put the phone down (didn't want to) after each call!

We started doing business together as debt traders, but even this was maneuvered by me since  my market consisted of France and Spain. But. I had convinced my bosses we needed a contact on the American side for certain transactions because the cost was less – and this much was true, but with some legwork I could have made the same transactions in Europe (but there was no fun in doing that!).

About a month into this whole business arrangement, my bosses had signed a deal whereby the entire trading unit had been bought by another bank, and according to British law we could not work in the same industry for one month after defecting from a previous employer.

The workaround this resulted in my living at the Plaza Hotel in New York City for exactly one month.

Oh, it was dreadful!

(No, not really)

During the negotiations for our team's defection, I could not tell anyone, but being a girl I had to tell someone and that someone was living clear across the Atlantic; I had never met him, but he was always on time blinking away at 4 PM.

“Hola, como estas?” I said excitedly on this day.

“Guess what? It's my last day here and I'm being flown to New York where I'll be living at the Plaza for a month. You should come visit me over the weekend!” I nervously reveled my secret to him.

I gave him all the details of the move and we agreed I would call him as soon as I was on US soil and installed in my room.

The next day was glorious! I marched into the boss's office and told him “I quit!”

Yep. Just like that.

However, the days prior to me quitting, others in my group had already done so and this raised a big red flag with the suits. Suddenly, I was told not to move, they called security and I was escorted to my desk to gather very few belongings. Then out through the beautiful ceiling-to-floor mahogany doors I went.

Suzette had left the building: #1 Broadgate, London, England…  forever.

New York City, December, 1989

Once I had checked in at the Plaza, I made the call. I couldn't believe what I had just done and was somewhat nervous but very excited about starting a new job where I didn't even have to interview – I was also getting paid double in this new job — life was good.

Which brings me to the meeting.

In a flurry of telephone calls and messages, I ended up flying to Pittsburgh to meet Mystery Man and celebrate my new job with the only other person who knew what I had just been through.

“Hi, is that you?” he asked rolling down the window to take a peek at the stranger he'd been talking to over the last month.

“Yeah, it's me.” I stood up from sitting on my suitcase curbside at the airport and quickly got in his car.

Break for a little clarification.

At this time, I was in my late twenty's, making more money than he was and had the better job title. (I'm purposely leaving out many of the details to this great love story so it's not a book, though I think I've reduced it to a cheap romance novel. Oh, well!)

After that fun weekend meeting Mystery Man, we hit it off rather well. In fact, well enough that we continued our relationship across the Atlantic arranging business meetings in the same cities like Paris, Mexico, and even Ixtapa, Zihuatanejo (What?) for about seven months until it got ridiculously expensive, our respective employers couldn't expense our travels anymore, and the telephone calls got old.

So, what's the next best thing to being there?

You get dumped.



“Hold on there amigo. I didn't invest this much time and money in you so you could just disappear and ride into the sunset without me.” I thought to myself.

Nope. That's not happening.

So, after the failed attempt at a telephonic Dear Jane, I flew from London to NYC after I told him that if he was gonna dump me he needed to do it face to face… not over 3,000 miles of optical wire.

And to make a long story short, it didn't happen. I got off the plane that fateful evening, and instead he proposed!



There you have it!

Someday I'll tell you the complete story of this transatlantic romance, but for now this will have to suffice so you'll understand how 20 years later, an 8 month intercontinental relationship is still going strong – against many of our own families' predictions.

Twenty years, two decades, two kids, a dog, a mortgage and soon a college tuition later, I'm talking about 20 years of blissful marriage (Who am I kidding? Blissful doesn't even come close, right?) to each other, and our first and only nuptials in our lifetime – not a small feat these days.


How'd you do it?

What's the secret?

These are commonly asked questions of the younger as-yet-to-commit set who might see marriage as an oppressive institution, or the freedom-taker, the kill-joy, etc. Whatever adjective you'd like to attach to marriage the only basis for a long-lasting life together (under the law and God) is…no, not love. How trite is that!

The answer is one word and it's so simple it eludes so many couples:



Happy Anniversary to my Mystery Man!!

Boy, am I glad you didn't let me go…


  1. Anonymous says:

    Great story!!! And what a beautiful family the two of you have! Congratulations!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Great article! I remember so clearly your wedding day. You looked so beautiful, happy and excited. It's so wonderful to see both of you still very happy and in love. I wish you and Alex many, many, many more years of blissful marriage. ¡Muchas Felicidades, Ahijada! Love you always.

  3. Anonymous says:

    You and Alex are such a lucky (to find each other) and amazing couple. I truly believe you should write a book on marital longevity and child rearing as many of us could learn from your examples.
    Congratulations!!!!! You're truly inspirational.
    (our turn next week)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for your good wishes! I sure hope I get another 20 years with my 'Mystery Man.'

  5. Anonymous says:

    Oh, thank you, Carmen!! You were my Bouquet Godmother and a witness at the Civil Ceremony (and you were pretty in pink, too). Time sure has flown by and I feel so blessed to have this wonderful life. Thanks for all your support and friendship over the years.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Can you believe I've known you for practically the entire time I've been married to 'Mystery Man'? That's incredible! (Kinda makes me feel old, too) We've got to celebrate together girlfriend!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations! We are getting ready to celebrate our 15th tomorrow and we went through a brief break-up also (actually two) in the initial dating stages. Maybe that is one of the keys to long term success! I love your family photo – so beautiful!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Fifteen years of marriage is a breakthrough these days, so congrats to you too!!
    Though we didn't actually break up, the long distance relationship, our 'power jobs' and logistics simply weren't alligning in the right direction for an enduring relationship. But, alas, we made thigs happen after all — one thing being me having to quit my job (again), to marry and move back to the USA (a great move, I might add *wink*)

  9. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations Suzette! Love this story. You have a gorgeous family and I wish you all so much happiness for 20+ years.

  10. Anonymous says:


  11. Anonymous says:

    Hi Mama Mary,
    Thanks for the comment and good wishes. You know, 20 more years of marriage means I'll be 70! Yikes!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Muchas gracias mi amiga! Para alla van uds. tambien!! Besos a todos.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Belated Congratulations!
    Love is blind, but relationship last for eternity.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations. Hope everyone of us would have such beautiful family as you have. Got your advices hope you'll reach your 40th anniversary.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Awesome story. Truly indeed Love conquers all. Wish all of us have the same attitude when we face in our own future.

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