Is marriage a... business proposal?

Dearest Spouse,

From the moment I laid eyes on you, looking so cute with your pixie haircut and your cool red leather jacket, I knew you would deliver an above-market return on investment.

I'd acted on a word-of-mouth tip from an analyst, my neighbor in the apartment downstairs who had an eye for value. No sooner had he recommended a buy than I opted to review your prospectus.

And then there you stood, shyly smiling hello to me, and I decided to get in on the ground floor.

That night, as we dined out on our double date in Little Italy – remember the waiter who played the spoons in his lap for our entertainment? – we ran through the preliminary phases of research and development.

The transaction proved even better than touted: Right away I saw your promising earnings potential and liked my opportunity.

Putting all my cards on the table, I asked you out again. And out we then went, every week for months, usually on the cheap – pizza here, falafel there – creating an infrastructure for trust.

Little more than a year later, with all economic indicators pointing toward progress – your advances, for example, always leading your declines – I saw you really start to take off.

Clearly you could outperform any competition, whether commodities, precious metals, or other women.

Closer and closer we drew, and after eight months, in a dramatic shift of strategy, I, a lifelong sole proprietorship with an outlook typically shortsighted, began to think long term.

One night, I positioned myself on the living room sofa for maximum advantage and asked for your hand in marriage.

Never for a second did I rely on guesswork, nor did I have any kind of system in place. I acted on faith.

Crying in happiness, you consented to the merger.

Nine months later, on March 11, 1979, after doing all our due diligence, we incorporated our partnership.

Wedding gifts provided a welcome infusion of capital. We furnished our headquarters, pinched pennies, and turned ourselves into a going concern.

Within four years, we expanded our franchise with a subsidiary we named Michael – and five years later with a new female division we called Caroline, doubling our payroll.

Nonetheless, we kept building equity and hit the break-even point faster than projected.

Little ever went quite as planned, though. Early on, still facing doubts, even occasionally flirting with panic, I would ask, "Is this right for me?" I would check your share price daily, even hourly.

And we had operational issues, too: job layoffs, illness, and the death of our principal shareholder, your mother.

As co-CEOs, we clashed over everything from liquidity to whether you'd be better off divesting yourself of me.

But through it all, even in the face of disappointments and downturns, you've always hung tough – ever-resilient, recession-proof, staunchly blue-chip.

Your trading volume never slowed. You never lapsed into volatility. You never needed a price correction. Jumps in interest rates never caused you even a flutter of fluctuation.

Rather, your capitalization always climbed. And as we matured together, you cultivated both our signature products into splendid specimens.

You threw off handsome dividends, your rate of return consistently beating the S&P 500 average. Your value only waxed, never waned. You never failed me – or us.

If either of us ever had sold short, clearly it was I, with my limited emotional intelligence and otherwise questionable fiduciary skills.

But give me a little credit. At least I had the good sense to hold rather than fold. I never drafted a succession plan or looked for an exit strategy.

Nor did I ever feel tempted, for that matter, to cut my losses, let alone diversify my portfolio.

Maybe I deserve more than just a little credit after all. I knew from the get-go that you looked every inch the investment of a lifetime.

All your assets – your kindness, your common sense, and your humor, not to mention your understanding, generosity, loyalty, and love – keep bringing home a strong bottom line. You're a classic growth stock, the fortune I always foresaw.

Hey, I know a full upside when I see one. I've done the math. Clearly, I've got a winner here. It just shows that any fool can hit it big.

And I did.

Your loving husband,

Bob Brody

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