Norton: A tribute: Courtship after marriage, as taught by Zig Ziglar (column)

Michael Norton
Valley Voices

Whether we say that behind every great man is a great woman, or behind every great woman is a great man, or we agree that behind every great person is another great person or family, we can all agree that typically when we see a person, a family, a business or a team succeed, the level of success achieved was in direct proportion to the support, love, hope and encouragement of others.

This week, I want to pay tribute to Jean Ziglar, the beloved wife of Zig Ziglar, who passed away recently at the age of 90. Zig never missed an opportunity to share what a remarkable woman she was and did so right up until the time of his passing back in 2012. From the stage he was famous for referring to her as “The Redhead.” He would say, “When I am talking about her, it’s The Redhead, when I am talking to her, it’s Sugar Baby, and her real name is Jean.”

Not only did I hear him say it from the stage dozens of times and hear it on his audio programs hundreds of times, I was fortunate enough to witness it happening in real life over and over again. To watch Mr. Ziglar as he loved on his wife was one thing, and to see them love on each other was the epitome of a happy marriage.

If you would like to read one of the very best books ever on how to build and live out a successful marriage, read Zig Ziglar’s book, “Courtship After Marriage.” What Zig writes about in this book is how he and Jean lived their lives together. They were the real deal; their love and relationship were, and still are, a living example to every couple who wants to experience a closer and more loving relationship.

Jean Ziglar will also be remembered as the “Happy Hugger.” If you were ever blessed enough to meet her, that means you probably got a hug. If you ever spent time with her, you probably heard her laugh. Zig Ziglar might have been the man on stage and on those recordings, but Jean Ziglar was his world. Zig would say she was like his American Express Card; he never left home without her. Why was that?

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Well, maybe it’s because she always made sure he had enough money in his wallet in case of an emergency when he first started traveling and was away from home. Maybe it’s because she reminded Zig that they could never out-give God as they built a loving, faithful and faith-based marriage together. Maybe it’s because when he was on stage, she could be seen sitting right in the front row time and time again.

Zig would say that Jean Ziglar was the best car door opener in all of Texas, but if she opened her own car door more than a few times in an entire year it would be a lot. He would open her door for her everywhere they went. Even if they had a driver, he would want to be the one to open her door for her. Why?

I can tell you why: Jean Ziglar was one of the most amazing women in her own right. She was humble, she was kind, she was strong, she was a woman of faith, she was a loving mother and grandmother, she was a friend, she was smart, she was funny, she was an amazing hugger. Jean Ziglar was love.

As I close out this column I want to share a memory and a vision that has been planted in my mind and on my heart for many years. I was traveling with Mr. Ziglar to an event where he would be speaking to tens of thousands of people. We were in the green room getting ready, and Jean Ziglar was with him.

Instead of going through his notes one more time as he typically would do before each and every event, he was spending his time with Jean. And Jean, in her loving way, was making sure he was ready to go out on stage. But as they did this, they were loving and flirting and gently kissing and hugging. They were sharing just how much they loved each other.

There were a few people in the room with us, but that didn’t seem to phase Zig or Jean. And then as we walked out through the tunnel, Zig and Jean walked together holding hands right up to the point where Zig was to go on stage. Even as they were announcing his name, Jean was holding his hand and telling him how God loved him and how she loved him. It was amazing, truly amazing.

I was standing next to a security guard who made the walk with us. He was about 6-foot-5 and a big man. I could see him wiping a tear from his eye too, as we both had tears of joy and appreciation for this wonderful and loving couple who together changed the lives of millions of people around the world.

When asked for one of the reasons why he loved his dad so much, Tom Ziglar answered, “I love my dad so much because of the way he loved my mom.” She truly was a special woman.

So how about you? Do you need a little courtship after marriage? Or are you already living a full, wonderful and loving life now? I would love to hear you story at, and when we can be the supportive, loving and encouraging person behind someone else, it really will be a better-than-good week.

Michael Norton is the president of the Zig Ziglar Corporate Training Solutions Team, a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.

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