"When he was having trouble making the decision about getting married, he was incredibly clear that it was not about me," said Bill Gates' wife Melinda

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April 23, 2019 10:38 AM
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Melinda Gates knows that the secret ingredients to keeping a marriage going strong for more than two decades are a lot of love, a lot of patience and a willingness to grow together.

In an interview with The Sunday Times surrounding her new book, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the Worldout now — the philanthropist revealed details about the early days of dating now-husband Bill Gates, with whom she just celebrated 25 years of marriage on Jan. 1.

“He needs a little training, and he’d tell you that too,” Melinda told the outlet, noting that he’s generally easy to live with but recalling a time when she got angry with her husband after she needed help packing up the family car and getting their three children ready to go while Bill, now 63, was deep in a book about Winston Churchill.

Patience, she shared, has been the key: “When he was having trouble making the decision about getting married, he was incredibly clear that it was not about me, it was about, ‘Can I get the balance right between work and family life?’ ” Melinda, 54, told The Sunday Times.

Bill and Melinda Gates
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

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Melinda “wasn’t going for a certain type, obviously, when I fell in love with Bill,” she explained, but admitted she “was a little bit predisposed because I’m a computer science major, so when I was in college the people I spent a lot of time with were young men and a lot of them were geeky.”

And at this point in their marriage — more than 30 years after they first began dating, following an initial connection when Melinda started working for Microsoft — laughter is the best medicine.

“We’ve just gotten to a point in life where Bill and I can both laugh about more things,” she said. “And, believe me, I can remember some days that were so incredibly hard in our marriage where you thought, ‘Can I do this?’ “

The Gates family
Gates Archive

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In a 2017 interview with CBS’ Sunday Morning, Melinda discussed more details about the couple’s relationship, including her decision to be a stay-at-home mom once she got pregnant with their first child, Jennifer, who was born in 1996. (They went on to have son Rory in 1999, and daughter Phoebe in 2002.)

“It’s absolutely a partnership of equals,” Melinda said at the time. “It’s important to both of us that the world understands that we are running this place together. This is our joint values being played out in the world.”

The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World is available now on amazon.com.

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