America's Greatest Lover lives in Magna.
Jerry Balistreri, 36, was given the prestigious 1989 title recently by "Mr. Romance" newsletter, a publication from Arizona that collects love stories and the things that are going right in marriages throughout the country."It is quite a title," he said.
"He's a unique man in today's world," said his wife, Sheila, who nominated her husband after announcing the contest one morning on KCPX radio, where she works as news director.
"I thought to myself, `Gee, my husband does romantic things for me all the time so why don't I enter?' " she said. More than 1,500 radio stations announced the contest, and from the thousands of nominations, judges declared Jerry the winner.
"It was one of those things you read and you know it's the one," said the newsletter's editor and publisher, Langdon Hill. Sheila described a long list of reasons why her husband was a great lover, but Hill said one sentence particularly stood out in the judges' minds.
"When we do housework, my husband always cleans the bathroom because he doesn't want me to have to do it," she wrote. "It was that sentence that made the difference," Hill said.
"I've been able to detect that bathrooms are not her favorite thing to clean," said Jerry, who believes that communication, especially listening skills, is one of the most important ingredients of a successful marriage.
"You need to pick up on cues (from your spouse) that are sometimes subtle but are very valuable," he said.
The parents of two admit that their marriage is not perfect, but both say they are constantly doing things to express love and strengthen their marriage. "He gave up his Thanksgiving dinner so I could stay on this diet," she said.
On Valentine's Day, Sheila was invited to be a guest on ABC-TV's Home Show. She was flown to Los Angeles, and while on the air discovered that her husband had also been flown to L.A. to appear with her as a surprise.
"To a great extent, it's the little routine things that count in a marriage," Hill said. "Our newsletter shows the people there's not just slime balls out there," Hill said.