Quote of the Week

Wedding day. December 18, 1982. That newly-married-teenage couple has absolutely no idea what they’ve just done. They don’t have a clue about all the future surgeries (including body parts that will be removed), sending a son to war twice, grandchildren, a grandchild with autism, a grandchild with depression, health problems, debts, paychecks that after paying the bills left $10 for groceries, no wiggle room in the budget for eating out, caring for parents, the death of parents, the death of dreams, expectations unmet, loud snoring at night, stinky farts that caused a first argument, foolish choices, buying a first home and then finding termites on move in day, Christmas when we couldn’t afford a tree, Christmas when we were separated, and a whole lot of daily living.

I am not posting a quote from someone else this week. I am sharing from my own simple but well-lived life. There is a secret in marriage that is usually not talked about because it is so simple no one could then earn a penny from writing a book. The secret is there is no secret. A marriage that stays together, even past 10 years, is a miracle.

We were teenagers with a baby on the way when we married.
We had nothing in common and that has not changed.
We came from different church denominations.
We have different political beliefs.
We came from different family backgrounds.
We communicated differently.
We looked at marriage differently.
And, yet, here we are, still married.

A few things I have learned. It has taken longer to accept.

1. People really do change, and they don’t always change in a positive way.
2. Sometimes we do everything good or to our best. And we give it our all. Yet, the marriage still does not last.
3. Love is not a predictor of a lasting marriage. I’ve met so many people who still love someone they are no longer married to. Maybe that person died. Maybe they divorced. But they still love that person. So, loving the other person doesn’t mean the marriage will make it. There are other factors that determine the outcome.
4. I’ve often heard that a married couple should spend time together in a common interest like a hobby. This sounds wonderful. But what about all those couples who don’t have a common interest or don’t care to contribute to have a common interest? Just let this go. Give each other some space and be at peace.
5. Watch your language in front of the children. What I mean is don’t put the other spouse down or criticize or be vengeful in front of children (children of any age.) Your kids will remember. In 50 years, they will still remember.
6. What you cook for dinner is not as important as eating together. Eat together in communion. Eat together even if it’s a sandwich. Eat together even it lasts a few moments.
7. I’ve heard it said the married couple should always put each other first. Pooh. Often children need to come first. For example, children need to eat. I know this is a basic thing but sometimes basic needs to be reminded. Sick children take priority in the home. Parents should be in partnership (even if not living together) for the sake, welfare, and love of their kids.
8. Communication is hard work. No one reads minds. Say how you feel but in a few words. Get to the point. What you say comes across better if you begin the sentence with, “I feel….” Men tend to zone out after a few words. Seriously. People usually remember the first few words you say and the rest they don’t hear because they are thinking about their response.
9. Choose battles wisely. And many things are just chicken feathers (unimportant and frothy.)
10. Find things to be thankful and focus on them. Don’t forget to say thank you because thankfulness literally changes the mood of the entire home.
11. Your spouse or partner is not the end-all answer in life. They will not grant every wish. They will not meet every desire. They do not complete you. You will not receive unconditional love because that is not possible. People are people. People are frail, weak, indecisive at times, get tired and sick; and two people who live together will at some point get on each other’s last nerve.
12. Laughing together is so important. My husband has a sarcastic-wise-guy sense of humor. I laugh even if it is not funny. I laugh because laughing feels good and its healthy. I laugh because it is something we can do together. I laugh because I love him. Life is so serious. It feels good to laugh. It feels uplifting. Laughter is medicine. Laughter is powerful.
13. Marriage is like life itself. There are different stages in marriage. No stage lasts indefinitely. Some stages are enjoyable. Some stages are terrible. Hang on. If possible, hang-on together.
14. Respectful and honorable words are powerful. Talking down to someone means you’ve just lost your integrity and have impacted your legacy.

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