Thursday, August 16, 2012

Marriage Musings

This summer has been filled with weddings for us. Come December, my hubby and I will have been married 40 years. In general, people are prone to exclaim in surprise over that number, which seems a rather sad commentary on the state of wedded bliss (or lack thereof) in our society. Where hitting the four-decade mark used to be commonplace, long-term relationships are almost an oddity now.

I don't pretend to be an expert on any marriage but mine, yet I often get asked the question, "How have you lasted so long? What's the secret?" For some reason, I always feel obligated to reply, especially to those dewy-eyed young brides who are just embarking on their own lives as wives and eventual mothers. I find myself wishing that I had some sure-fire formula for success as a spouse, but the only thing I've ever really come up with is something every would-be bride ought to do before the ring ever hits her finger: Choose the right guy!

That almost sounds like a punchline, but I mean it most sincerely. The following list is a series of things that I considered essential in finding my marriage partner, and if any one had been missing, it would have been a deal breaker.

1. Is he a good, solid person with sound morals?
2. Do you share basic beliefs about the world and have similar goals?
3. Does he have a history of commitment and dependability?
4. Is his family close? Is every member important to him?
5. Does he have a good work ethic, not just career-wise but in general?
6. Does he make your stomach flutter and your knees go weak?
7. Is there balance? Does he love and need you as much as you love and need him?
8. Can you trust him with every part of yourself?
9. Is he the person you enjoy being with more than any other?
10. Do you love talking to him? Laughing with him?
11. Does he respect and support you as an individual?
12. Is your happiness at least as important to him as his own?

These 12 considerations are not listed in order of importance because to me, every single one of them was and is important. Spending an entire lifetime together is a big deal...and far less likely to happen if any of these components is missing.

My concern is that a lot of couples jump into marriage too quickly these days, based upon attraction that hasn't passed the test of time and encouraged by the ease and frequency of divorce. These brides and grooms make vows without real intent, figuring that if things don't work out they will just move on. Sadly, moving on disqualifies them from the inestimable treasures of an enduring marriage: shared history and hard-won emotional intimacy. Those who stick together through thick and thin, riding the waves of joy and sorrow and even occasional apathy with resolve and commitment, create a bond of mature love and mutual understanding that feels as sacred and secure as any sanctuary.

Marriage CAN BE a sanctuary in this life...but it must be carefully built, year upon year, by those who inhabit it. The trick, of course, is choosing someone you want to inhabit it with!

A happy wedded state
requires the proper mate.
Choose well and seal your fate.

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Tima said...

That's a fabulous list!

Amy said...

I made a list like that before i met my husband. Those things really are essential. What a wonderful post, and congratulations in December on 40 years of bliss!

Momza said...

Wise list, Sue. Some people take more time choosing a car than a companion, and find out the companion is a lemon before the warranty is up! lol
I think of Alma's words to his sons:
"O be wise..."
Congrats on 40 years!

Sue McPeak said...

HERE HERE!!!! Wise list INDEED!!! Happy 40 year Anniversary. You guys are a unique you said...not the commonplace these days. I'm happy to say I chose 'The Right Guy' 47 years ago!!!

yaya said...

At the end of this month Jack and I will have 38yrs....time goes so fast..the many things I thought were so important 38yrs. ago have changed. But the essential things have not. You listed all the right ones. We've had our fair share of trials and thankfully many days of joy. Congrats to you in Dec..and also to your Mom for her 40yrs!

Lmkazmierczak said...

Solid post. Weddings are popping up now in our family and those characteristics you have listed are prominent in them all. All The Best to you♫

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I think everyone about to get engaged should think about the questions you listed.

Brian Miller said...

this is solid...if you choose right from the start you are in much better shape...too many go into thinking they will change the other person but chances are you will get more of the same...great questions....

Darlene said...

I loved reading your list because it is so indicative of you and Dave, You are so wonderfully matched. I love that you can can take frustrations out on each other and know that it is just a necessary way to vent and you can still just love love love each other, knowing that it doesn't have anything to do with the other person. Dick and I are like that too. He just understands me so much that if I start to take my frustrations out on him, he pretty much ignores it, so I can't be mad for long. He has never raised his voice to me in the 40 years we have been married. I wish I could say the same for me.

I really loved Momza's comment!! I'm going to write it down so I won't forget it. I can't seem to remember anything these days. I can then pass it on because it is so true and funny too!

jen said...

And the proof is in how your blogging has changed since he's retired--that's real love and friendship. Or you'd be on the computer even more :)

Eva Gallant said...

I agree with your list! This is my second marriage. My first lasted 12 years, and then my husband decided he wanted to date. (others!)

After 4 years of being single, I remarried. Mr. Eva and I have now been married 28 years next month. My ex, however has now been divorced 3 times and counting.

Leovi said...

40 years ... Now we'll remember to congratulate you and your husband.

anitamombanita said...

I think people tend to overcomplicate things...

1. be kind
2. be thoughtful
3. be kind
4. be thoughtful
5. be the friend that you want to have

6. be HAPPY!!

storybeader said...

great post, with a lot to think about! My DH and I have been through a lot of up and down, but we seem to get through it all. {:-D

karen said...

That's a great list that I wish someone had shown me a million years ago. Many things were there, but some important things were not, and I didn't know any better. Now LaMar and I will be very old if we reach our 40th, but at least we've been blessed (sometimes dubiously so) with a lotta living and life events packed into our almost 13 years. Some we could have done without, but we were pretty solid going through them together. And that's what it's all about.
Happy soon-to-be 40th. You and Dave are the best!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I'll be married 38 years in a few months, Sue, and feel blessed that my husband and I have always been the best of friends our entire life.

Sistas in Zion said...

We love your list Sue. And once you get the guy that makes the list you got work hard to make sure that things don't get removed from the list. Marriage is work, but the things you work the hardest at have great rewards.

Dixie Mom said...

I agree with all of those things. I wish I really understood them when I was young though. Sometimes it's hard to see the truth when your judgement is cloudy.
Congrats on 40 years!! That really is awesome.

Esther Joy said...

Yes, Sue, we did pick a similar topic, but yours had a lot more depth! I loved your list!

Grandma Honey said...

I'm glad my marriage passed the 12 rules. Good ones you came up with, I might add. Happy Anniversary! When we choose right, and treat well, what a blessing marriage is.

Gattina said...

We are married since 43 years and are ready to go into the Guiness Book of records with all the divorces around !
Our recepe is : trust, tolerance, humor.

Caroline said...

Great list, Sue and congratulations on your December anniversary!

p.s. I'm back and I clicked the right one this time! :)

Andy David said...

My dear friend,
With unconditional love, time means nothing. Congratulations and wishing you many, many more years of such bliss. Thanks for sharing.

Lisalulu said...

Wonderful! I've missed your wisdom! this is all so true and I wish more people would take the time to seriously make these desicions

Claudia Willison said...

What a wonderful post. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. While I am certain that I found and married the right guy (after all we only got married when I was already 42), I think it will be unlikely for us to share 40 years together. But we are hoping to :)

Kristin said...

Love the inspiring thoughts and the list . . . my top items as well, and so blessed to have found the perfect man for me now 32 years ago!


Jenny said...

You can see the connection between you two.

It's tangible.

And marvelous.

This kind of relationship isn't built because it's easy every day.

I think sometimes younger couples forget that important fact!

That was an aMazing post Miss Sue.

Thank you for sharing it.


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