Over the years I’ve noticed married couples and how they interact. Every couple is unique in their own way. One of the sayings in Proverbs gets me thinking every time I read it:
Proverbs 30:18, (KJV): There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not:
Pro 30:19 The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.
(photo from images search yahoo.com, for married couples)
We visited a couple in their eighties and nineties, she and he respectively and she asked how we came to meet and date. Then I asked how they met and when did she know he wanted to go out with her. He glowed when he spoke about her and told us he has a good wife. She worked in a small restaurant and he kept coming in for coffee. One night she got stranded there and was trying to come up with a way to get home. He offered to give her a ride and she didn’t feel comfortable with that until her co-worker vouched for his character. Since she trusted her co-worker, she accepted his offer and the rest is history. 🙂
At a marriage enhancement group of some sort, many years ago, we attended because I convinced my husband that we should go. He told me we were okay, but I felt there’s always room for growth. He’s a nice guy, so we went. We wrote in notebooks about our feelings and what can I say, I’m a writer. I would have about a page and a half for each category; he would have about three sentences. Then we had to exchange our notebooks and talk about them. For him, this was akin to torture. By the end of the weekend, I felt sorry for him.
I’ve shared here before that he and I see the world differently. He’s opposite me in lots of ways. Even our upbringing wasn’t the same, although we both came from parents that loved us and worked hard to provide for us and we learned to work for a living, too.
He was brought up in a rural town, and I grew up in a city. He’s athletic, I’m not. His parents didn’t attend church. We went every Sunday and for the first eight years of school I attended a religious school. He got straight A’s in school, not I. Well, there are other areas of differing interests, but I’ll stop here.
I think what helps our marriage is our willingness to step into each other’s world. If he wants to watch basketball, I’ll watch for a while. I may even watch the entire game and enjoy it. When he wants to watch some kind of wrestling match or no-holds- barred Eastern world fighting, I may notice for about twenty seconds and then I leave the room. I’ll get busy doing something I want to do and then later he’ll look for me and we’ll do something together. He started watching a series on television about a Canadian Mounty and a schoolteacher falling in love based on stories set in the early 1900’s and he now likes it. The occasional catching of criminals and the horses appeal to him more than the relationship stuff, I’m sure.
We agree on the major things in life. We both love God and pray for others to know how much God loves them. We view money and the use of it pretty much the same. Sometimes we compromise if there’s a limited amount and we both want something at the same time. He’ll get what he wants this time, and I’ll get what I want the next time, or vice-versa. It usually works out. We talk about financial disagreements when we’re not exhausted and cranky.
Our differences balance us out when we listen to each other. Every marriage has ups and downs, but I learned over the years to give him space when he needed it. If I needed to confront him over something, I usually prayed beforehand and I waited for the right time to bring it up. When he ran into problems at work, I didn’t talk that day. I didn’t wait too long, but I wanted us both well rested and less stressed when I brought up a touchy subject.
My aunt and uncle told me the secret to their successful marriage was the respect they showed each other. As an older adult, she decided to go to college. She told him he had to keep up with her on the learning curve so they didn’t grow apart. He agreed to, so they talked about the new concepts she encountered. She actually ended up becoming a college professor for less than ten years if memory serves me, and it didn’t seem to hinder their relationship.
One time we stopped for ice cream at a roadside stand and she told him to choose the flavor for her. He tried to get her to pick the kind she liked the best. When he came out carrying a cone without her favorite ice cream, she pouted and frankly I don’t think he even noticed. She got over it soon enough, but I thought, my mom wouldn’t have tried to get my dad to figure out her choice.
We’re all unique and interact differently. She was an only child and they never had children, so she liked to be pampered once in a while. She didn’t demand a lot, but I suppose like all of us, once in a while she was selfish.
She kept a tidy home, worked outside the home and sewed clothes and doll clothes for us – her nieces. She was like a second mom to us, my brothers and sisters.
May God bless you. If you’re married, it’s worth it to work at your relationship for your sake and the sake of the many people that know you and care about you. I’ve heard it said that divorce is worse than losing your spouse due to death.
When I consider things from my husband’s point of view and we communicate clearly and kindly, things go better at our house. He’s good to me, too. He tries to understand where I’m coming from. We’re all works in progress is what I figure.
Do you have some ideas for solidifying a marriage that I didn’t mention that are appropriate for any audience? I’d love to hear from you.