Welcome Elizabeth Sinclair, who brings us a true picture of happily ever after…
This month something happened to my husband and me that I had never given much thought to ever taking place…we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. Actually, it came upon me quite unexpectedly. I knew our anniversary date was approaching, June 10th, but when I’d reached the age of 39 I’d stopped keeping track of anything in years. So I had to do some mental math. Not one of my stronger points. When 1962 subtracted from 2012 gave me 50 as an answer, I had to break out the calculator to verify it.
Let me make it very clear that 50 came as a shock not because we had a terrible marriage, but (and this is going to sound sappy even though it’s true) because we had a really good marriage. You know that old adage about time goes by fast when you’re having fun? Well, that was true of us.
Now, unless you get the idea that all was rainbows and sunshine, I can tell you that we had some really rough spots over those 50 years. However, unlike a lot of modern day couples, instead of throwing in the towel and heading for the nearest divorce lawyer, we stuck it out, worked on the problems and emerged stronger and happier for our efforts. We learned that, like anything in life, you have to work at it. Happiness doesn’t come as a guaranteed given with the marriage license.
How many people can say they don’t recall the last time they argued with their mate? I can truthfully tell you that I do not remember when our last argument happened. And trust me, for a marriage that started out even in the courtship stage with numerous arguments, that’s going some.
So, what’s the formula for attaining the 50 year mark? In short, there isn’t one. I don’t claim to be a marriage counselor, but I do know what I’ve learned over the last 50 years of living through a marriage littered with rocky roads and smooth sailing. Each marriage is different because each person is different and the circumstances surrounding each marriage are different. But I also know that there are some very basic ingredients that can be added to the mix to help ensure a marriage’s happiness and longevity.
1- LOVE – Love is the foundation that everything else is built on. Without it, the chances of a marriage surviving are very slim. A love that’s strong and sure can weather many ups and downs and come out healthy and happy.
2- RESPECT – This is one ingredient that permeates all areas of a marriage – respect for opinions, likes, dislikes, privacy, needs and the list goes on. Yes, you may not agree with your mate’s choices, but you must learn to respect their right to make those choices and find a way to live with them. But this works both ways. Your choices cannot be ones that strain your marriage.
3- COMMUNICATION – Learn to talk to each other. Holding things in can only make them fester and become a problem far beyond what they started out to be. Talk them out. The “silent treatment” solves nothing, nor does it alleviate the problem. Your mate can’t change what they don’t know about.
4- THE ABILITY TO HEAR – Along with communication comes the need to hear, not just listen, but to actually hear when your mate is saying “I’m unhappy because. . .” This sometimes requires a bit of reading between the lines.
5- LAUGHTER – It’s so true that laughter is the best medicine. But it’s also true that it’s one of best ways to keep your marriage fresh and alive. If you can laugh and love together, chances are that one day you’ll look up and realize you’ve been married for half a century just like we did.
Do you have any tips for a long, happy marriage? Share them here, and your name will be entered in a drawing for autographed copies of the first two books in my Hawks Mountain series, HAWKS MOUNTAIN and SUMMER ROSE. Both books, e-format and print, are available at www.Amazon.com and www.BarnesandNoble.com and in large print from Thorndike at http://thorndike.gale.com