Marriage – Making it Work For Both of Us

Marriage is a big step for every couple.  It is something that everyone should take more seriously than it currently is.  My husband and I have been married since 1991.  The funny thing is we met in 1989, dated for about a month and then got engaged.  Click here if you want to hear more about our dating!  It was my urging to hold off on the wedding until 1991.  You see, I wasn’t old enough to enjoy the adult beverages.  That and I hadn’t graduated from college and really wanted my maiden name on my certificate.

Building a Steady Marriage

When you are in your dating years, you sometimes daydream ahead wondering if this is “the one”.  You need to understand “Why” you want to get married.  My husband and I may have gotten engaged quickly, but having the long engagement, allowed us to learn about each other.  We also learned tolerance with each other.  How big of a deal is it really to have socks on the floor?  Is the world going to end if dishes from dinner are still in the sink the next morning?  These are just a few of the questions both sides need to think about.  You need to stop and think that is something really a deal breaker if it isn’t done the way you want it done.

Learn By Example

When we say learn by example, really start at the relationships in your family.  If your parents are not a good example, go back another generation.  No family is completely dysfunctional.  There are examples of things that work and things that don’t.  I can remember my mom getting frustrated with my dad, but in literally the next breath be over it.  She never dwelt on any of the small issues.  They also put each other first.  My brother and I growing up knew to disappear for the first hour or so when they got home from work.  It was their time to fill each other up.  They talked about their day at work or home.

My husband has recalled that on Sunday mornings, his parents would “sleep in”.  With a family of 6 kids, you knew they were spending time with each other.  Again, putting their relationship first before the kids.

#1 Factor to Success

With both sets of our parents, a big factor in the success of their marriages is God.  I am not going to go all out religious here. But if you truly look at all marriages today, what is one single factor that is the ultimate glue?  They had God in their life.  We are not going to cover specific faiths here, but having Faith in your life will get you through some of the hurdles you WILL experience in your marriage.  It isn’t a matter of IF, it is WHEN.

In our home, we pretty much only went to 11:30 am mass.  My brother and I could not sit next to each other so as to behave as long as possible.  I can laugh about it now, but I know that my parents just wanted to build us a firm foundation, a cornerstone.  We attended 1 church, it is the church David & I got married at in 1991.  Gosh we were so young!  We had major odds stacked against us, but because we have that foundation to start us, we have the advantage too.

Tests of Faith & Relationship of My Parents

The First Test

My parents’ faith experienced major testing almost right away.  You see, in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, Catholics and Lutherans did not mingle in marriage.  However, my Dad’s family is Catholic, Mom’s family is Lutheran.  He was 23, she was 19 when they married and she took the required class to become Catholic.  My Mom’s Father was not permitted by my Grandmother to walk my Mom down the aisle.  They did attend the wedding and the pictures show my Grandfather filled with love for my Mom.  To know that your parents only object to your marriage because of religion can be hard to overcome.  But both were raised in the Church, they both had their cornerstones.

The Second Test

Another test on my Parents’ marriage was when Mom became sick.  In 2000 the diagnosis of ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease for my Mom hit everyone hard.  This also was a test for David and I as well.  He was there for me every step of the way.  My Dad didn’t just stand next to Mom for all her tests (some were extremely painful) and appointments.  When it became clear she was going to need 24 hour care, Dad retired.  No one else was going to do the caregiving.  It was his new job.

Yet Another Test

When Mom had to have a trach, Dad was by her side.  Only he didn’t just hold her hand, he learned from the nurses the specialized care required for tracheotomies.  When we were looking to have Mom transitioned home, the cost was going to be humongous.  Social Services suggested a divorce so Dad wouldn’t go into poverty.  Their relationship was so strong that with 40+ years of marriage, divorce in name only was out of the question.

Final Test of My Parents

The final test of my parent’s marriage came when Mom passed.  As we gathered around her waiting for her heart to stop, what was suppose to be just a few minutes turned into hours. Dad was the first one in the room to start telling stories about the goofy things Mom said or did over the years.  Her passing peacefully.  And after she was gone, the wedding ring stayed with her.  Dad would have it no other way.  In the coming days, weeks, months and years Dad never removed his ring either.  After 6.5 long and lonely years, Dad joined Mom for Christmas in 2010.  The wedding ring stayed with him.

Conclusion

My parents didn’t have a lot of money, but they had each other.  And they had their faith.  They put out the cornerstone for my brother and I to follow.  Today, David and I are strong in our faith.  We attend church, a different religion than as children, but one where God is in the forefront.  We have had our trials along the way, but they have created stronger bonds to our marriage.  As newlyweds, we know there many doubters.  When we hit 10 years, many of our friends were divorcing.  At 15 years, we had friends tell us they didn’t think we would stay together.

We remember our “Why” for falling in love.  And we do not go to bed mad at each other.  We do not raise our hands to each other – voices yes, but never hands.  Work together to stay together.  It isn’t easy, but it is right.  We believe in our faith to guide us through every day.  We honor our commitment to each other.  He still gets the doors for me too.  I am the lucky one.

For Those Looking For Further Guidance

By no means are we experts in marriage, but we have experience.  I would first say if you feel you need help with your marriage, seek out your church.  They will be a third neutral party.  if you don’t have a church, find one that both of you will attend together.  Just make the commitment to go.  Take action.  It may seem insignificant, but it isn’t.

The second step I would like to recommend is go on a date…in your backyard.  Send the kids to Grandma’s or Auntie’s house for a night.  Open a bottle of premium wine (I can help you with that too), light candles – make a pizza.  Keep it simple!  Your relationship is what needs the attention, not the food.  Now talk.  To each other.  If you don’t know what to say, reminisce back to your first date or when you met.  Remember your “Why”.


Need some easy recipes to keep your dates inexpensive and easy?  Check out these recipes!

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