This whole marriage "thing"
So the point of last week’s road trip was not only visiting with family, but also a fun engagement party, the subject of marriage has been the hot conversation topic.
Since becoming engaged, I’ve been talking to a lot of friends and family who have been married for a while to get their thoughts. Everyone has an idea on what it takes to “make it work”.
Obviously, I’m very conscious about being a good partner, friend and spouse, so I’ve been listening.
Here’s some of the thoughts I’ve gathered so far.
From Grandmother of The Good Man, her advice to me was to “have a room of your own in the house…because you’ll want your alone time”. I replied, “yes, that’s seems true…” She leaned forward and fixed her eyes steadily on me. “No, I’m serious. You are going to want your own space!”
Point well taken, ma’am.
From my Aunt in Arizona, her advice was to work to keep things from being boring. Can’t disagree with that one, seems easy to slip into. I have a couple friends who got married and slid right into the sweatpants and television mode. I suppose if it works for the couple, that’s ok. But I think my Aunt has good advice.
From my own mom, she told TGM about the rather expensive toaster her own mom gave her for her wedding present. My dad, the ever tinkering electrical engineer, kept that thing toasting for the better part of forty years. Mom said that even when the toaster died, she kept it polished up and on a shelf. She said, “I figured that if we had that toaster, we had a marriage.”
So maybe not the toaster itself, but a talisman, a symbol, a “something to hang on to” when the seas get rough is important.
I like it.
A friend at work who despite being about my age, has been married over twenty years (very YOUNG bride…wow!) says that for her, she laid down the law early on. For example, they have two beautiful children. She’s made it clear that if they part ways, the kids are hers, no dispute.
This was along the same lines as the advice from the dad of my best friend…
He also said that both sides should set down the rules early on.
It all seems a bit rigid to me, but maybe it’s not the “rules” so much as “these are the lines that cannot be crossed”.
Mom of my best friend, upon hearing this advice about the rules said, “yes, that’s true, I told him if he cheats on me I’m going to jail because I’m taking him out”
Wow. But hey, there’s no gray area there, now is there?
I do think it’s good to communicate “these are my non-starters” from the beginning. TGM and I have done some of that already…entering into this relationship later in life, we both had some previous experiences…so there were a couple “if you are going to xyz then I’m out” moments.
Other things heard are:
“Keep your own interests, don’t make your spouse the only thing in your life”…ok, good.
“Communicate, communicate, communicate”…also good and one already well used. In fact, I know I’m guilty of sometimes OVER communicating…but I do have to say, if TGM and I find a disagreement, it’s over pretty quick because we’re good at talking and being honest about what’s going on. (again, that “late in life” thing helps)
“Keep laughing.” Ah yes.
All good things to ponder.
Anyone else got thoughts? If you don’t want to put in comments, shoot me an email. I’m all ears.