My parents, Grace and David, just celebrated wedding anniversary number 63. On the occasion of their 60th (in 2012), they received a congratulatory letter from the Queen of England signed by her own hand. No marriage advice, just congratulations!
This year, my parents didn’t hear from HRH Elizabeth II; but, to be fair, they hadn’t sent her and Philip a card either. I sat down with Grace and David and asked if they had a few secrets they’d like to pass on. They smiled, held hands, and insisted they were nothing special. “We simply kept our promises,” my mother said. “I’d say that’s it in a nutshell.” “I understand your point,” I replied. “But you and Dad have come out on the sunny side of some terrible statistics, and you’ve done it with a lot of style. Could you at least share some encouragement for the guys at All Pro Dad and the women at iMOM?” “If you think it would help, dear,” my mother said.
Here’s some words of advice on marriage from a lifelong couple:
- “Marriage is more about being faithful than being happy.” [Tweet This] Happiness is a byproduct of faithful, committed, caring love. Take care of the faithfulness, and happiness will find you.
- “Commitment trumps feelings.” – My folks say feelings can run the gamut. But you can’t make reasonable decisions based on a temporary feeling. Commitment is always the touchstone.
- “The children never come first.” – “Nothing personal, dear,” my mum said. “But the best thing your father and I ever did for you and your brother was to put our relationship first. Children need parents who are there for each other and who parent from a position of strength.”
- “Always put your spouse ahead of yourself.” – It’s too easy to be selfish. Putting the other first – as a rule – strengthens trust and compassion in a marriage.
- “Sometimes you just have to hold hands and cry.” – Life happens. It’s not always possible to avoid disappointment, misunderstanding, and tragedy. Make sure the hand you hold and the shoulder you cry on is that of your spouse.
- “Kindness is paramount.” – Kindness will make up for just about every other flaw in a marriage. Kindness is the salve – the oil – that keeps all the other elements running smoothly.
- “Forgiveness is a gift, not a quid pro quo.” – “There is no tit-for-tat,” my mother said. Forgiveness, like kindness, must be a unilateral move, irrespective of the likelihood of response. When it is, the likelihood of reciprocity is very high.
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with a lifelong married couple and ask them to share their secrets to a good marriage.