Wednesday, August 14, 2013

42 Years, 42 Thoughts

I am sitting here looking at a map of the world. Here I sit in Atlanta. And far away, on the other side of the earth my son and his new bride are seeing things I have never seen, experiencing places I will probably never go.  And I am happy for them and share in their joy as they send pictures and first impressions of the sights and sounds of a fabulous honeymoon.

I remember my honeymoon. It was 42 years ago today.  And while we did not travel around the world, the looming chairlift to view the Smoky Mountains was fairly spectacular for this Kentucky girl and her man. Each year, we have made the effort to celebrate these quickly-gone-by years.  Maybe a trip or maybe not. Maybe dinner at a favorite restaurant or maybe not. The important thing is that we remember – and we celebrate. Tonight, we will cook together. Steak Au Poivre on the back porch. Monogrammed linen napkins. Candles and Van Morrison. Perfect.

I was talking to a friend the other day about the mystery of marriage. We agreed that sometimes even in a fairly good marriage we can go days, weeks, sometimes longer wondering who really is this person we married and can we go the distance? There are definitely “seasons.”She asked me how we had made our marriage work for all these years. I have been trying to think of answers that would encourage and motivate my own children to help them grow in their own marriages. Some are not very profound, some are silly, and some serious, but together they seem to be a good recipe for a marriage that goes the diastance.

1 – Forgive one another.  Little annoyances can build up to big trouble. Clear the clutter of small stuff.

2 – Find the good

3 – Greet each other with eye contact – hugs and kisses are a bonus as the years go byJ

4 – That means, put down the paper or iphone to acknowledge one another

5 – Help each other  - marriage is a team.

6 – Support the interests of each other

7 – Say “Thank You” and mean it. A smile is a bonus.

8 – Surprise each other

9 – Share concerns with each other

10 – Do things together

11 – remember all days are not glamorous and fun

12 – you will have some really bad days

13  - respect each other’s need for space

14 – work together on long range goals

15 – keep yourself physically healthy

16 – pray together

17 – read a devotional together

18 – worship together

19 – plan a budget and stick to it

20 – answer the phone when he/she calls

21 – be an encourager

22 – give each other space for friends and hobbies – but not too much!

23 – recognize the fact that you will not always see ‘eye-to-eye’

24 – keep a bucket list and annually review and revise – and revise again

25 – change will happen; change is good, but then you must change with change

26 – love your in-laws – expand your ability to embrace others with grace

27 – work hard with a daily schedule

28 – live on less; save more

29 – read good books, but don’t insist you read all the same books

30 – laugh at yourselves together

31 – serve the homeless; go on a mission trip; think of others you might help

32 – remember birthdays and anniversaries – late does not count!

33 – be hospitable and open your home to others

34 – learn new skills; take a foreign language or cooking class

35 – sing together; sing with your friends

36 – be a tourist in your own town – see the sights together

37 – recognize that some days are harder than others; move through

38 – go to farmer’s market and find something new to fix for dinner

39 – forgive each other for not being perfect – think I said that one first and repeating again

40 – extend grace abundantly

41 – be grateful every day

42 – celebrate each day as a day to improve

This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it! (Psalms)