Strangely, I've been asked multiple times this week how I have managed to stay married for so long. I say strangely, because it's not my anniversary, nor are we having any particular problems or aguments that have prompted people to wonder how we've done it. Regardless, I've been asked. So I've had to think about what we may or may not have done. And I keep coming back to one thought.
It's not just MY marriage; it's HIS, too.
I think too often that partners forget that, if they even thought about it in the first place. How many new brides get caught up in the wedding they want, never giving their grooms a say in matters? How many times have you heard someone say I'm unhappy in MY marriage? Well, if you're that unhappy, don't you think that maybe your partner is unhappy in THEIR marriage, too?
And that's what I try to remember every time I think I might be unhappy with something or other in MY marriage. After all, if MY marriage isn't all that is perfect, doesn't it stand to reason that my HUSBAND'S marriage ain't all that grand, either? So I tell myself that if I put the effort into making sure HIS marriage is happy for HIM, then MY marriage will fall into place. And you know what? That philosophy has seemed to work pretty well for 17 years.
Of all the many, many things I want my boys to know when they are turned loose into the world, how to navigate unselfishly through a relationship ranks up near the top. Not just a romantic relationship, although that is important; but with co-workers and friends, too. I want them to realize how important it is to always remember that in any relationship there are not only two people, but two sets of emotions and two schools of thought. I want them to not only know, but practice, the art of being unselfish and putting themselves in someone else's shoes. I want them to discover the sense of rightness that comes when you make someone else more important than yourself. And just as significant, I want them to recognize that in doing this, they are important, too.
If nothing else, that attitude will get them through doing the dishes and sitting through "chick flicks" when they get married.