A Weekly Column
By Joseph Walker
MARRIAGE II: THE SEQUEL
I've been writing these little weekly missives for more than 10 years now (I know-it seems longer; last month I wrote a column that felt like it took 10 years to read all by itself). In all that time-about 520 columns-there's one thing I've never done: a sequel.
At least, not until now.
But last week's column, in which I listed 13 things I've learned from 23 years of marriage, generated a lot of feedback from readers who know a lot more about marriage than I do. And since there isn't a more important relationship in any of our lives than the marriage relationship, I thought you might want to hear what some real experts on the subject have to say.
Like Donna, for example. Donna and her husband have been married for 54 years. So I'm willing to assume she knows something about the subject. "We have found that a good night hug and kiss with the words, 'I love you,' are probably the most important acts and words that can be said at the end of the day," she writes. "We also find it the best way to start a day.
"Another thing," Donna continues. "We never, ever go to bed angry at each other. What if one of you should pass away during the night and this is the last thing you have to remember? I don't think either of us could handle that."
I guess when you've been married for 54 years, you worry about that. Maybe the rest of us should start worrying about it-so we can know what it feels like to be married for 54 years.
Marie, who was married for 51 years before her husband passed away, also knows a thing or two about making marriage work. Her secret? "To not just love each other, but to be in love." A similar sentiment was expressed by Melissa, who spoke of how important it is to "take time to be a couple. When our sons were young we would take a picnic together, sans munchkins. Or maybe squeeze in an overnight trip. Those overnighters might have ended with us going to a roadside motel and eating at McDonalds, but they were special because we were together."
Mary wrote to say that in her 44-year marriage, "the most important catalyst that has held our marriage together through thick and thin has been commitment." Beverly, a 31-year marriage veteran, thinks it's important to "be best friends and to have fun together," and she stresses the importance of a good sense of humor. And Matt, who has been married for 30 years, referred to the squeeze-the-toothpaste dilemma and said there is a better answer than compromise: "Get another tube of toothpaste! Compromise is a good thing, but if you don't have to-if you can both have your way-why not?"
Some other good tips:
And several readers wrote in support of the sentiment expressed by Anne-Marie: "Let God be in the center of your marriage."
What a great tip-worthy of our consideration. And certainly worthy of a sequel.
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--- © Joseph Walker
Look for Joe's book,"How Can You Mend a Broken Spleen? Home Remedies for an Ailing World." It is available on-line through www.Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.