Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

Some Assembly Required

January 5, 2012

Recently we purchased a new table set: a coffee table and two end tables.  As we were going to place the order, the sales clerk looked at us and said “Some assembly is required.”  That was not a problem, I have assembled plenty of furniture purchases in the past.  It made me think, however, that there may be people who assume that the tables will arrive just like they are on the showroom floor.  The clerk did not want to have to deal with an unhappy, surprised customer.

I wonder how many people enter into marriage thinking that the hard part  of marriage is planning, and executing the wedding ceremony?

Marriage is an ongoing process that requires effort by both parties to make it successful.  When the ceremony is over, the real work of marriage begins.  “Some assembly required.” would be an understatement.  Rather something like “Regular, ongoing maintenance required.”  would be closer to the truth.

A longtime marriage is a wonderful thing, but it does not happen by accident.  Both parties should commit to working on their marriage to help it reach its’ full potential.

25th Anniversary

August 16, 2011

Our 25th anniversary is this month. Having come this far, I believe that I can comment on some of the keys to maintaining a healthy marriage.

Keep Christ in your marriage.  I cannot over-emphasize the importance of maintaining a relationship with Christ.  In our twenty-five years of marriage, I can only remember one Sunday when neither of us were in church.; and only a couple of Sundays that one of us missed due to illness.   I firmly believe that God provides extra wisdom, grace and strength as needed to face the challenges that come our way.

Commitment: There is no substitute for an unflinching resolve to make the marriage work.  This is one time that being stubborn is beneficial.  Divorce is not an option.  Marriage is “till death do we part”  and no fair killing each other!  Commitment also means ‘forsaking all others”.  Our commitment to our spouse is exclusive physically and emotionally.

Communication:  Keep talking to each other.  Talk about the facts of what is happening. Talk about what you hope, or fear, will happen.  Talk about what you feel.  Do not shut down communication, even if that communication is momentarily painful.  Talk it through.

Cash:  Early in our marriage we discussed the difference between  “need” and “want”.  It is important that you learn to live within your means.  Overextending on credit causes all kinds of stress on a marriage.  Learn to be content with what you have, even as you work towards what you want.

These four areas are not all there is to a successful marriage, but they are a good start.  I think that twenty-five years is a good start.  I am looking forward to the next twenty-five. I  think I am starting to get the hang of it.


Judges Fired!

November 4, 2010

On Tuesday, November 2nd, Iowa voters decided the fate of three of the seven judges who decided that Iowa should legalize gay marriage.

They were fired.

Hopefully this will send a message throughout the country that the people do not want a small handful of people making decisions of that type, and  magnitude, in that fashion.  The decision of seven people did not strike down a new law, but in effect, created a new law of the land.  The attempt by legislatures to put into writing what had been the common practice, understanding, and law, of the state for one hundred and fifty years should not have been declared unconstitutional.

I am surprised by the observed response of the media.  It has been kept pretty quiet.  You would think that something that has never happened before would be a bigger story.  It has been a strange response.  I am curious to see what will be the ramifications of this action of the people of Iowa.

From Me to We

October 11, 2010

When we are having problems in our relationships with other people, whether it is in a church, our workplace, our community, or even in our families, the problem is usually experienced as my dissatisfaction with your actions.  I am unhappy, because you are doing something wrong.  I think that we would be better served if we would shift our focus from our personal perspective to a shared goal.  Instead of asking “How can you make me happy?” or “How can I get my way?”  We should ask “How can we make our situation better?”  How can we make our church better?  Our workplace better? Our communities, and our families better?

In seeking solutions to common problems we need to shift our thinking from me to we, from thinking of our personal needs and goals to thinking of the needs of the group.  Problems that exist in a group setting are not my problems, they are our problems.  Solutions then should focus, not on me, but on we.

1st Date

January 28, 2010

Twenty four years ago today, Gloria and I had our first date.  Here’s my side of the story.

Gloria worked at the deli at NCBC.  I had returned to the college for the spring semester after serving four years in the Marine Corps.  I was home on terminal leave, which means that I had saved leave that I was using at the end of my enlistment.  This allowed me to be at North Central for the start of the spring semester even though technically I was still in the service.  The first couple of days, I wore my dress uniform to attend classes.  I wanted people to know that I was a Marine.

I would stop in at the deli for a coffee between classes.  Gloria was a beautiful young lady with light blue eyes, a wonderful smile, and happy, easy-going way about her.  I would watch her interact with the customers, between sips of my coffee and I was impressed, and attracted.

On the morning of the 28th, which was my official end of active service (EAS), I concocted a plan.  I would mention to Gloria, while I was buying my coffee that it was my last day in the Marine Corps.  I figured that a natural response would be to ask what I was doing to celebrate, and that then I could ask her out to celebrate my EAS.

It went exactly according to plan… except that I lost my nerve.  I told her that it was my last day, she asked me what I was doing to celebrate, I said that I wasn’t doing anything.

I drank my coffee and left.

I went upstairs where I gave myself, first a chewing out, and then a pep talk,  “What if she’s the one?”  “You coward, get down there and ask her out!” and so on…

I finally worked up the nerve and calmly went downstairs.  She was surprised to see me again, (I usually only bought coffee once a morning).  I said something like “I was thinking about it, and you’re right, I should do something to celebrate.  Since I really don’t know many people here yet, since I am newly back to school, perhaps you would go out with me?”

She was so surprised that I would ask her out, that she replied yes without thinking too much about it.  After all, it was her idea.  Her friends later reminded her that she had agreed to a date with a man she barely new, except that he was a student, and a sergeant in the Marines.  The student part, sure, but the Marine?  It gave her something to think about through the afternoon.

The date went well, and the rest is history.  We often laugh about our relationship starting with manipulation, but it’s worked out well.

Happily Ever After

January 19, 2010

“Happily Ever After” is the conclusion to a fairy tale or a romantic comedy.  People encounter serious problems if they feel that life is supposed to be like what they read in a book, or watch on television.

Real life has its share of up and downs.  There is a reason that traditional marriage vows included the phrasing “For better, for worse; for richer for poorer; in sickness and in health; for as long as we both shall live. (In premarital counseling, I like to add “and no fair killing each other”!)

It is not just in marriage, life itself has a cyclical nature.  Our lives run the gamut of experiences: of success and failure, of excitement and mundane, of blessings and trials, and so on.

Perhaps we watch too much television, or read too much fiction.  Real life is a wonderful thing, but it is not a fairy tale.

Rejoicing and Weeping in Iowa

April 4, 2009

Yesterday the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriages.  This is a reason to celebrate for some, a reason to weep to others.

For those who rejoice, they rejoice because the state is granting gays the right to a legal status that they did not enjoy previously.

For those who weep, they see this decision as a step for the state, further away from the particular religious morals that many still hold in their personal lives.

This is a land of religious freedom.  People are still free to believe that homosexual acts are sinful,  and to proclaim their belief.  It is a particular religious belief, and others are free to accept or reject that teaching.

People do not have to believe in God, or the Bible.  They can ignore or remove the parts that they do not like,  but I believe that we will all one day face the God of the Bible, and be held accountable for our actions.

Valentine’s Day

February 16, 2009

Well another Valentine’s Day has come and gone.  I wonder how many people enjoyed the day?  I sometimes wonder if we don’t create problems for ourselves by thinking that life should resemble a romance novel, or a romantic comedy.  I sometimes think that people evaluate their experiences by comparing them to what they watch on television or read in a book. 

Romance books are not real life.

Life is not a movie.

In order for a marriage to succeed we need to be committed.  We need to take seriously our wedding vows; “For better, for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, for as long as we both shall live.”

Some people seem to think that when the marriage, or relationship no longer resembles the ideal presented in fictional media, that it is time to bail.  Rather, that is when our integrity is tested.  Will we remain committed to each other?  Will we work through our problems?  Will we recognize that life is real, and people are not perfect?

I believe that a key component to a happy marriage is committment.  You need to work at improving your relationship.  You need to be committed to each other no matter what comes.  

If you want to enjoy the beauty and fragrance of the roses, you need to watch out for the thorns.

Make it Work

December 30, 2008

We have a new dog in our house.  Her name is Daisy, although she has been called many, many things in the months that she has been in our home.  It has not been easy.  We are the fifth home for Daisy (She is about one and a half  years old.) and she has been a bit of a problem child.  I have told people that she was being used by God to help me understand mercy and grace:)  I think, however, that we have finally found something that is going to work.  We have tried a whole variety of things, and now it seems to be paying off. 

We put quite a bit of effort into the dog because I didn’t think that she would be able to deal with going to the pound, then a new family and starting all over once again.  I felt that we could make it work. 

It made me think about how many people give up on marriage before they try everything that they can try.  Marriage is way more important than a dumb dog, and yet sometimes it seems that people are willing to throw in the towel and call for a divorce, thinking that a divorce will solve their problems.  Divorce leaves a permanet scar, and it is not so easy to start over.  Grace, mercy and commitment are needed in a marriage. 

Find a way.

Make it work.