Thursday, August 13, 2009

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors (and other words of wisdom I wish someone would have shared with me when I first married my husband)

August is a busy month for our family. Lots of anniversaries. The 4Th would have been my Aunt Joyce and Uncle Norm's 47Th, the 7Th would have been my grandma and grandpa Henckel's 68Th, the 13Th (today) is my brother Chuck and sil Kellie's 15Th, also Aunt Patti and Uncle Kenny's 5Th. You would think that is enough to make everyone go broke, but there are more yet...the 14Th would have been Aunt Laura and Uncle Frank's 48Th, the 25Th would have been my sister Missy and bil Leroy's 20Th, the 28Th would have been our parents 44Th, and last but not least, the 31st will be (unfortunately-likely our last) my husband and I's 18Th anniversary.(that's an entirely different post unto itself ♥)

Some of these marriages have ended due to death of one of the parties involved, others due to divorce. Others are still going strong. When I look at the success stories, and I think about the things I have learned from my own experiences, and I think about our Pastor at church, John, and his fiance', Melissa, who are going to be wed on this Saturday and then I think about all the things I wish I had known or that someone had told me BEFORE the big day, I know that Me, being Me, I have to impart these little bits of wisdom from the school of "been there...done that"!

so here goes:

1. Good fences make good neighbors- This is a biggie. Huge. When you and your spouse get into a disagreement...(which you will) DO NOT...i repeat...DO NOT...go to your parents & family with the trouble. Now, I'm sure you're asking "what could be the harm in that?" Let me tell and Fifi have an argument over how to correctly fold the underwear or which way the toilet paper goes on the holder, you get angry, have a big blow up...words are go to your folks...she goes to hers. You both tell your "side" of the story (cuz thats what we do) then you go home and make up and forget about it. Meanwhile, your folks and her folks don't. Five years from now they're still holding on to the hurt and anguish that "you" caused their child. I know you might be thinking "you're kidding me, right?" NOPE! Been there, done that...for 18 long, long years....with many, many t-shirts, mugs, visors, etc...with some very petty, trivial issues as well as some far more serious. Either way, if you need someone to talk to (other than prayer) a wise and trustworthy friend is a much better choice.

2. Love is a verb not a feeling- Lets face it...for most of the worlds population, the honeymoon eventually period wears off and reality sets in. Especially for those who choose to take the biblical and purity route and not live together before the marriage. Most men are NOT prince charming and most women are NOT Cinderella. Unfortunately, society does not do any of us a favor by perpetuating this fantasy life that quickly becomes a non reality for most. We snore, pass gas, leave the cap off the toothpaste (or squeeze it in the middle). Some leave wet towels on the bathroom floor, some folks have to have copious amounts of caffeine before being semi approachable and heaven forbid...some of us even have *gasp* morning breath. We have to choose to love people in spite of things that might annoy us. If I am the personality type that can get up in the morning and be alert, alive, able to function and think, but my husband needs an hour and a shower to go through his routine before he is functional, then I have to honor that, give him the space he needs and not take it personally. Its not always about me.

3. Marriage is not a 50-50 proposition-it is a 100-100. We have to give 100 % all the time to our spouses. There are going to be times that you are going to have to compromise. The question you have to ask yourself in those times is..."Is this going to effect my morals, self esteem or the law?" If not, and its a matter of pride, or tradition, then you really have to consider it and consider whether the issue is worth alienating your spouse or potentially causing division in your marriage over. There are going to be times that one or the other is going to have to put in more effort to balance the scales...either due to illness, a job, a family commitment. Whatever the case may be, it should not be that its "always" one person putting in 200%, and I have found that it cycles. Very rarely have we both been 100% at the same time. At times its been him giving 136% and me 64% (like when I had Joseph via C-section...small stuff) or me giving 189% and him 11 % (post double bypass surgery...BIG stuff) again, either way you go, you balance the scales and pick up the slack to keep everyone working together for greater good of the family. If you remember the saying "I am second" in reference to your spouse as well as Christ, your relationship will go a lot farther.

4. Husbands-Do not tell you wives " this doesn't taste like my mom's does!"

5. Wives- Do not tell your husbands "your not my father!"

6. Finally...Matthew 19:5-6 "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." This makes me think about two things...the first being that the context of these verses are in relation to divorce and how God feels about that. You cannot go into a marriage with the big "D" being an option...a "safety" if you will. God is very specific about that. I understand about certain situations and grace, buh-leeeve me...i reeaaaally do. But as one feller I once heard say "you have to earn" that option. You have to fight with every thing that is within you for however long it takes, before that's an option. (Unless there are certain circumstances and those are between you and God)(and if safety of yourself or a child is an issue)

And now that I've offended most of the free world, I'm sure you're all very anxious to know what my second thought is on this passage...

well here it is...

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors and that boundaries within the family can make or break the best of marriages. Also, its imperative that we make our spouse feel like they are always our number one priority...especially in relation to our family and friends.

Sending "Congratulations" to Chuck and Kellie on 15 years together and "Best Wishes" to John and Melissa on their up coming wedding Saturday.

Peace ♥