The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Sandy Laumeyer
Just a Thought 

On Marriage

 


Last week my husband and I celebrated our 48th anniversary. I remember thinking years ago that anyone who had been married 50 years was amazing. Now I hear about couples who have been married not only 50 years but 60 or 70, even 80 years.

My husband’s parents were married 65 years and he has a brother who has been wed for 63 years.

When you commit yourself to a marriage, your intentions are, as said in the marriage vows, until death do you part. But for some, a marriage can end for other reasons.

However, my thoughts this past week centered around spending 48 years with one person. Before we were married, we both had sessions with a priest. However, because of the distance of where we lived, he in Montana and me in Iowa, we were only able to have two premarital meetings with a priest.

Several things we were told has remained with both of us all these years - you will always love each other but you may not like each other at times. Liking is a lot harder than loving. Another piece of advice was that the greatest insult you can give to one another is to ignore each other. That second statement has never come true for either of us.

We’ve found out over the years that liking each other was not really a problem. Not liking something the other did has happened once in a while. I think part of why we’ve had a good marriage is that neither of us were exactly youngsters when we married. I was 25 and my husband was 37. We both pretty well knew what we wanted out of life - marriage and children.

One day when we’d been married 20 some years, a woman and I were talking about marriage. The conversation turned towards a married couple fighting. I commented my husband and I had never had a fight. She replied we hadn’t done our four children any favors by them not seeing us fight. That struck me as really odd. I couldn’t figure out how a couple would help their children grow and learn by their parents having fights in front of them.

Yes - there were times when we disagreed strongly with the one another over a particular topic, but when we both knew we were mad, my husband would go outside and work and I’d tear into the house - cleaning out a closet, scrubbing and waxing the dining room, kitchen, bathroom, entryway, and bathroom floors, or some other project. Anything that required physical labor to help work out our anger.

Once we’d both cooled off we sat down and talked about why we had gotten mad and how to solve the problem. To us, that was the right way to handle our disagreement. At the end of the conversation the problem had been taken care of and apologies given and accepted.

Another reason I feel is a huge part of our marriage was and still is - our faith. It was important to both of us to attend church every week with our family. It was also important to us to be active participants in the life of our parish. We both served in several lay ministry fields such as being the lector at Mass, extraordinary ministers of the cup, and teaching Sunday school.

We’d been married a little over 30 years when our parish priest asked if we would consent to conduct marriage preparation classes and even do some occasional counseling. Both of us were taken aback by his request. When we asked why he had chosen us, his reply was “Couples who have been together 30 years or more have a very deep understanding of what it is to be married. Priests don’t. Oh, sure, a priest can offer counseling, but he doesn’t know what marriage is truly like. What it means to have children, to be a part of another’s life on every level.”

Although the past 48 years have presented us with some tough times - losing two houses to fire, fighting to survive weather troubles, financial and health problems to name a few - the good times have far outweighed them.

We both feel we did the best we could to raise our children with good work ethics, teaching them about sharing what they have, being active and responsible members of the community they live in, and that material possessions are not the most important goal in their lives. That marriage isn’t about what you get out of it but about what you put into it - about how to help each other reach their full potential and be the best person they can be.

There’s no room in marriage for disrespect, selfishness, greed and unkindness. But there’s unlimited room for thinking of the other first, learning to live together in peace and contentment, filling your lives with the best things - not the material things.

 

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