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Advice From My 100-Year-Old Great Uncle

09 Aug

I had the pleasure of attending my Great Uncle Andrew’s 100th birthday party in Michigan over the weekend. (If we are Facebook friends you can plainly see that he is the cutest 100-year-old man on earth.) Besides seeing family I hadn’t seen in ages and carting off some great family pictures in the original frames, I was also able to sit down with ol’ Uncle Andrew and get his thoughts on a few things. I even captured some of it on film, which will be incorporated into the grand multimedia family tree I’m cooking up.

Anywho, one thing we talked about (not on film unfortunately) was marriage. Uncle Andrew was married for 75 years. His wife passed away just a few years ago. They had 10 children together. Below are his words about how he made his marriage work (paraphrasing).

When my wife and I disagreed on something, I would just suggest that we put that on the back burner and get back to more important things that we could agree on. I never felt like I had to knock her down or anything like that. I married a grown woman. She was already raised. I didn’t need to raise her. We had a family to look after.

Besides the fact that I can’t imagine Uncle Andrew “knocking down” a fly, I loved this quote from him. This is a man who worked a job until he was 97 years old. He believes in the work of taking care of his kids and in the work of taking care of his marriage.

That whole “work of marriage” thing is something I think some young girls/women are missing when they fantasize about their wedding day. Sure it’s great to get all dressed up and be the belle of the ball and have all eyes on you, but at the end of the day, the wedding is just a party. The marriage is the real thing that requires preparation and planning. Hopefully, all of that occurs well before the wedding day.

Thoughts on kids, debt, spending habits and career choices are just some of the not so fun things that are necessary to know about someone before pledging eternal commitment. “Happily ever after” looks different for every couple, but it always and I mean always, requires work. A lot of times it’s fun work like coming up with new date night ideas or scheduling quickies (spontaneity is great, but anticipation is pretty awesome too), but sometimes it’s just plain old work.

For those not quite married, do you think you’re ready for the work of marriage? For those who are married, what percentage of your marriage work would you say is fun?

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4 Comments

Posted by on August 9, 2010 in Love

 

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4 responses to “Advice From My 100-Year-Old Great Uncle

  1. Megan Redding

    August 9, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Marriage can be a lot of work. It’s hard not to become absorbed in it and/or detached from it at times. Add a child into the equation and it becomes that much more fulfilling and stressful. Marriage is the ultimate balance and the ultimate testament of selflessness. You commit to share the one life you have with another person. HUGE!!!!!!

     
  2. Phyl4Real

    August 9, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    The percentage of marriage that is fun can be 100% if you look back and laugh. A couple should also realize that when considering marriage, you don’t break all your worries, bills, workload in half–you DOUBLE them. So as long as you don’t have the “life will be easier” attitude or the “I will change her/him” attitude, it could work.

    Kudos to Unk!

     
  3. SincerelyGo

    August 10, 2010 at 12:02 am

    Wow, I loved talking to my grandmother about her marriage, who was a mail order bride from Cali. She said my grandfather was the only man she ever loved, despite their rocky beginnings. I love these sort of Love Stories. Thanks for sharing!

    Sincerely,

    Go

     
  4. The Jaded NYer

    August 10, 2010 at 12:12 am

    That was such sound advice! This was a great post and one that many men & women should read and take to heart. I didn’t take my marriage seriously because, well, I knowingly entered into it for the wrong reasons. But if this can help someone else step back and make better choices, then score 2,347 for Uncle Andrew 😉

     

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