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?