How To Stay Married for 41 Years

 

Giorni_Wedding_photoMy husband and I were celebrating our 41st wedding anniversary the other day. We were having a meal in a restaurant, and unusually, it was just us and our grown son and daughter. It seemed kind of odd; none of the many other assorted relatives and in-laws were present for once. It was just the four of us together, as it had been when the kids were growing up. After we ordered, our son asked, “So, what did you do to stay married for 41 years?”

 

We were caught flat-footed and unprepared. My husband, as always, had a snappy comeback, but I just shrugged. How to explain? But I thought it was a good question, one that deserved a good answer. After some rumination, I arrived at what seemed to me to be the answer–for me, anyway–and sent it off to the kids. Our daughter thought it was good enough to share with others, so I am sharing it here:

 

“The other day in the restaurant, Sean asked how we managed to stay married for 41 years. Of course we were unprepared, and your Dad’s response of “Don’t get divorced” is certainly one approach. But I thought it was a good question, and one that deserved an answer, so I have been thinking about it.

 

“I think the answer is: Get over yourself.

 

“I probably don’t have to elaborate, but I will, a little. Marriage requires consciously working at it all of the time–and never more than when there are difficulties. We all go into a romantic relationship with a lot of expectations and fantasies. In the beginning, we think all our expectations and fantasies have been realized. (Nature’s sneaky little way of assuring the DNA gets passed on, I suspect.)

 

“Eventually, after the fairy dust wears off, we start to realize that the beloved is not, in fact, perfection. In fact, he or she definitely has some flaws that need looking after. And maybe he or she isn’t Prince Charming or Princess Aurora after all.

 

“It takes some effort to also accept that you yourself are no prince or princess either.

 

“So then it becomes a question of can you accept your spouse, flaws and all? Because you cannot change another person. You can only change yourself. Either you are willing to accept that other person with their flaws and disappointments, or you are not–it’s your decision. As far as your own weaknesses and imperfections are concerned, you also have to decide if you should and will change them to accommodate the other, or not. Obviously (I hope), it’s a process of mutual accommodation, which involves both spouses abandoning those expectations and fantasies that aren’t helping.

 

“It’s also important to abandon resentment against the other for not being the person you hoped and wished they were and appreciating who they really are. Resentment will poison a relationship to the point where it can never recover, and after all–is it his/her fault that you made them up?

 

“I don’t mean that you have to abandon your dreams, just your fantasies about what marriage with this person was going to be like. As they say, it is what it is.

 

“And pick your battles. Some things are just not worth fighting about. It’s just not all about you.

 

“As Anne Landers used to say, when troubles arise in a marriage, you have to ask yourself if you are better off with your spouse, or without him/her? It’s a simple, but very important question that can sidestep a lot of kerfuffles and soul-searching.

 

“And I guess my final word is: it’s important to remember that everything changes. For example, when a couple has a new baby, it’s gonna be very tough. Stress, sleep deprivation, not enough sex (for the guy), and (for the woman) too many demands on her (including sex)–all are a perfect recipe for a failed marriage. But it changes. Newborns grow and start sleeping through the night, and eventually you wean the baby, and get enough sleep to start feeling like yourself again. So it’s important to hang in and keep working at it until things get better–or at least long enough to see whether things will get better or not.

 

“I hope I didn’t come off as some old crone pontificating about life. I think both of you are doing great and do work hard at your relationships. But you asked.

 

All my love,

 

Mom”

 

 

 

 

Giorni_Wedding_photo

So You Think You’re a Reader?

by Lin Kristensen

by Lin Kristensen

The BBC believes most people will have read only six of the 100 books listed below. How do your reading habits stack up?

Instructions: Copy the note below and paste it into Word (or whatever). Look at the list and put an ‘x’ next to those you have read. Post on FB or your blog and brag about it. The x’s in the list below are for the ones I have read.

[x ] Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
[x ] The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
[x ] Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
[x] Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
[x ] To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
[x] The Bible
[x] Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
[x ] Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
[x] His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
[x ]Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
[x ] Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
[x ] Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
[x ] Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
[x ] Complete Works of Shakespeare
[x ] Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
[x ] The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
[ ] Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
[x ] Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
[x] The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
[ ] Middlemarch – George Eliot
[x ] Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
[x ] The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
[x] Bleak House – Charles Dickens
[x] War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
[x] The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
[x] Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
[x] Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
[x] Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
[x] The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
[x] Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
[x] David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
[x] Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
[x] Emma – Jane Austen
[x] Persuasion – Jane Austen
[x] The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
[x] The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
[x] Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
[x] Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
[x ] Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
[x ] Animal Farm – George Orwell
[x] The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
[x] One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
[x] A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
[x] The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
[x] Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
[x] Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
[x] The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
[x] Lord of the Flies – William Golding
[ ] Atonement – Ian McEwan
[x ] Life of Pi – Yann Martel
[x ]Dune – Frank Herbert
[x] Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
[x] Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
[x] A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
[ ] The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
[x] A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
[x ] Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
[x] The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night – Mark Haddon
[x] Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
[x] Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
[x] Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
[ ] The Secret History – Donna Tartt
[Couldn’t finish] The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
[x] Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
[x] On The Road – Jack Kerouac
[ ] Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
[x] Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
[ ] Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
[x] Moby Dick – Herman Melville
[x] Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
[x] Dracula – Bram Stoker
[x] The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
[ ]Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
[ ] Ulysses – James Joyce
[ ] The Inferno – Dante
[ ] Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
[ ] Germinal – Emile Zola
[x] Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
[ ] Possession – AS Byatt
[x] A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
[reading now] Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
[x] The Color Purple – Alice Walker
[ ] The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
[x] Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
[ ] A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
[x] Charlotte’s Web – EB White
[x] The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
[x] Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
[ ] The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
[x] Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
[x] The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
[ ] The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
[x] Watership Down – Richard Adams
[x] A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
[x] A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
[x] The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
[x] Hamlet – William Shakespeare
[x ] Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
[x] Les Miserables – Victor Hugo