Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma: How to Have a Long Marriage

Today is our 47th anniversary. People may ask how we have stayed together for so long. For every couple it’s different. Most important: STICK WITH IT.

I say that with a disclaimer: Abuse mental or physical. Infidelity. Other extreme things can happen, even those can be overcome sometimes, but be careful. Do not put yourself or your children in a dangerous situation.

Having said that, here are a few things on my mind:

You may have had “perfect” parents who always agreed on every detail of their lives. That isn’t real life, they just did a better job of talking behind closed doors than my husband and I did. It is best if children don’t see their parents argue; however, this can lead to a false sense that if you and your spouse disagree your marriage is broken.

Remember you are 2 different people with 2 different backgrounds. However strongly planted in your being, some things are neither right nor wrong, just different. Traditions (especially holidays like Christmas), for example. Discuss these before marriage. Take some of his, some of hers, and then create new ones of your own.

Live as far from both families you need to in order to prevent their interference. It might be next door, in the next state, or on the other side of the country. “For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife.” Mark 10:7 That goes for women too.

If you really need advice, go together, or go to your clergy, or a marriage counselor.

Do not have e-mail, social media, or any other electronic or telephone accounts your spouse doesn’t know about. Don’t snoop all the time into the other’s stuff either. If you run into an old flame say so. Generally speaking, if you don’t want your spouse to find out about it, don’t do it. I planned my husband’s surprise birthday party with our children from my individual account, so there are some good things to temporarily keep private. (I’m writing this Sunday evening, and I’m very curious where he’s taking me at 10:00 in the morning, but I can wait.)

I could say so very much more, but that’s a start. Maybe I’ll do this again next year with some other advice.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma--Mom

I’ve been thinking about this posting for a couple of weeks. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it, but the idea kept swirling through my mind. Sorry dear readers, I should have simply posted something else while I pondered.

Mothers, we all have one. Below are some thoughts on mine. We always hear talks and read articles about the wonderful things mothers do, and they are true, but mothers just like everyone else have flaws. Here are some ways I tried to emulate my mother, and some ways I did not.

She always said, “If you’re going to steal, you just as well steal $1,000 as a dime. One is just as wrong as the other. Stealing is stealing.” That’s very true.

Even though my dad deserted the family, and left a huge gambling debt, the only thing she said about him was, “He was a little boy that never grew up.” The facts spoke for themselves. No need to bash him to us children. I have tried to apply that principle to all people around me.

When angry, she sometimes she yelled for an hour or two bringing up everything she could remember I had done wrong in the recent past. When she was little she had to go out and get her own willow switch for her parents to use. She made progress. Sorry to say, I used to yell at my children. It was the only way I knew to be firm. It took watching the patience of a neighbor when her little boy refused to put on his shoes to see there was a different way. With my yelling I stuck to the offense at hand, and didn’t rail on and on for a lengthy time. Each generation did better than the one before. As I watch my children, they do much better in this area than I did. That’s what life is for.

As a newlywed, I was determined not to use the same laundry soap she said was the best. For years I tried this and that, most of them are no longer on the market. One day I ran out, and borrowed some from a friend. It happened to be Mom’s brand. To my dismay, I saw a slight difference in a particular nightgown in favor of Mom’s brand (it wasn’t as dingy) among other items. I didn’t like the fact that she was right, but I still use her brand. Sometimes maturity means accepting that sometimes Mother was right. Other times, we can find a better way, and it’s better to move on and do things differently.

Mom always taught me to appreciate beauty around me. We lived in the mountains, she was always sure to point out how beautiful the lights below were while driving up or down at night for one example. I try to look for beauty around me.

She was always ready with a helping hand. She taught me to sew. Not always with patience, but she persevered, and I appreciate having that skill.

She insisted I take typing in high school so I could fall back on secretarial skills if I had to when I was an adult. Who knew back then how important being able to use a keyboard would be in this day and age.

Sometimes she isn’t right or wrong, we simply have different ideas. An example of that is with bubble bath. We used to get boxes with little packets that were meant for one use. She always insisted we only use half; therefore we didn’t have as many bubbles. I would have preferred using the whole thing in one bath then use plain water the next time. Both ways saved the same amount of money in a different way.

I could go on and on about her weird ideas, like the day in 1960 that I was supposed to keep my eye out for the flying saucers that were coming that day. I was to get on, because she was going to, and we could meet up later. (No, I didn’t make that up!)

When I do something that isn’t perfect, I say to myself, “That isn’t a Mom job.” That’s okay. I don’t make Halloween costumes as well as I do a formal or wedding dress. Both are made for one day use. I’m not a full blown believer in the adage: If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. Sometimes things are worth doing as well as they are worth doing. Time is a fleeting thing.

This is just a small sampling, I could go on and on, but you don’t want to read a novel on my blog.

You may think this is odd timing for a piece on my mother, but her birthday was January 1.