Marriage

SEE ALSO: The Article called YOUR MARRIAGE

What is a marriage. Folks don’t seem to know any more. It use to be a legal bonding of a man and a woman. Now days, in some states, it is a bond between any two persons who want to be married.

I understand why some men want to be bonded to another man and why some women want to be bonded to another woman. So be it! Let the people decide in their governmental affairs.

One thing I refuse to do is to judge people living in such relationships, married or unmarried. That is that they are living in sin.

I know many live together just to share cost and to avoid being lonely. It is not a matter of sex with them. But they usually have love for each other. What did Dean Martin use to sing? Everybody loves somebody:

Love is an important part of marriage. Without love a marriage is stagnant. Couples are unresponsive. Life becomes a drag, maybe argumentative, certainly desolate. Service to each other and perhaps to children is obligatory, not charity, the true act of love.

Marriage between a man and a women, the only kind I’m intimately acquainted with since we were married in 1953 which will be 60 years in September of 2013 assuming we are still kicking. However, we know a man who has been in love to another man for many years and wants to be married if he didn’t slip in under the California rejection of such marriages.

But I’ll stick to my bias for marriage being a bond between a man and a women because that can generate children to form a family which I happen to think is the real purpose of marriage. And I know that same-sex couples are adopting children to make up their family.

But for this discussion, I’m talking about marriage in the historical sense.

The Beginning

Successful marriage begins with love. That love for some began in grade school as puppy love, grows into school sweethearts, and ends up at the alter swearing allegiance to one another, expressing that love, and the result is often a long happy marriage.

The more a couple has in common, the more likely they will find common ground for a sound marriage. But there are those who are new to each other but find common ground and they are also successful.

So having things in common and loving one another are two basic factors although some couple who have little in common are also successful. Now why is that? Because they love each other and they love the differences too.

Those Early Years

Marriage usually starts with wedding vows, a reception, and a honeymoon. This often is very costly and puts the newlyweds in debt if they are footing the bill instead of the bride’s family. I suggest that young couples have consideration for their parents and for themselves and not go in to debt for a big wedding. It is not a good way to start.

A church wedding and a reception at the church or even in a home, is more economical. Now my wife’s father paid for our wedding. He was a widower with four children and it may have been a burden on him. I should have discussed this with him to make sure we were doing what was right for him.

Marriage festivities may be exhausting to a young couple. That is not too great for couples trying to give their all on the honeymoon. But some sort of marriage ceremony is good for memories. And can’t you have a friend take the pics instead of using a high-priced photographer?

I must sound like a miser.

Children

Children coming early into a marriage is great for happiness and bonding, to make a stronger marriage. A stable marriage provides the platform for the nurturing of children in a secure environment. Children find their talents and wise parents will help them development them.

When Problems Come

When I went into the army in 1950, we soon received men who had been fighting in the early days of the Korean War (not Conflict or Police Action crap). Some had shrapnel scars and bullet scars, one fellow riddled all over his body. (I would learn more about that when I went to fight in Korea a few months later.)

One such solder, a corporal age 42, who had been trapped by a hoard of Chinese who attacked a platoon of Turkish troops, part of my unit later. The Turkish commander said, “Fix bayonets,” and charged the Chinese. My new friend jumped into his truck, realizing that he had not found refuge but a challenge.

He fled away.

Anyway, he came to me and said, “Sergeant, I’m having problems with my wife.”

Now I was only 18 years old but I was an expert because I had those stripes. All I knew about marriage was that which I had learned at home. That was that my parents worshiped each other, never ever argued, and did what needed to be done to nurture seven kids.

I listened to the corporal’s story. Then I said with great authority, “It is all your fault!”

I told him he had alienated his wife and that if he wanted to get back into her good graces he would have to pitch in on all the housework, buy her flowers, take her out to dinner and to start listening to what she was saying, to stop bossing her around and show her respect, the respect she deserved.”

Well, a couple of weeks later he came to me and said that he and his wife had never been happier. He had done exactly as I told him. They were then a loving couple.

Later, at a class on marriage at the University of Utah about the “51 percent rule.” Each person giving more than he received from marriage.

Problems can and do arrive in marriage. But they can be overcome. Perhaps a counselor is needed, but they can be resolved. But one or both must agree to make a change.

The Middle Years

In our day and age this can be a tough time. Why, because the cost of education is horrendous. It was tough enough when I was going to college. My wife couldn’t always work with a new child and my GI Bill money ran out. I was working all I could, but one time we were in big trouble. Then my parents showed up with a box full of groceries. Later I leaned that our parents were talking to each other and my dad learned our plight.

But now we are talking about huge financial problems when our kids are going off to college. Students loans just make things worse in the future. My youngest son is still hounded, having five kids, including triplets, and a big mortgage.

And then children start to get married with that financial burden added.

With the kids out of the house, loneliness can set in until the grand kids arrive. Couples may have more time for each other at this time.

Those middle years are tedious in some ways but it should be a time of joy, seeing the fruits of our marriage.

The Later Years

My wife and I are in our later years. I have had two major surgeries and my wife has a full-time caregiver. Cost are high as in the middle years, but we did have some fun, did some traveling. Now she is a child again.

She took care of me and the kids for all those years. Now it is my privilege is to take care of her every need.

They say “for better or for worse.” I say, “forever.”

John

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