Relationship Advise  from the Senior Citizens in Springfield, Missouri

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For a whole year I asked just about every elderly person I could, what the secret to marriage was. Most of the people I asked were in an elevator. It’s a great spot to get people to answer your questions, and it passes the time. Other secrets were from family members who had been married over 20 years. Some of the answers were funny and some were very helpful. I love hearing other people’s perspective on life and marriage. Here are some of my favorite conversations and comments about the secret to marriage.

One man said, “I can run zig-zags and she is a bad shot.” Then he laughed and fist bumped me and told me he was just kidding. He said, “She is my best friend, the secret to marriage is to marry your best friend and have fun every day.”  He then asked me about my fiancé and wished us luck in our soon to be marriage. The next thing he did made me so happy. He picked up his phone and called his wife. He told her all about me and that I was getting married. He told her everything he said about marriage, and she agreed. He handed the phone to me and she wished me luck. It was a very cool experience. I left the elevator thinking I would never see him again. I ended up seeing him and his wife in a restaurant 2 months after and he recognized me. He met Britton and I met his wife. He shook Britton’s hand and said, “You have a good girl right here, good luck in life guys.”

A man who had been married a few times told me to never stop dating, and never lose that spark. He said I mean never settle down truly. The man should never stop treating the woman like it’s their first date. And the woman should never stop getting excited to see her man. It’s all about the twinkle in your eye.

A 90 year old woman that I met while waiting for her car had lost her husband a few years back. She  said to hold each other. It was a simple response but so meaningful. Sometimes we simply forget to hold each other. She got really quiet and about 2 minutes later she told me to make sure and follow through with my decisions. I’m not sure what she meant. She then told me about how she did not marry till she was in her late twenties. She wanted to make a name for herself before she got a husband. I think by her comment of following through she meant follow through with what you want in life. Make a goal and reach it, not only in marriage but in all of life itself. We walked to the door together talking and then she gave me a hug and got in the car.

Some secrets to marriage were repeated often. Learn to say you are sorry, pick your battles, you are not always right, and have a lot of good sex. The number one thing was communication. Communication is key in a marriage and any relationship. “Your man can not read your mind” is what they all say. Even though I was disappointed Britton will never be able to read my mind it was a very useful thing to hear. We are just engaged but I do find myself getting frustrated because he doesn’t already know what I’m thinking, which is very silly. Britton is very good about getting me to talk when I’m bottling everything up.

Trust is another big one I hear. To have communication, you have to trust the person you are talking to. Trust they have your best interest at heart. Trust that they will be there when you need them. Trust them till they give you a reason not to trust.

Don’t go to bed mad. Talk it out, even if it goes into the wee hours of the night. When your head hits that pillow your problems may not be resolved, but you better be okay with the person next to you. Don’t sleep on it, discuss it.

Do not condemn each other. This advice came from a woman who had been married over 50 years. She said bend like a tree in the wind.  Give some, and take some. You should make sure his needs are taken care of but he should equally be taking care of yours. Marriage is not a 50-50 thing. You should both give 100% all of the time.

One woman said pray, just pray. She said, “Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband, but if it wasn’t for God in our life I don’t know where we would be.” Then she laughed and said, “I’m just joking. “ She told me she was not going to lie; I will have hard times that I’ll think will be the end. But just pray. The Lord will lead me. She went on to say, when you spend every moment with a person, for your whole life it gets hard. Then you add kids to the mix and you will start to lose yourself, and a bit of that love you once had.  But then the kids leave and you just have each other again. That is when you pray for the Lord to help find that love again. It’s different for everyone she told me. She then wished me luck and asked if I was a Christian and I said yes. I left and she held the hand of her husband of 54 years and walked away.

A couple I hold dear to my heart told us to never make divorce and option. If you do not make it an option it won’t happen. When things get tough, work them out. Don’t resort to divorce. I totally agree with them. If you were once willing to spend your whole life with them then I think they are worth the effort and time to fight for.

My all-time favorite secret to marriage that I hear from nearly every couple is to keep the Lord in the center of your relationship. Think of it as a triangle, you are both on the sides and the Lord is at the top. The closer you get to God, the closer you get to each other.

I am still searching for more secrets to marriage but those are my favorite so far. I love knowing what keeps a couple going for over 50 years. I hope to be them one day and still have that sparkle in my eye every time I see Britton. I strive daily to be the woman that Britton needs. I can’t wait to put all this advice to use and see where life takes us. If you have any advice that I can add, share it with me!!

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