Monday, August 13, 2012

What Marriage Teaches

Tonight Chris and I headed to Wentachee to have dinner with his parents for their 32nd wedding anniversary. As we sat around the table at our favorite restaurant I asked a simple, but profound question that had us talking for quite awhile on the subject of marriage and love and what it means to have a partner for life.

I asked: “What have you learned from your years of marriage?”

Mom started things off. She said that in 32 years she had learned that if she wanted to be happy, her husband needed to be happy. And that its important to remember, if you need to lean on your husband, you have to prop him up good too. I loved her reference to the give and take within a partnership.

Dad went next. And in typical Dad fashion (he’s a bit of a booger), he said that he had “learned the importance” of folding his socks. Not that he does. Which indicates the level of importance to him…he knows Mom will fold them for him after she picks them up from the arm rest of his chair. But Mom went on to defend him saying that he is sometimes a good listener and if she asks he will unload the dishwasher and take out the trash. Sounds like they’ve got a system.

And then it was my husband’s turn. We’ve been married only 5 years in comparison to his parent’s 32, but I think we have things of value that we’ve learned too. He took a deep breath, and paused, thinking on the question. His mom started to assume what he was going to say, but I stopped her… I explained that when Chris pauses like that it means he values the topic and wants to think before he answers. Its something I admire greatly about him. He then went on to say that the thing he has learned from our marriage was most importantly to be a good listener followed closely by choosing your words carefully, along with your battles.

We then talked a bit about the words we use with each other and the importance of communication. Mom and Dad quoted Thumper from the movie Bambi saying: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” But I interjected that sometimes, the hard things need to be said. Its better to have those conversations then to let the hurt fester and cause more problems.

And then it was my turn. The thing I have learned from my marriage is that the best thing is always the kind thing. The Bible says that love is kind, so I always try to show my love for Chris through kindness. And sometimes, kind isn’t what the other person wants to hear. Like when Chris says he wants to stop at Dairy Queen…it’s the kind thing to make a different suggestion. It is also the kind thing to give him space when he needs to clear his head and not take it personally. And to buy the type of toothpaste that I know he likes.


We had a lovely evening with them. I value the example they set as a loving husband and wife team. I look forward to celebrating 32 years of marriage with my Chris.

What have you learned from your marriage or relationship?
Is there a piece of advice someone gave you that just stuck with you?


  1. I agree with you wholeheartedly about communication being important. It's important to chose your words wisely and to listen and be patient when things are difficult to talk about, but not shy away from tackling those difficult things either.

    One of the reasons my relationship with the ex-husband failed was because we could never quite get the communication thing down. It was difficult for me to share my true feelings with him because you never knew what was going to set him off on a nasty tirade, and despite attempts to introduce some more gentle communication styles to our repertoire, they never stuck... and in the end, it just came out that we were both miserable with each other and wanted out.

    After that, I vowed never to get involved with someone who couldn't communicate effectively and with gentleness. My relationship with James is SO much better in this respect... it's not perfect, and we don't always agree on things... but we talk it out and work it out and come up with compromises to make things work for us.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing about what your relationships have taught you. And I so agree... gentle communication is so much better. We can accomplish much with a gentle and understanding attitude. Its something we all need to continue to work on. I'm glad that you have found a relationship now that gives you that.
      Glad you stopped by and shared your story.

  2. Really timely blog post for me, Shaina. I was just doing some research on marriage and found an article that I'm pretty sure was written just for me...Isn't it funny how that works?

    1. I love it when that happens. The scriptures themselves can have such different applications too depending on our situation. Glad you found some that touched your heart. :)