A moment for tending
TEND–care for or look after; give one’s attention to
My daughter decided a couple of years ago to learn bartending skills. She spent a good deal of time in our liquor cabinet reading and mixing recipes. While discovering her talent as a mixologist, she came across ” The Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch.” The book was a gift to my husband our first Christmas together, with of course a nice bottle of single malt scotch. Inside she found the inscription, “Clay, May all our years together be as they are now. Alana”. Touched by the words I had written, she shared her discovery with me. A book that had long since been forgotten warmed my daughter’s heart as she encountered a moment from the past.
Last weekend my husband and I celebrated 22 years of marriage. There have been awesome moments, terrible moments and everything in between. When I am asked about marriage and what makes it last there is no simple answer. However, there are a few things I have learned along the way, from personal experience and the insights of others.
Have faith. When moments were painful, my faith had a great deal to do with how I handled things. Maybe not in the heat of the moment but in the moments after I would recall my belief that we were called together for a reason. All that scripture taught me about love needed to be lived out in my home first.
Take joy in the little things. Love isn’t always shown in grand gestures, often it is the simple things that happen every day. Stop and take notice. When my shoes make it back into my closet from wherever I threw them off, I used to get frustrated that I couldn’t find them. Now those little things remind me of how our lives are woven together.
Tending to each other and to the relationship matters. When a couple is committed to attending to each other, it is not always simultaneously happening, and it may often seem like one, is giving in to the other. I have found that it is important to recognize who has the most sensitivity to the situation and attend to that. This creates an element of safety and allows for honesty. The most important truths, in my discovery, are “I need…” and “It hurts when…”. The environment that allows these truths to be spoken and attended to will be vulnerable and scary but also safe and binding.
Forgive. We will have moments of selfishness and frustration. That makes forgiveness a crucial key to marriages that last. Ask and offer forgiveness often. Giving and accepting forgiveness will have a much more significant impact on marriage than any other negotiations.
When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.―
And when all else fails, laugh! One of the best ways of coping with the difficulties of negotiating in a marriage is understanding the humor in it all. Sometimes we are fighting for the most trivial of reasons or in the silliest ways. Recognize those moments and laugh. Laughing together is a beautiful thing.
Some time ago I attended a church service where anyone celebrating a birthday or anniversary was invited to the altar for prayer. A couple who had been married 60 years stood at the altar, and after the prayer, the priest asked them to share something about their years together. The husband with a happy smile said something like, “Everyday has been wonderful!” The wife with a surprised look and a chuckle replied, “Well not every day.” Then they chuckled together. This moment made quite an impression on me. 60 years and they were still not on the same page and yet, they were. I think both statements were equally honest and sincere.
Our lives are made up of moments and our moments all together make up our lives. My hope expressed in the statement, “May all our years together be as they are now.” is being realized. Those early years filled with challenges were rich in laughter and love, And the years gone by have been richer still.
and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”Mark 10:7-9 (NRSV)