The front page on the USA Weekend magazine that comes in our Sunday paper read “The Seven Secrets of Lasting Love.” Having been married almost thirty-eight years, I like to read up and make sure we are doing things right. A few of the seven I can say I completely agree with, numbers one, three, and four, most definitely. They were: Have realistic expectations, consider yourself a team, and accentuate the positive. At first I thought number five, remember to do little things for each other, wasn’t important, but then I stopped and thought about all the little things Mark does for me to make my life easier, like surprising me with a water hydrant in my chicken yard so I don’t have to haul water to them. I realized how much all the things he does for me touch my heart and I moved number five up to the most definitely category. Number seven I was so-so on, it said to spend time apart. Mark and I have grown so dependent on each other it’s hard for us to be apart for more than a few hours, but some couples need to have some alone time and there is nothing wrong with that.
Number two, although potentially could be good advice, also has the potential to be abused. It said, “sweat the small stuff. If it drives you crazy that your husband puts the dishes in the sink every night rather than load them in the dishwasher, tell him it bothers you.” Yes, I think it’s important to tell the other one if something bothers you, but if they don’t agree or they continually forget, then it is time to let it go and realize this is not the end of the world. Now is the time to break out number one (Have realistic expectations) and number four (Accentuate the positive). I have always loved the way Elizabeth Elliott puts it: Give up your right to be right! It took me more years than I like to admit, but learning those seven little words and putting them into practice has done more than anything to bring continual peace to our home.
That brings us to number six. It said, “Have friendships with both sexes.”
I don’t have a problem with that. I consider many men friends and enjoy visiting with them, including those who come to our shop. But read the last two sentences of the paragraph, “Friendships with the opposite sex aren’t necessarily a sign your marriage is in trouble. Platonic friendships are a sexy pick-me-up without the complications of adultery.” WOW! I need to tell Mark to get a different cliental! Nothing against our truck-driving customers, but not once have I ever left the shop thinking “Gosh, that was a sexy little pick-me-up and it wasn’t nearly as complicated as adultery!” That person’s idea and my idea about what a platonic friendship is comes from two different planets. Mark summed it up perfectly when I read it to him, If you play with fire, you’re going to get burned. God save us from the marriage advice we find in newspapers and women’s magazines. Oh wait, He already did! It’s the bible and I believe I’ll stick with His advice, thank you very much!