Sharing Life Together


A Ride to the Fair

My husband and I grew up in the country near a thriving town of approximately 1,200 people. It’s a small, midwestern village where everyone knows everyone. The average class size at our school was, and still is, seventy people per grade. Needless to say, I’ve always at least known who my husband was.

When I became aware of him, I was riding my bike around town with a girlfriend. He was washing his old car at his friend’s house. We stopped and chatted. I mentioned wanting to go to the county fair that week and that I wasn’t sure how I would get there. He said, “Well, if you help me wash my car, I’ll give you a ride on Friday evening.” My friend promptly said she’d see me later. She wanted no business with car-washing or riding a bike any longer, so she went home. I stayed and started scrubbing the hood.

Truth be known, I wanted a ride to the fair because I was interested in a different guy and wanted to meet up with him and some other friends.

Friday came, and off to the county fair we went. When we arrived, I went off looking for my friends thinking this guy was only giving me a ride to the fair; he thought we were there together. Awkward!

After looking for my friends and not finding them, we hooked back up and chummed around together for the rest of the evening. He took me home, and I thought that was that. I mean, who in their right mind would ask someone out again after literally being dumped at the county fair entrance gate?

But he did ask me to go on another date, and another, and before you knew it, we were a couple. He was seventeen years old, and I was fifteen.

This last October, we celebrated our thirty-seventh wedding anniversary!

Making the Best of It

We grew into adulthood together. Thirty-seven years is a very long time. We’ve been through a serious illness; a premature birth; chronic illness; infertility; having no money; an unplanned pregnancy, leading to the birth of our daughter; the death of a son-in-law, which left our daughter a widow at age twenty-one; my husband flatlining after a serious head injury; trusting completely in the Lord when our son went to hostile foreign countries; and the death of parents.

Life happens! The ups and downs are going to come at you like the hills and valleys of the world’s scariest roller coaster—and there’s no getting off until the very end of life itself.

Because there are so many ups and downs, twists and turns in this adventure of sharing life together in marriage, here are my suggestions for making the best it.

1. Surround yourself with the right people.

The only way we’ve gotten through life is by having faith and trusting solely in Jesus Christ and each other. I feel like our life would be impossible without God, our families, and our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Nothing can happen to us that we can’t handle because we choose to surround ourselves with loving and uplifting people.

2. Make sure your spouse is on board with you—and you with him.

Even though I suffer from anxiety and mild depression at times, I force myself to see humor, even in the most difficult of times. My husband is great at providing humor for me and showing me the half-full glass, rather than the half-empty one.  And I choose to see it as half full, even in the awfulness.

The same goes for how I support my husband. Sometimes, he doesn’t think about the tone of his voice (this has happened since his head injury). I have his permission to call him out on it in private—and in public. He can sound harsh when he doesn’t mean to be. He trusts me to help him to not be misunderstood.

3. Let the little things go.

Don’t like where your spouse puts their socks every night when they go to bed? How about the toothpaste all over the sink? He made something to eat after you went to bed?

Seriously, don’t stress about these little things. They used to bug me, too. Just push the socks under the dresser so you don’t see them. Put some paper towels in your bathroom; one quick swipe in the sink, and the toothpaste is gone. Be thankful you have food in the house and your spouse didn’t wake you up to fix him something.

I thought I was an incurable person with OCD, but I discovered I could change myself. That means you can change yourself, too. Don’t try to change your spouse because it just won’t work. Concentrate on changing yourself!

4. Know when to talk and when to keep quiet.

Being tactful is an art. If your spouse is concentrating on something—the car, a game on TV, playing with the kids—don’t bring up an issue that’s going to cause disagreement. If your spouse is doing the very thing you’re upset about, don’t bring it up at that time. You need to calm down, and you need to talk to him when you can have his uninterrupted attention.

Practice being tactful.

5. Divorce is not an option.

Early in our marriage, we made the agreement that the “D” word would never be mentioned—not even hinted at. It’s an easy word to throw around when you’re upset, mad, and ready to throw in the towel. But when divorce is not an option, and I mean truly not an option, you will work things out.

Every time divorce is mentioned, the level of trust diminishes a little bit. Is he serious? Will he really leave? From that moment, the feeling of total security in your marriage is destroyed.

By having the assurance your spouse will never seek divorce, you can be more honest with each other, more loving, and engage in more open communication.

6. Always treat your spouse like a guest in your home.

Really? You want me to refill his glass when it’s empty? Let him use the one good towel in my bathroom? Won’t he just take advantage of me?

Actually, quite the opposite happens. Try it. Do a one-week experiment. Then come back here and leave a comment on what happened.

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