Words of love add up to lasting marriage

Published 12:47 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2007

By Staff
I always enjoy the Valentine stories this time of the year about people who met their true love and have been happily married for as long as I have been alive.
My latest issue of Michigan County Lines, the Midwest Energy Cooperative magazine, January 2007, has pages of stories in a feature article titled, "Longtime Lovers."
The winner of their grand prize of an anniversary dinner went to a couple in Manton.
My heart went out to them as I read the list of trials they went through in their 51 years of marriage.
The husband had a brain tumor, a son died of cancer, their home burned and their pig herd got a disease.
Wow. That list can make our troubles seem quite small.
Still that couple offered these words of wisdom: "We made it by sheer grit, love and prayer. We talked everything out, respected each other, and we never fought over money (didn't have any) or kids (four)."
What inspiration those two sentences can be. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary camping in Alaska.
Words which helped other couples stick together and still be in love after 50 years in some of the other contestants include: "communicating … give-and-take … mutual … trusting … laughter … understanding … learning … equal … faith … tolerant."
One couple actually wrote the words to signify their "10 commandments for a happy and lasting marriage: admiration, respect, devotion, consideration, commitment, understanding, listening, patience, cooperation and honor."
These are all powerful words. Everyone has different ways of applying them in their life. Few couples would be able to keep all of them in mind, especially every day of their lives together.
Little things also make a difference. One lady wrote her husband still opens the door for her.
Most couples who think about their spouse in small ways will also be there when the big things strike, like cancer or the death of a child.
It is when those bad times strike that we really need to remember the other person is hurting as much as we are.
Love isn't only for those first marriages which last and last.
I have met many couples who took a little longer to find their true love.
Maybe they learned from the mistakes in their first marriages, if they ever got over blaming their spouse.
One young man from Cassopolis said he is afraid to actually tell his friends how happy he is with his second wife, someone who used to live next door when they were children. "They wouldn't believe me," he said.
Two of my good friends got married at 68 and 63, two years ago. They are so happy together. Now that she is retired, they bought an RV and will begin traveling the country together – in very close quarters.
Valentine's Day might be all hype with the cards, flowers and candy manufacturers all competing to be the way to say "I love you."
For me, the best way to show those words might be for me to not have to clean out the litter box, or take out the trash.
Still, that doesn't mean I don't love flowers and candy!