In 30 days, I get to marry the sweetest, most handsome man I have ever met. For the past few months, as I am reflecting on marriage, I have also thought of my patients in the nursing home. How much is their perspective on marriage truly different from my own? The time in which they lived was certainly different. What tools did they implement in the most intimate part of their lives in order to make love and commitment last?
We tend to forget that our elders are not only comprised of what we see – the delicate or debilitated individual who sits quietly – but at some point, they too fell into a profound romance and shared this life with another.
I have been seeking the wisdom of seasoned souls in order to gain insight from such a deviating viewpoint- persons who have spent more years married to their spouse than not. Whereas, I am at the beginning of my endeavor.
Here is what I received when I presented my patients with the following request:
Give me your best advice on how to make a marriage last.
“Don’t tell your wife she’s too heavy.” 76 yrs old
“You want to be good to your mate. If he asks you for something, try to get it for him.” 88 yrs old
“Don’t get mad at one another. Talk to one another, and don’t keep secrets. When he comes home, have supper for him.” 81 yrs old
“Find someone that loves you and will take care of you forever.” 74 yrs old
“Give him your best and hope he gives you his best. If you love each other, you’ll make it. Try not to go to bed angry. Some things you’ll have swallow.” 79 yrs old
“They say marriage is 50/50. Don’t keep score. When one has a weakness, it may be 80/20. You’re one.” unknown age
“My daddy gave me the best advice. Don’t overload your wagon. The hitch won’t hold, and you’ll break up. Save your money, and buy only what you can afford.” 96 yrs old
“HE’S right all the time… or at least you gotta make him think he is.” unknown age
“Be kind to your husband. Make your priority to make him happy. Then you’ll be happy.” 91 yrs old
“Take care of your husband. Cook his breakfast. Cook his dinner. Give him a bath. Give him his medicine. That’s what makes a good marriage.” 79 yrs old
Maybe you can guess which piece of advice was from a woman and which was from a man. And yes, it is evident that the times have changed a bit over the last 100 years. But one thing has not – the desire to love and be committed for a lifetime to your spouse. Cheers to the matured lovers who so freely give advice to the younger generations. I intend to put it to use.
Brittany Soon to Be Stanford
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?”