This post is really filled with tips to make marriage work. It is our story as told by my sister, Betty. I was concerned when I read it because it focuses on me. But I had agreed to post her note as is — and thank you, Betty! I appreciate your ever constant support!
Any marriage requires teamwork. You will find our tips to make marriage work at the bottom of this post. When one partner is disabled, it just takes a bit more balancing things around. I don’t fold clean clothes any more and Whitey does not cook. I don’t empty trash either, and Whitey does not pay bills. In other words, we have created our own kind of balance around here. I have to admit we never ran our household or parented our kids like anybody else anyway! (And both kids turned out to be delightful and responsible adults, and we are thankful for that.)
I’ve seen it all! Once- sometimes twice- a year, I spend several days with Joan and Whitey. Each time, I return home inspired – not only by Whitey, but by Joan as well, and yes, the extended family, too. I’ve watched Whitey leave in the predawn hours for his walk, get his snacks or drinks, laugh, do household chores, dance, enjoy his children and grands, give hugs, extend a thoughtful gesture to a friend, carry on a caring conversation, challenge someone with a trivia question, and laugh more! And I watched Joan as she prepares his dinner plate, reads him golf scores, responds to his concerns about his matching clothes, laughs at his jokes, tells news from the mail, types business matters, and does all errand or trip driving. Their teamwork is amazing! I’ve seen them disagree, share, surprise, complain, compliment, celebrate, console, care, and kiss. One day, I watched as they “guided” an uninvited wild bird out the door! Being in their home is never dull…being there is an experience! What a pair! Love you, dear sister and brother-in-law!
PS from Joan — Thank you, Betty! You should have been here yesterday. Hogan, our golden retriever, presented us with a very dead and mangled squirrel – she brought that thing right into the house. Now you really should see a blind guy and a squeamish grandma removing a dead squirrel from the den without touching it………….yuck! It took both of us. Whitey grabbed a towel and I grabbed a trash bag. Whitey covered the squirrel with the towel and I directed him on picking it up and putting it into the trash bag I was holding! Why on earth didn’t I just pick up the squirrel myself? It simply would have taken hours for me to gather the nerve to do that — easier just to help him do it! Gross!
Update: We recently celebrated our 50th anniversary! What a joy.
Here are our tips to make marriage work:
1. Laugh together often.
2. Respect each other. Don’t go into his wallet without permission, and ask the same respect for your purse. The same rule applies to mail, telephone calls, email. Give each other some space.
3. Remember that you do not own each other. A possessive, jealous attitude will destroy a marriage faster than just about anything.
4. Remember, the marriage is first and foremost — then your children, then your parents, then your siblings. Don’t try to take on the whole community. Keep your priorities straight.
5. Be thoughtful and polite – even when nobody is listening.
and be happy together!
I hope you have found our words of advice on marriage helpful. We don’t know all the secrets, but we are living happy days in our senior years and believe me, that is a blessing!
Update: We recently welcomed Whitey’s first guide dog, Hap, into our family. What a joy he is. And now I am married to both of them. They are a perfect team and it is quite an adventure to watch them learn together. We are so thankful to Southeastern Guide Dogs for this beautiful sweet helper.