Communication and respect

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Jul 292003
 
Authors: J.J. Babb

Adam turned to God one day and asked, “Why did you make Eve so beautiful?”

God replied, “So that you would love her.”

Adam thought for a moment and asked again, “Well, why did you make her so stupid?”

“So that she would love you,” God answered.

* * *

Although my father insists my mother is not stupid, he does say this joke has a hint of truth to why my parents’ marriage has lasted.

Next Tuesday, Aug. 5, my parents, Sam and Kathy will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.

They were married Aug. 5, 1978, in a small Methodist church in WaKeeney, Ks. The wedding was simple and the reception even more simple in the basement of the church. There was no five course meal- just mints, nuts and cake and there was no dancing or drinking.

Yet, the bond they began on that day is one I pray and hope every married couple shares.

With almost half of all marriages ending in divorce, it is striking to see a couple still married, and even more amazing to see one as happy as my parents.

My parents’ tribute this on-going happiness to two main things: communication and respect.

“Communication,” my mother named as the main ingredient in good marriages, “You can’t read people’s minds so you have to be able to talk about things, from small everyday things to bigger issues.”

She stresses that although love is very important, without good communication a marriage cannot survive the ups and downs of life.

My father on the other hand contributes their quarter-decade marriage to respect of one another.

“If you don’t respect someone you don’t treat them properly,” he said.

But although my parents disagree about the one-essential ingredient for a strong marriage, they gave the same advice to couples striving to create and maintain a strong marriage: Discuss things like money, religion, politics and sex before and throughout the years.

While my mom described, “liking each other and knowing how to have fun with one another” as being important in a good marriage, my father was at a loss of words and turned to my mother for assistance.

“Respect, love…. I don’t have a clue…. ask your mom,” my dad said.

Besides the given advice, I have learned countless lessons in love, relationships and friendships from my parents’ example.

They have taught me:

– Love may be the foundation of a marriage, but communication and respect are the glue.

– The little things in a marriage, like yellow roses on a Wednesday or a card in the mail at work, make each day joyous.

– The meaning of commitment-sticking together even when times get tough, money gets tight and kids get in trouble.

– An argument or disagreement does not automatically mean a divorce; it just means something needs to be worked out.

– It’s okay to seek help from someone outside of the relationship, such as a counselor, when problems get overwhelming.

– A marriage can also be a friendship.

And most of all my parents have taught me in a country filled with failed marriages; a simple loving couple can make marriage last a lifetime.

Congratulations Mom and Dad, happy 25th wedding anniversary.

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