And Happy 57th Anniversary (58 in February) to Bob & me – as we enjoy this 80th year of our lives – and celebrate our togetherness – and thank God for our health
How do couple stay together so long?
That’s a question Bill & Marge were asked at our granddaughter, Faith’s wedding when the 4 Beekman couples were the last ones left on the dance floor after the disk jockey (DJ) said, “All couples married less than 55 years sit down.”
Wow! Here we were… eight old farts still standing, still dancing, still together.
Marge Beekman’s answer was, “Never go to bed mad at each other.”
Bill Beekman was asked for his answer. He said, “I agree with Marge.“
The DJ said, “Did you see that? Did you hear that? He let her answer first and then he just agreed with her. There’s the secret to a long married life!”
Are There Other Secrets?
Well, if he had asked me, “How have you stayed together for 57 years?” I would have answered with not just one, but TEN ideas! (He would have had to cut me off!)
These ideas have worked for us in our long marriage – and have contributed to my ability to tell you, “We’re not just still together, but I love him more today than I did the day we married.”
What Are the Tips for Longevity in Relationships?
Pray together – make the Lord central in your relationship – ask Him to guide your days and help you with every decision. Listen for His Holy Spirit to speak to you and help you as you walk daily in His Will to the best of your abilities.
Give each other space – you are a couple, but you are also people with your own ideas, your own needs, and your own agendas. Allow each other the right to make individual decisions and keep your own identities bright and alive. We even have separate checking accounts. As long as the household needs are met, I don’t have to account to him for every penny of my retirement money that I spend… and likewise, his retirement play money is his to play with as he chooses. Give each other individual freedoms!!
Listen to one another – really hear! Care about what the other thinks and find out why he/she really believes that. Never stop learning from one another.
Go to church together – find a worship community and cultivate their friendships. We are Christians – and we want you to be able to see that in our love for one another and our love for YOU. “They will know we are Christians by our love ❤ ” is not just a song we love to sing, but a life we strive to live. Our Christian friends are our support system, our help in time of need, our prayer partners. There is no friend like the long-term friends you make under the cross of Jesus!
Play together – you may each have your own idea of what “fun” is (He fishes, I don’t. I love movies & popcorn, he doesn’t. He skis, I don’t. I go to Writer’s Group each Friday, he doesn’t. He loves yard work … or at least does it masterfully, I don’t. I love to volunteer at the Sr. Center, the Medical Center, help seniors in need, he doesn’t.) You get the idea. But we love to go riding on the Montana mountain trails with friends in our ATV – and we love entertaining friends in our home, hosting over-nighters for a week or a month or even a year in our home. We love going out to Dave’s Sushi or enjoying a BBQed dinner with fine wine at home. The idea is, find your areas of commonality and play happily together!
Treasure and Appreciate One Another – Bob’s nickname for me (he has many, but my favorite ) is “Precious.” I appreciate his expressions of love and affection and his readiness to show appreciation. He often comments on things like, “My, you look pretty today!” or “I like the way you added that spice to the ______ (fill in the blank) for dinner tonight.” In return I try not to take for granted his beautiful yard work or the delicious waffles he makes for breakfast or his warm and plentiful hugs. Thank you is such an important word in any relationship!
Love One Another – even when you don’t Like each other! None of us is perfect. We often do things to “piss each other off!” It could be something as simple as leaving the toilet seat up or not putting the lid back on the toothpaste. Or it could be a major thing like staying out late without saying you were going to do so – and not calling to say where you are. Showing LOVE for one another is treating your partner the way you want to be treated and expressing yourself clearly without anger (if possible) when your expectations are not met. Loving is compromising and not always expecting things to go your way. Love is forgiving and trying NOT to be the annoying one in the relationship!
Be Kind and Compassionate – Yes, we all make mistakes. We do stupid things. We say things we wish we could take back. When we are at our worst, that’s when we need kindness most. It’s when our partner is at his/her worst that we find it most difficult to be kind in return. But harshness begets hatred and ugliness begets violence. Our response is crucial. Of course, there are caustic relationships that are unhealthy and are not meant to be sustained. No one is called to be a doormat. My heart goes out to those who are in relationships with those who inflict mental or physical abuse. Especially when help is offered, but refused. Sometimes leaving is the most loving option. Kindness/Compassion is a two-way street!
Trust! – Without mutual trust, the relationship is doomed! My husband, Bob’s ski buddy is Nancy. She is a 50-something dynamo who is a ball of energy and fun. She’s a fantastic skier and loves to do those double diamond runs – just like Bob does. If I didn’t trust Bob, I could be jealous of the time they spend together on the slopes and I could conjure up all sorts of images of what I think might or might not be happening. But, Bob & I always have lived with mutual trust – and so instead of worrying, I treasure Nancy’s friendship, too. I love getting together whenever we can with her and her fun-loving husband, Dan. In fact, she’s the one I told you about a few days ago when I said I wanted to adopt a Daughter #4. You gotta trust – and in that confidence enjoy a multitude of friendships and a plethora of opportunities you might miss otherwise!
Respect! – It’s the bottom line. Without mutual respect, you may as well call it a day NOW. I have been around couples where one of them is so disrespectful to his/her partner that it smells up the room. The air is so caustic, you don’t want to be within ten miles of ’em. You want to shake ’em and wake ’em up to what they are doing to one another – or what one is doing to the other. But, rarely does intervention help. You sigh, shake your head, and vow not to ever do that to YOUR loved one. That’s a vow worth keeping if your relationship is worth having! ALWAYS show respect to your partner… and while you’re at it, respect yourself. God don’t make no junk … you’re a treasure!
Some Sundays, the sermon message is unbearable! But, I go, I listen, and I try to discern what God is trying t tell me. I let the minister speak to my heart and I ask God to help me be discerning.
Today was one of those days when I longed for a pastor who could divert her attention from the lectionary cycle and get with the stuff that is more “cultural.” After all, it’s Father’s Day! I don’t want to hear about the unbearable!
But, based on John 16: 12-15, somehow Rev. Jean Johnson at our Madison Valley Presbyterian church came us with this unlkely message for today:
Jesus did not tell His disciples
All that He had to say.
He said some things were unbearable.
They’d hear them another day.
Preparing for vacation, a family
Was told to come right away.
There had been an accident –
Too unbearable to hear any day!
Their son had not survived.
They were devastated, of course.
How can we respond or help?
We can’t fathom their remorse.
Think of a time when indeed,
Delight and splendor were spilled overboard.
Ever had so much happiness
You could only say, “Thank You, Lord”?
The touch of your spouse’s love
Can be beautifully unbearable
When you know forgiveness
Was given for the unshareable.
Things can be unbearably wonderful,
Or they can be unbearably awful.
Unbearable opens our hearts to love.
The opposite, unfeeling, should be unlawful!
When you bear the unbearable,
God is with you, alive and well.
In tears of joy or cries of agony,
God’s more present than we can tell.
When life is too big, too real,
Too much – too much to bear,
That’s when we know God for sure,
When the Spirit declares, “I Am There.”
Nothing is withheld from God.
We may feel a flutter like a dove…
It’s God, who is lifting us up.
When in the unbearable, we feel His love.
Thank You, God!
You never fail me!
I pray you had an UNBEARABLY joyful
Father’s Day today!