Lessons on Love and Life in Ordinary Places
Today, I would like to share a simple story with you. I would like to tell you about the time I went to the dentist’s office for a routine cleaning and learned a very powerful life lesson. A few days ago, I met some of the most lovely people while I was waiting for my mother to come pick me up and bring me home from the dentist.
The young woman sitting beside me started telling me how she liked my nail polish, so I smiled politely and thanked her. Then we started talking about luxury items we liked: nail polish, coffee, new shoes and other cliché things that every girl seems to enjoy. The conversation quickly changed to student loan debt, the all-too-familiar struggle that young people often face when trying to find jobs.
An elderly woman sitting on the other side of the room who overheard us explained that her grandchildren were having the same problem. She began to tell us how much she loves her 5 grandchildren and her wonderful husband. I was both shocked and amazed to learn that she and her husband have been married for 62 years. They still seem very much in love, smiling at each other, and play fighting over who the grandchildren seem to like more. The woman would say things like “I make better cookies than you”, and the man would say, “I took the kids for a ride in my truck”, and it continue like that.
This couple seemed very much in love, they talked about their kids as if they were going to conquer the world. One was in grad school to become a veterinarian, the other was a stay-at-home mom, and their son was in New York City chasing his dreams. The old woman’s eyes twinkled as she told us about her children and their many accomplishments. She smiled at her husband and told him that they would not have been anything if it wasn’t for his support when times were tough.
The 25-year-old girl sitting next to me was saved by Jesus when she was 15, a very rough point in her life. Her faith has made her decide to become a counselor and pastor, and she was telling us about marriage counseling. She also told us all of the things that go into a healthy marriage, although she is not married, but would like to be someday.
I learned so much about marriage and what it takes to be an asset to a healthy marriage, while sitting in the waiting room at the dentist office.
Here are some of the important things that I learned:
Number One: Never go to bed angry.
This old adage actually has a lot of weight because allowing yourself to remain angry or negative will create more negativity. It will make your partner feel alienated, even if you have a good reason to be angry with them.
Number Two: Can you name five things you don’t like about your partner?
According to the counselor-in-training that I spoke with, you need to be able to name five things that displease you about your partner. They could be something simple like: they snore too loud or sometimes they forget to turn the lights off when they leave the room. While this may seem petty, it’s actually very important to a healthy relationship. If if you don’t know 5 things that you don’t like about that person, you’re not ready to be married to them. At this time, you’re still in that stage of puppy love and only when you reach mature love can you actually maintain a relationship.
Number Three: Alone time is important.
This is something that my own grandparents taught me and they have been married almost 50 years. My grandmother was a nurse who traveled often for work and my grandfather was a carpenter who also traveled for work. Because they have 3 children, they would often be apart from each other in order to provide a home, an income and resources for the family. They believe that alone time and time to have their own goals made them better people and more appreciative of each other.
Number Four: Communication is key.
It seems like in this day in age, Millennials are always on their cell phones. We have dinner with our families while we’re on our phones. We go to the movies while we are on our phone talking about the dialogue. When we go Church, we have to let everyone know we’re at Church by checking in on Facebook. There’s even such a thing as funeral selfies where someone has to take a photo of themselves, mourning a deceased loved one, and posts it on Instagram. Our cell phone obsession has become very unhealthy. After my recent phone upgrade, I made the decision to only use my phone for the purposes of phone calls and text messages. A lot of the time, it may seem easier to text someone if you’re angry, and you might think if you want to leave the relationship it’s always easier to send a text, but that doesn’t lead to appropriate healing. That leads to a lot of mixed emotions, because without face-to-face communication or tone of voice, we don’t truly know what other people are thinking or feeling.
Number Five: Fight with your spouse every day.
The most unusual part of the conversation was the old woman telling us we should fight with our spouse every day. She and her spouse always seem to have an argument over something little. That day for example, they argued over who was going to drive the car to the office. They said this important because it helps you to resolve issues even if the issues are small, and they’ll wait so both of them get the ability to have their voice heard. Then they smile at each other.
I was so moved by this couple’s love for one another and the fact that someone studying to help people maintain relationships was sitting right beside me, that this article wrote itself. I hope that someday I find someone to love for the next 60 years and I hope this couple is together and in love for the rest of time.