Monday, December 30, 2013

I want better.....

I want better than what I see in the world, when it comes to contentment and joy and love and marriage and children and everything... I just don't know how to get it.

so sweet, if more people kept this in mind maybe there wouldn't be so many break ups

Have you ever seen an elderly married couple bickering and fighting in public?
I have... up close and personal with grandparents, and then again with strangers.
And it really makes me sad. We'll use the strangers for example in this post.

This summer, while loading our kayaks onto the truck after a trip around our local pond, we met an older couple who were intent on taking their own kayaks out for a paddle.
As we bustled back and forth, they did too, and we exchanged a few words as we crossed paths and then we got into out truck as they pushed off into the water. They were neat and clean and outdoorsy looking.... he had a bunch of trail signs made up and ready to be placed stacked in the back of the car.

Once we were out of earshot {barely} we began to compare notes on out perception of them.
Mom suggested that they were a peaceful, content couple enjoying time together in nature.
And they probably were... the only problem was that I had overheard a little exchange that overshadowed my positive views of them.
Him, unpacking the two faded life-vests from the backseat of their spotlessly clean car: "Which one do you want?"
Her: "Oh, whichever."
Him, with snideness in his tone: "It hasn't always been 'whichever' before."

That will be all, thank you. {Walks away feeling disillusioned.}

Mr. Husband, can we be cute and madly in love when we are old?

And last week at the grocery store, I walked down the frozen aisle just in time to overhear another older couple snapping at each other over a frozen entree... Once again they were ideal-looking, her in a pretty blouse and lovely sweater, him in pressed pants and jacket. At 10:00 on a sunday, they were probably coming from Church.
And I got there in time to hear him saying in keep-it-down tones "I was just pointing it out!"

They chose the entree in argument, they'll probably go home and consume it in anger.

I was privileged to care for an older gentleman in a medical situation.  He was 94 and said that he and his wife had been married 74 years.  Later that morning in walks this beautiful very lively tiny Lady and the gentleman smiled so wide and yelled "there comes my bride".  Ohhhhh to be called a "bride"  after 74 that's what matters most!!!!

Overhearing those encounters turns my stomach for two reasons.

I know that these are natural exchanges. That everyone says things like this, that everyone has "I'm mad or sad or in pain or just plain hungry and my mouth is running while the brain is shut off" moments.
You have them, you receive grace, you forgive them, you move on from them.
But I've seen too many times where this isn't just a foot-inserted-into-slot-of-mouth moment, it is a way of life.
Those rebuttals, those snark-attacks, those talking over you moments become the familiar pattern for some couples whole days. Never mind "He doesn't bring me flowers and/or look into my eyes any more," we are talking "Everything we said to each other today was a defense or a counter blow."
There are marriages like that.
So much life or death really does reside in the power of the tongue.

And 2.
It makes marriage look really sad and pitiful. Because if you had someone at work like that, who was constantly making you feel small, or needling you, and you probed and poked them right back, you could leave them at the end of the work day.
But you don't leave a marriage. In both of those cases, the old couples were probably going to be together a-l-l-l d-a-a-a-a-y, and that's a really long time when your spouse is a challenger and foe in the verbal tournament instead of your enduring best friend and shelter.

Am I one of those naive little people who is convinced that when I meet and wed my Prince Charming, we will never argue and all will be smooth sailing?
Forever Love


I know there will be dissent and discontent, hopefully generously mixed with joy and companionship and forbearance and forgiveness. I know there will be arguments... as someone said, lock two cranky and selfish people into the marriage covenant and what do you expect?!!

But I want to have a marriage.... no, that's too small a vision.... I want to cultivate every relationship so that snappy exchanges and snarky comments are not the warp and woof out our days.
I want the majority of words exchanged to be commonplace and everyday, yet fitly spoken and the sort of word that builds someone up rather than tearing down.

Old people in love always melts my heart! They're so cute together, D. I want this to be us. D.

I want A BIG picture of the world and of marriage... so big that the frozen entree becomes not-worth-fighting-about on that grocery run after Church, and an argument about which life-vest I'm wearing while boating is ridiculous, and clearly seen as such.
I've seen too many "Long, Happy Marriages" that are long on the long, short on the happy, and present a horrible image of the whole entire thing.

I don't really know what I'm saying here. Perhaps nothing except this: Life and death really are in the tongue, we do use words to build worlds for others to dwell in, as Gladys Hunt says, and if you marry a snappy person when you're young, they'll probably be a snappy person when you're old.
And if I am a snarky, sarcastic person now, I'll very likely make myself a miserable marriage.

Lets not be the guy who said to his friend, while they was rockin' in the rockin' chairs on the porch, "Yep. Sally and me, we had 50 years of wedded bliss," and here he spits tobacco,
"Fifteen of 'em were happy, so that ain't bad." have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part...And they lived happily ever after :)

{As an item of note, why would I want to marry a prince anyway? There are far more interesting occupations out there, which produce better stories to tell your wife at the end of the day.}

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