Secret to Marriage (Happy 20th Deb!)

"The secret to a happy and lasting marriage", my wife said to a friend yesterday, "is learning how to fight well."

I have heard her say this before. I’ve never liked the answer…it seems so negative. Everything in me wants to say something like, "Having found the right person, love simply endures."

My wife however, hearing this, would smile and humour my quixotic side, and allow me to go on tilting at windmills, ah, for a time. Not that "compatibility" is unimportant. My wife would simply say that it’s not key.

DebcabYou see, she looks deeper. There is, within her "inscape", an intuitive amative (love expressing) pragmatism. In other words, she knows the value of true communication.

Her, "learning how to fight well", is really a way of saying that in a marriage it’s critical to tenaciously keep lines of communication open. She would tell you that it’s imperative to fight for those connections and openings, to keep things flowing, even when they hurt.

Well, I’m here to tell you that with me, Debbie almost met her match. I can close down like a prodded sea anemone. That is my default position. Another phrase comes to mind…passive aggressive, which when I heard the term for the first time, oh, twenty years ago or so, had me heading for cover. But my wife would find me and shine a light under the layers. Which I know for her was excruciatingly hard work.

Of course what that is, is nothing but active love. It’s caring enough to hurt. It’s saying that you matter, and not just for the moment.

What happens to you when you know you matter to someone? You either grow or run. I’ve done both but perhaps, as twenty years may indicate, I’ve learned to run less and grow more.

I’ve even learned, I think, to occasionally seek out and shine a light under my wife’s "layers".

And all this only because someone loved me enough to "fight well" with me.

Happy Twentieth Anniversary Love…, s.

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  1. good work guys

    I’ll add one more bit of wisdom for the young bucks out there

    find a good woman, grab her and hold on to her with all your might

    Prov. 31:10 An excellent wife who can find?
    She is far more precious than jewels. (ESV)

    Congratulations on finding your treasure and hanging on for all your worth

    you are no doubt a better man for it.

  2. And I have found a man who has taken seriously that to love your wife you need to be willing to lay down your life for her. Thank you, Steve, for being willing to put yourself aside to help me be successful.

  3. Congratulations to both of you. Beautiful thoughts – brought tears to my eyes, and I prayed a prayer of thanks for you both.

  4. Steve… loved seeing the picture of Deb – she hasn’t changed in twenty years – except maybe to look more herself, and more loved. I always think you can tell a person that has been loved … like you can tell a car that has been loved. Bad analogy but it fits. Twenty years is a testiment to fierce determined stubbornness. Quite a lovely trait in my mind.

  5. Thanks, Marilyn for your comments! I lamented to Steve the other day that I would have really enjoyed sitting down with you as I felt I could finally sit in a way that was more open to both giving and receiving. Good to hear from you and feel somehow ‘connected’ over the distance and time!

  6. btw guys
    my ‘hanging on to her for all your worth comment’ was not meant in the
    Peter Peter Pumpkin eater kind of way.
    I wouldn’t want the young bucks out here to be emulating the new Toby Keith video and claiming they did it on marital advice from the IA.

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