“I told Tamsin I would write tonight,” I said to Cam as I took up my laptop, heading for the bedroom.
“You should mention that it’s been a few years since anyone confiscated anything from you,” he smiled.
This is what I found on my pillow.
Cameron and I were married 31 years ago. We had planned a Valentine’s Day wedding, and then, in mid-December, he said, “Let’s just do it now! Why wait?” So, two weeks later and less than six months after our first date, we were wed by our Bishop in front of a few friends and family members, and it seemed perfect to us at the time. In my mind, ours was a love story fit for a sonnet.
I’d like to say that every moment of every day since has been pure bliss, that we never had financial woes, that our health has been perfect, and that we never once raised our voices to one another or said hurtful things. I’d like to say that there were never heartaches, that we were always perfect spouses to one another and perfect parents to our brood of five children.
What I can say is that we tried. In a time and a world where marriage seems to be slipping away, we are still trying. (Sometimes very trying.)
Finding things on my pillow is not a rare occurrence. My often cantankerous husband has a heart of marshmallow. He brings me flowers and jewelry and cards. He fixes things and assembles things and SHOWS me he loves me. He’s a doer. I’m a sayer.
If I thought I possessed the secret to a long and happy marriage, what I would share is this:
1. Work every day to see the traits you originally fell in love with. See the good in the person he/she has become so that you can fall in love over and over again.
2. Forget about changing your spouse. There is only one person you can change and it isn’t him/her. Focusing on your own efforts, without keeping score, is the way to marital happiness. (Sometimes easier said than done, but well worth the effort.)
3. The very few things that make your spouse feel really cherished take a surprisingly small amount of time each day. Give up a time-waster or two and focus on those few things.
4. Laugh every day.
5. And just like you learned in Kindergarten: Be nice. Share, Say “I’m sorry”, and “please” and “thank you” and “I love you”. (Or, like us, “I love you most.”)
I know it’s not the same for everyone. We are the lucky ones. And sharing a belief in something larger than ourselves has been the divine glue holding us together. Yes, we are the lucky ones.