I was walking the other day out of an event, one of my favorite of the year .. with a few dear friends. We were some of the last to leave, having helped clean everything up and putting the place, a camp for kids with disabilities, back to semi-normal.
One: A wise friend and mentor to us all and one of the programs biggest supporters .. who has been married to one of the most wonderful women now, for 40 plus years.
The other two: A sweet young couple I have gotten to know well and who I just love. And who at some point, I fully expect these two will get married. Sooner than later if my girlfriend has anything to say about it. She can’t hint to her rockstar boyfriend enough she is ready for the ring.
“I hear you’re getting married!” he says to me, seeming genuinely excited and sincere about it all. “That’s just great .. ” he adds, among a few other wonderful thoughts and observations. I have known this gentleman a very long time. His company was one of the first I went to work for long ago just out of high school .. we have remained friends ever since, having many mutual close friends, colleagues and causes that are important to us.
“If I can offer you one piece of advice, because I really do want things to work out for you with this one … ” he says .. which had I been drinking coffee or any sort of beverage, I would have spit it out laughing. For as sweet as I know he was being with that comment, it just struck me as funny.
He continued. “Something my wife and I have been blessed to have always done. Don’t ever go to bed upset with one another.”
Agreed. Not going to bed angry is a goal I have always strived for. I think we all do. But, we also all know it’s not always easy .. is it. Sometimes circumstance and personalities get in the way no matter how much you may try to hit that goal.
This dear friend continued to share a story about one of the most important lessons he learned from one of his High School teachers way back when he was a ‘young buck’, Mr. Hyman. “Hyman,” I asked? I had to chuckle. Hyman, he confirmed. Know it’s spelled differently but for a teacher that name had to be tough. Anyway ..
Mr. Hyman had apparently told his class long ago when our friend was a student, ‘Marriage is a lot of work. And you may think each of you needs to give 50/50 to make it work. But it’s not. One person always end up putting in 90% of the effort. And the other person, also needs to put in 90% of the effort. And somewhere in there you hope it adds up to 100%.”
Lessons we learn firsthand being in a marriage.
Being out of one as well. That’s a lesson that can apply to many things in life.
Going back into another union of hearts, dreams, families and all that goes along with that is a conversation the Cowboy and I have had on countless occasions. Not wanting to repeat past mistakes. Taking care to not take for granted what the other does or contributes. Knowing there is always work the other is doing or energy being put in that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Communication that needs to happen about life, with each other, to each other that doesn’t involve bills, the kids, the ex’s and problems. Dreams always need to be shared. Dates always need to be had. Respect for each other and who we are as individuals as well as together is the goal. Acknowledging that’s a lot of hard work, but deciding it’s worth it because the reward of a family that cares about each other, supports each other, is kind to one another, roots their day and actions in their faith, talks happiness, works only for the best and expects only the best of each other and delights in the good in the world around them sure beats the alternative.
Plus it’s no fun going to bed mad each night.
And my eyes always get puffy from crying so it’s just not pretty either.
It was only a few years after sharing his marriage insights in class, Mr. Hyman got divorced. Successful outcome of the marriage or not, it is still a good reminder that while it may not always look like both parties in a marriage or a job or any relationship are putting in all they can and more, often they are. And while we can always work harder and give more, we hope that in giving all we’ve got, no matter the ratio, it adds up to a beautiful life. Even when its not always pretty.