Thursday, December 1, 2016

Love is a clean windshield

It's all because I was lucky enough to marry the most patient, lovely, wise, kind, patient, good-natured, patient, intelligent and patient woman in the world...but I have been married to that angel for 43 years almost, and I think I've learned a thing or two about being married.

Young people about to be married often  come to me for advice have to listen to me going on and on about marriage, how it works best, the little pitfalls to avoid, and so forth.  The fact of the matter is, no amount of advice from anyone really matters very much in an area like this. Advice is good for learning how to carve a turkey, change a tire, plant a tree, refinish that old dresser that Aunt Mabel left you.  Those things are sprints, one-time deals; marriage is a marathon, a series of a million days and all the events that make up those days.

As I so often do during my Speeches To The Young, I'll share a little story with you. I'm Facebook friends with a married couple who really seem to have things going well...both of them work, and his work at this time of year is very busy, so he has been burning both the midnight and the early-morning oil, working all sorts of crazy hours. 

It's also the time of year around here when it's still humid, but it gets chilly overnight, which means frosty windshields on the cars (readers in Southern California, just imagine a frosted beer mug) in the early mornings.  

And the wife goes on Facebook, saying that even as big a rush as he is in to get to the office, he still took time that morning to scrape her car windows so that she wouldn't have to do it herself.

And that's my point for today: marriage is not about giant diamonds and imported luxury cars and trips to the Gilligan Islands.  Not at all!  If that's all it took, the Kardashians would have no show, hot-shot divorce lawyers would be doing taxes and selling real estate from offices over top of beauty salons, and marriage counselors would be looking for other work.

Nope, marriage (or keeping any relationship together for a long time) is not about the grand gesture; it's all about the little things. It's emptying the dryer, it's bringing the other person a cup of tea now and then, it's remembering to put the seat down and keep the litterboxes clean.

It's taking five minutes to clean off the other's windshield, doing it quietly in the pre-dawn hours and going off to work.  

Do something like that every day, both of you, and the years will go by happily.

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