Sunday, November 28, 2010
How to Make a Marriage Last
We spent Thanksgiving Day with 29 people we love. It was mostly my family, but we have widened our family circle to embrace girlfriends, boyfriends, and friend-friends. This year, our number included two of our best friends and their son who had no nearby family for Thanksgiving day.
During our conversation, our friend, Mark, looked at my mother and said, "How long have you been married?" When she told him that they were approaching 60 years, he said, "What's the secret to making a marriage last?" My mom made a joke and never really answered the question.
I was thinking about that this morning. There are lots of answers you could give. Many of the standard/pat answers are "Keep Christ as the center of your marriage." or "Never go to bed angry." Once, another friend named Mark told us that his grandfather had given him this advice, "Always do the dishes together." I can see how that is a clever marriage strategy. By doing the dishes together after the evening meal, you and your spouse get a little bit of alone-time to talk about the day, or the kids, or whatever.
I thought about all this as I was making the morning coffee. And that's when I realized why my marriage to The Big Dog has lasted. Here's the secret. Are you ready? The secret to a lasting marriage is, "Always make his coffee first." Deep huh?
In our house, we are a two-pot family. I drink decaf. Ever since having the boys, my heart has had a very negative reaction to caffeine, but I'm my mother's daughter and LOVE coffee. So it's decaf only for me. The Big Dog has an immunity to caffeine, he can drink regular coffee right before bed without a problem. So we make a pot of regular coffee in the morning, and then a pot of decaf. Generally, whoever is up first makes the coffee. On the weekdays it's usually the Big Dog. On the weekends, it's either of us. Whenever he gets up first, he usually makes my coffee first. If I'm half awake I'll tell him to make his, but he usually makes mine. This morning I was up first and I made his coffee. It's not a huge sacrifice. The coffee is done and put in the thermos within 15 minutes, so it's a short-wait and a small sacrifice.
But a sacrifice it is. We were talking about sacrifice yesterday. There are those in our life who have never seen another person sacrifice anything for them. Their parents are selfish. Their spouses are self-centered. It comes as no surprise that those people don't know Jesus. How can you understand the supreme sacrifice Jesus made for you if you don't see anyone making small sacrifices for anyone else. And so, we make sacrifices for each other in our marriage every day.
I would much rather crochet than do the laundry. But I do the laundry. The Big Dog's job is very frustrating and unpleasant. But he goes everyday to supply healthcare and mortgage money for us. The boys see us sacrificing for them and for each other. And we make each other's coffee before we make our own. That's our secret to a long-lasting (well 18 years so far) marriage. Sacrifice.
Now go make some coffee.