After attending my Book Club meeting today, I came home to such a cold house that I sat out in the sun and began reading a new book I acquired from one of the girls. The warmth of the sun was very soothing and it felt so decadent to take some time out to relax.
As I read the book Tracks by Robyn Davidson (you may have seen the movie of her journey across the Simpson Dessert in Australia with three camels) I became so engrossed in it that I almost missed lunch! The author amazed me with her wisdom and I found myself thinking on some of the things she had written so I got out my Poppy Journal to write what I learned from reading this book. It was a lesson for marriage!
However, when I opened my Journal I found an entry I had written in June and which I had not yet shared on my blog. I had forgotten all about it. Guess what? It was about my marriage! This must be the day for marriage methinks? So without further ado, I must share with you the entry I wrote at that time.
Tuesday 24th June 2014
“It’s been an interesting day at home. Geoff and I have settled in to a nice companionship since he finished his casual work which went on for months. I get up much later since he’s been home. We have an unspoken sharing of duties. Geoff gets the cup of tea in the morning while I open up the blinds and put some light on the day. It all dovetails nicely.
I’m sitting up in bed ready when the cuppa arrives and he hops in beside me, cuppa in hand. Meanwhile, he has put on the porridge whilst waiting for the kettle to boil, soaking it to speed up the cooking. We chat and sip tea. Two old fogies who’ve been married for 42 years!
We’ve been though good times and hard times, survived teenagers, rejoiced when our two children married and sighed when one came to an end after 15 years. We’ve done it all: loved and laughed whilst travelling together but we’ve also wanted to kill each other at times and thought we were better off apart.
And yet, each crisis brought more understanding … sometimes forgiveness was needed as we each gave a little and changed a little. However, we have remained totally faithful to each other despite our ups and downs.
The flush of first love early in our marriage changed as children arrived rather too quickly for our liking and thrust us into parenthood. We never doubted our commitment to each other through the years though. It’s true that retirement has been our greatest challenge as we learned to be together 24 hours a day after busy careers. There are few places to hide in retirement!
However, the best part of it all is the help Geoff gives me around the house when he is not working. I love it! He senses jobs that need to be done and will finish things for me if I get waylaid by a phone call or something else. The washing will magically be hung out while I make a cake for someone’s birthday. It feels so decadent.
Or else, I’ll offer to clean the bath which he started so he can finish putting the final varnish on our dining room table. Team work it is called. It has taken a while to get to this place, but it sure feels good now that it has arrived!”
Now the lesson I learned about my marriage today was that sometimes your partner puts you into situations where you have to learn to stand up for yourself and be feisty when you would rather let things go or allow yourself to be a door-mat. This is a good thing because we need to be challenged occasionally. I came to see that Geoff had given me a gift by making me stand up for myself. I had never seen it this way before. And vice versa of course.
I thought it wasn’t a good thing when a couple disagreed too much or had what I call ‘robust discussions’ but in actual fact, we all need to find our unique selves during a long relationship and learn the cut and thrust of being together … and not be offended. We have to learn to transcend the disagreements.
The thing that I have learned through all this is not to let the disagreements, or the petty annoyances of one another, get to us; rather to see that the most important thing is the ability to say sorry to each other when necessary and then … LET IT GO.
The Power of Forgiveness.
A trait that doesn’t get mentioned too much these days. It’s easier to discard one another and start again … or is it? ‘Hanging in there’ as we call it, sometimes requires far more courage than walking away …