What Holds "My" Marriage Together
The picture of happiness
WRITER'S NOTE: this hub is lovingly-dedicated to one of my very talented friends and cherished followers: catgypsy, who had the idea for this hub a week or so ago. I sincerely thank you, catgypsy, for the inspiration and encouragement for me to write this hub. Thanks again, Kenneth).
36 years. 37, on June 28, 2012. This is how long my wife and I have been married. And I will be the first to admit that she deserves a medal for her service. The Distinguished Service Cross. Plus, in my view, when she meets Jesus on Judgement Day, He will survey her life and when He sees the moment she said, "I do," to me, He will say, "welcome home, my child. Living with Kenny was suffering enough," And frankly, I do not blame Him one bit.
Living with me is tough. Okay, let me rephrase that. Living with me is rough. I didn't see this until a few years ago. But there is a good reason. I am now and have always been somewhat hard-headed, self-willed and slow-to-learn. But in time, I learn. Sometimes with a few scars, bruises to my ego, and an humbling of my male ego, but I learn.
I wish, oh how I wish I could tell all of my cherished-followers and non-followers that our marriage was all Smurfs dancing around a big oak tree; honeybees swaming on our every meal prepared perfectly and soft words flowing from our tongues, but I can't. If I did that, I would be the biggest liar on HubPages.
Our soon-to-be 37 years hasn't been all bad. I just pray and hope that the many good times will convincingly outweigh the bad. You see, the old saying, "the problem with our marriage is me," quickly applies to yours truly. I can see my wife's few faults more clearer than I can see my own flaws that are innumerable. I guess men are like that. Semi-blind to their own shortcomings. And I gladly admit that to you.
Being married in our beginning in June of 1975, was great. We smiled a lot. Laughed a lot. Sometimes cried at how we both had been hurt over the course of our lives. I learned later that was called "sharing." Oh how often I forget how to share in these my older days and only project my good memories when we are talking. I was told many years ago, by a man with a heart full of good intentions that men are not supposed to shed tears. Show weakness. Or be scared of anyone or anything. If this good-hearted man was right, oh how I failed on all those points
We started out on our "martial journey," in our twenties. We still had youth flowing in our veins, and like most new grooms, I wanted to be the one who excelled at providing for my new bride, protect her from all harm, and always be her hero. Again, oh how I also failed on these points. You see, men, male bravado can be a blessing. And a curse. Male bravado can also cause the male mind to instantly close when he is outdone by another male or what's worse than a kick to the head, being outdone by your new bride.
My wife, and I am not ashamed now at my age of 58, is better than me at lots of things. She can cook, sew, converse intelligently with anyone, help a stranger without caution, and sing like a dove. God gave her the gift of singing and music. Guess who He didn't give that talent? Need I say more?
I used to be bothered by my failings in relation to our marriage. And bothered so bad that I would stay "down" for weeks on end. Then with one gentle word of encouragement from my wife, I would mysteriously feel good like a man should feel. And never did I stop to thank her for those gentle words. Talk about an idiot. Yes, me again.
I cannot figure out a lot of things in life including how a wife seemingly and without asking, just knows what is bothering her husband. Do not ask me to explain this. Or else, I will fail on that too. But my wife is not one for personal gain, glory or fanfare. In fact, she would kill me if she had a clue that I was writing about her in this story. And she is sincere in her life in the shadows, as she is known to say. One day not long ago, I visited her in "in the shadows," and it was unfamiliar to me. Scary. I felt uneasy. That feeling to me, and most men, is called "caring more for your marital partner than you do yourself." This is tough for me and I would venture to say, all men.
My wife and I would sing when we were first married. Okay. Let me rephrase that. She would sing and help me to sound decent. We had "our" song, "Back Home Again," by the late John Denver. And we would sing Arlo Gutherie's "Hobo's Lullabye," to our daughter when she was first born. Somehow in that drafty old house we rented for $60.00 a month in 1977, we harmonized as good as Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. All thanks to my wife not flaunting her singing talent. That's the cold truth, friends.
I can describe my wife in one word: Enduring. She not only loves me, but has honestly endured me and all of my flimsy dreams that never became a reality as well as enduring my years of "experimenting" with alcohol simply because "I didn't fit-in where I worked." Some wives would have left me cold. Not Pam. Somehow her being related to the Biblical Job paid off. She saw me on and off the floor under the influence and never talked of what a fool I made of myself on Saturday nights as Sunday rolled around. She kept all of my, let's call it what it is, stupid acts of alcohol-related happenings to herself when she had full rights to condemn and judge. Oh, there is another word I can use to describe my wife: Unique.
Over these soon-to-be 37 years, we have almost seen and heard every fad and fashion of self-help marital helps to come down the road. And honestly, at one time we thought about attending a weekend martial workshop presented by one of those "marriage guru's," and after we sat and expressed our true feelings about this expensive trip, come to find out we didn't need a marital guru to mentor us. We just needed to cling to each other a little tighter.
And I have personally, over the past 37 years read and watched numerous self-proclaimed poets and writers tell me what marriages are made of and what materials good marriages are built from. And these men and women all made a convincing arguement of how they "heard God tell them" one morning while eating fried eggs, that "they," the self-dubbed carriers of soft poetry and book-peddling, should charge me $50.00 for one or two hours of advising me over the phone. And this was in the years before the "800" toll-free numbers. I almost bit like a large-mouth bass on a few of these tempting offers, but my $50.00 went for a more-noble cause: getting our daughter some school clothes and shoes so she wouldn't be cold when winter time appeared. I never felt guilty for this choice. And still don't.
And as the years, both good and bad rolled by and continue to roll by, I have yet to find anyone, enlightened or like me, of average IQ, tell me in all accuracy, what a good marriage is built from. And I have said "no thanks," to many religious and non-religious folks who only gave me their "guesses" of what they thought that a marriage is built from.
So at this point, I shall tell you what "I" think my marriage is built from because I cannot speak intelligently about your marriage. That is all your business.
Our marriage was and is not built on fame. Fame fades fast. And when it fades, real life is still looking you in the eye. I made a choice years back that celebrities can have the fame, I had rather have a solid marriage.
Our marriage is not built with an open-mind that allows so-called "new age" thinking to tell my wife and I that we should be "free" to see other men and women. We are too old-fashioned. That is not us anyway. Besides my wife cannot be replaced by another woman anywhere. And I think I owe all of my female followers a sincere apology for sounding a little too harsh. I was not in any way, shedding any bad light on any of you.
Our marriage is not built with us competing to see which one can make the most money. Hey, it wouldn't bother me in the least if my wife were to inherit some mysterious fortune numbering in the millions. Money, like fame, only lasts for a short season. Then I am left to look myself in the eye in my mirror and automatically know if I love my wife from my heart, or for her riches. I have always been "all in" by loving her with my heart.
Our marriage was not built by luxuries. Although I would have loved to shower her with any and all niceties like cars, diamonds and homes all across the world when I married her, but somehow, we just took each other as we were, richer or poorer and built on what we were.
And finally . . .our marriage, if you would really love to know what it is built from and what has held our martial bond together for so long, I will be more than glad to share this elusive-but-plain-fact with you.
Our marriage was built with small nails. And has been kept secure with small nails. And the small nails is a fitting metaphor for the small things like an "I love you," at the end of a bad day when a long nap would have seemed better.
Small things like one kind word of encouragment when the tide has turned on her or myself. It doesn't take a thirty-minute speech to tell my wife what I want to say. Just a small amount of tender words from my heart. Not lips.
Small things like small, unseen acts such as washing dishes (my specialty) for her when she cannot go any further at the end of a working day. Or taking time to give her a needed back massage when it would be easier for me to just plop over and start snoring.
Small things like me admitting to you that a good marriage doesn't just happen. Or appear like in the days of Merlin, the magician. A good marriage takes work. Many times, hard work. Sacrificial work. And it all pays off in the end. And similar to "life," I always get what I put into my marriage. Good or bad. I always reap the harvests of what type of seeds I care to sow.
Small nails. Truly, this is what has held our marriage together. And you know what? The more I use small nails I use, the stronger our marriage becomes.
A vow made in paradise
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