Despite telling Stan no twice when he asked me to marry him…even after watching the second half of ‘Gone With the Wind’ with another guy on tv, today is our 34th anniversary and we still REALLY, REALLY like each other, and deeply LOVE each other too. See, back 34 years ago when a tv show played; particularly one as long as that, it was broken into two nights. I watched the first half with Stan, and the second half on a date with another guy the next night – which Stan called my house several times during the show, I might add…
So, how did we meet?
We both worked in a small shopping center. Stan worked in a shoe store next to the ice cream shop I worked in. My Grandma Shirley purchased shoes from him and kept telling me I should give him a chance and say yes when he would ask me out. I had other guys I was interested in, along my own future plans for a career, travel, etc. Grandma won, so after Stan had asked me out – again – I said yes. As we began to date, we saw each other ever day at work, after college classes and whenever possible.
We were married in the Salt Lake City, Utah (USA) LDS Temple (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) on a Monday morning. So that began, our now history, and our future.
Together we have three sons, two daughters (all start with a ‘D’ so we can really sound da, dah, da when frustrated), two daughters-in-law, one son-in-law and six grand-kids.
Like every marriage, we had to learn (and daily continue) to work as a partnership. There have been hard times financially, health problems, difficulties working with loved ones, and a myriad of aspects that life brings. Over the years we have had countless joy filled experiences, such as fun times camping, traveling a bit, working together in church and community positions, and have always kept God and family as the focus and foundation of our marriage.
When we were married ten years, Stan had traveled to New York for business and had enough travel miles for me to join him. It would be the very first time I had the opportunity to leave the kids and be with just Stan. My mom, our angel, any time we had the chance to go on a trip like that, used her personal vacation time from her work to come and stay with the grand-kids so I could go, as that was our only option. Huge shout-out to my mom Connie everyone!!! Anyway, back to my story. I was positive the plane would crash and we would both die leaving our kids as orphans. It incredibly cool to see a place vastly contrast as New York City compared to Utah, yet the whole time, I kept thinking, “I’ll never see my kids” convinced we would die in a fiery plane crash on the way home, then get teary eyed. After arriving home safe and sound; probably a week or so later, when ‘one-of-those-tough-mom-moments came along, I thought, “I can go happy now – now is good!!!”
Many years ago Stan had business in Florida and I was able to go with him on that trip. When arriving I saw a few raccoon in the garbage cans scrounging for food. I told Stan how funny it was to which he replied, “I lived here as a boy and there are NO raccoon’s in Florida.” (yea, whatever) Later we went to the beach. I am not much of a swimmer so after playing in the water for a bit, I sat so that the water came in and out, always coming to about my waist while Stan swam in the surf. That night as we walked to dinner, I became very uncomfortable. I told Stan I hurt and we realized that the water which had seemed so soothing going up and over me (also in and out of my swimming suit) contained not only ocean water, but tiny bits of coral from the reef not far off the shore, had obviously made teeny weeny cuts. Oh, I wanted Desitin (baby diaper rash ointment) and in the worst way. Being a mom, and this was a few decades ago, it was the only solution I could think of. So as we now started to look for a convenience store, knowing there was no way I could sit on a plane the next day for several hours, we walked over this little bridge in a park hoping to find a store, suddenly countless glowing eyes came out of no where and towards us! There was enough of a street light, that as they came closer we were able to see that we were being surrounded by a gaze of raccoon! I punched Stan in the arm and shouted, “I told you there were raccoon’s in Florida!” A policeman came right about then, probably thinking I was nuts, and told us they were very friendly because people fed them like you would ducks in the park, and asked us please not to do the same. I gritted my teeth in pain, assured him we wouldn’t and asked him very nicely where we would find a store as we nervously went through the raccoon. Geez…..and yes, we did find the Desitin….
We had the wonderful opportunity to go with a company Stan worked for to Cabo. One night we decided to walk along the beach and it just so happened that a wedding ceremony was being preformed. They had it beautifully set up with torches, a backdrop that fit the scene perfectly and the bride and groom looked amazing. We watched from afar, so as not to be in their way, thinking how romantic it all way. It was a very dark night, not a star was shining, but you could hear the waves lightly crashing onto the beach and the rocks on the shore. All of the sudden a huge wave engulfed Stan and me with such force, it pushed us all the way to where the wedding was happening! As the water hit, it shoved us down and we rolled right into the guests! We stood up and realizing we were now standing in the middle of the wedding guests and the ceremony mid progress, we apologized and burst out laughing. We couldn’t stop laughing, as we made out exit – as quick as possible.
Here is our advice for a lasting marriage: not in order of importance, except last 5 are critical. These do not take into account situations of abuse, etc., which please seek professional help.
- We agree on the important things – religion is number one, politics helps, and so on.
- We don’t take ourselves too seriously. Life is just easier that way.
- Pick our battles – always ask yourself before beginning a fight or tossing the first angry word:
1- Is this going to matter in a week? If you answer yes, then –
2- Ask, is this going to matter in a month? If you answer yes, then –
3- Ask yourself, is this going to matter in 6 months? If you answer yes, then –
4 – Will it matter in a year? If you answer yes, you’d better make sure you are being honest with yourself and not —————prideful or selfish and handle with caution.
We keep romance alive and this is very important (this is from Stan and insists I must put it, but I’m blushing: “We still have fun in the dark”). The physical aspect is important. All who know us will recognize the picture of us standing at the Grand Canyon can see that I am trying to get Stan to quit patting my backside as he is always doing. Annoying sometimes, but mostly I know he is still attracted to me. Make sure to keep the sexual bond strong and healthy between the two of you; take the time, go to a hotel, whatever you have to do.
- Don’t let the kids get between you. They will to make their situation easier.
- It took two of you to bring a child into this world, it take two of you to raise them.
- Be unified with your spouse in front of the kids. Discuss later and change direction/course later if necessary. Do not talk this out in front of them.
- Both must let go of selfishness and turn ‘me’ to ‘we’. A good marriage NEVER revolves around one of the spouses.
- The BEST gift you can give your children is to LOVE your wife/husband.
- Never criticize or put down your spouse to others. It is demeaning and serves no purpose. When you have an issue, take it to them in private and have a constructive conversation. That builds trust and respect.
- Do not allow, extended family, friends, coworker, not ANYONE to come between you and your spouse in a way that would detract from a wholesome and thriving marriage.
- Serve the other regularly, meaning daily. Not including the regular stuff like dishes, etc. Do something such as a small treat, wash their car, etc.
- Date regularly. Try to have a date once a week to keep the relationship strong, even if it’s after the kids are in bed at home. While on the date NO talking about kids, bills, etc.!!! That’s a rule!!!
- BE HAPPY AND FUNNY with each other. It’s OK to relax, be spontaneous and impulsive. Sometimes even in a ‘discussion’ it can help temper down the level of frustration.
- Tease and let the other laugh. Make it a point to laugh EVERY SINGLE DAY with your sweetie.
- Be loyal and worthy of trust. There is nothing of more value and of higher importance than knowing your spouse can trust you with their emotions, their secrets, their love, their life. If their is a breach in this relationship, please seek help immediately, both the offender and the victim.
- Allow the other space for hobbies and outside interests, however DO NOT ABUSE THIS KINDNESS. A bit of time to be an individual, developing with your own talents, apart from the family strengthens the relationship and helps rejuvenate the husband/wife. With this being said, it should NEVER so much time or money that it is at the expense of the spouse or the family which is selfless and righteous part of the marital equation.
- Enjoy the hard times as much as possible and REMEMBER THE GOOD TIMES! Write them down and read them when the going is tough to help pull you through. Do not forget!!!
- PRAY TOGETHER every single day.
- Pray FOR each other and how you can best help your sweetheart and how you can be a better spouse.
- LOVE your sweetheart and treat them as they CAN be and they will become that. Remember, to lose yourself, and love as God loves are the greatest gifts YOU can give.
- Keep God and His commandments as the foundation of your marriage, for the highest success. He wants you triumph, be married for your life, be HAPPY and be a treasure to each other. There is NOTHING more important than family, and it begins with husband and wife.
Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015
Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today
A Mother’s Shadow’ a novel by Carrie Groneman