I had to share this experience relayed by Greg Olson. May it warm your heart and inspire your marriage.
Thank You Greg!
"Let me share some sage advice I got from a patient several years ago.
She and her husband were at the clinic on their 75th anniversary (he was
95 and she was 94 years old). He
walked her down the hall, holding onto her like she was the most
important person in his world and helped her up onto the exam table.
told her that he would be right next door and to “holler” if she needed
anything. He was the consummate gentleman and his love was conveyed
through every touch, word, and tone. She was a lady of grace who was
accustomed to being treated well by the man who loved her. When I
entered the room she said, “Wish me a Happy 75th doctor! I’m here for my
one year checkup.” I knew that she knew something, and I wanted to know
what it was.
I asked her the secret for happiness and longevity
and she gave me a classic reply, “Alzheimer’s” she said with a chuckle.
“You need to know what to remember and what to forget. Don’t hold on to
ammunition from an old argument to fire at your husband during the next
one.” So, I interpreted that to mean that I should not be keeping score.
Her next point was that two people should go into marriage with both
eyes wide open, and then after the vows they should close one eye tight,
squint with the other and quit focusing on faults. I took that to mean
that I could choose to look for the strengths or the weaknesses and that
my choice should be to see the good and help my wife be stronger---she
was making waaaay too much sense.
Finally she said, “Do you court
your wife doctor?” to which I replied, “Yah, sorta, we go to dinner
sometimes.” She said, “That is not courtin’!” She asked me what kind
of things I had done to demonstrate to my wife how I truly felt about
her and why I wanted to build a life with her.
I could see that her
point was that a healthy marriage needed just as much energy, effort,
and attention to maintain it as it did to create it in the first place.
“My husband has asked me out on a date for every Friday night for 75
years, except for 1943, 1944, and 1945.
Do you know why he didn’t ask
me out then?” she asked. I told her that he must have been in the
military during WWII. “That’s right, he was overseas. He wrote me a
letter every day that he was gone---every day.” “If you don’t keep
courtin’ your wife she will take you to court.” From her practiced tone
it was evident that she had given this advice before.
I share this
not because I do each of these things perfectly, but because I am still
applying what she told me twenty years ago. Every so often I stop and
reevaluate how I am doing on my end of the marriage. I always come up
with things that I want to do better.
That is a great secret that needs
to be shared. It is not what I am getting from my marriage, it is what I
am putting into it that makes me happy, or sad, or dissatisfied. I can
only work on my 100%. There are always challenges, problems,
irritants, and issues to be resolved, but my gift to the woman I love is
to improve myself for her. She has always done the same.
We are happy
in our marriage because love requires work and lots of effort to thrive
and we are willing to do it. We have also found it helpful to forgive
each other more quickly and move forward more steadily. When I am 95 I
want my wife to look at me the way my patient looked at her husband. I
better hurry up and ask her on a date this week!"
~ Greg Olson, 2015,1