Those Crazy Kids
A childhood friend of mine posted this story on Facebook today. Her parents are celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary and this message was her gift to them. I thought it was brilliant and inspirational and I asked her if it would be okay if I shared it here on my blog. I think people today forget what it takes to make a marriage work. They do not have a grasp on the concept that it actually does take work. Over 50% of marriages today end in divorce because couples give up and part ways immediately when problems arise. I think we can all learn a lesson from Mr. and Mrs. Thomas on how to make a marriage fulfilling and last a lifetime. Here is their story in their daughters words…
45 Years – No Take Backs – by Erin Thomas Schyck
My crazy parents have stuck it out with each other for 45 years. FORTY-FIVE. I mean, sometimes 45 minutes with my significant other makes me think I need admittance into a secure ward. So…
In lieu of a card this year (or any year apparently because while Mom taught me to remember dates and send cards, my Dad taught me that someone else will remember dates and send cards, so I blame Mike), I thought I’d reflect on what their 45 years of marriage has taught me. Some of the memories may be made up as there is much of my childhood I apparently imagined, but they’ll set me straight eventually. I love you so Mom and Dad!
1. Surprise each other. One of the best memories I have of my parents’ relationship is that Dad would hide little packs of Sweettarts around the house for Mom to find. They were her favorite candy; a bag of them didn’t break the bank, and it let her know he was thinking about her. Sometimes I would find them and eat them first. Sorry Mom. Dad really WAS thinking about you that day. I just was thinking about you MORE. I mean, I wanted your teeth to stay cavity free, so really I loved you more than Dad did. But that was a huge lesson. Surprise each other. Dance in the kitchen. Sing “Running Bear” in harmony at an unexpected moment. Spontaneously organize the kitchen in such a way that only one of you can get down the big skillet and ask that person to do that when they are already busy doing something else.
2. Look at your money together. Don’t leave the your money issues to one person. Each month, sit together and go over what’s going to pay what and how much you have to donate to your favorite daughter. Kidding. Well, not kidding. Give your ten percent without fail. Now, I never actually learned those money lessons well because A) numbers and math and B) I grew up in the 80’s when the lesson I learned from EVERY OTHER THING ON THE PLANET was to spend it all on stuff you want, but I am trying to get back to those fundamentals. Look at your money together. See where you are. Make plans for the future.
3. Take care of others. Several friends have read the book about the five love languages. My parents love language is service, and they have always lived it. When there is a need, they fill it. They are active in their church doing all manner of things for others. Dad works at Habitat; Mom helps friends get places they need to be and do things that need to be done. There has NEVER been a week that has passed when they weren’t showing their love for God and each other by loving others. Take care of others. Help others. Love others.
4. Take care of your family. The love my parents showed for each of their parents as they aged is unparalleled. That’s all I’m going to say. It’s hard, but it is what we are here for. OHANA. Ohana means family and family means no one gets left behind.
5. Eat breakfast for dinner once in a while. And not just the cereal I put out on the table. Omelets. Biscuits and gravy. Bacon. Lots of bacon. Orange juice and milk. Sit, enjoy, even each night is a new beginning.
6. Don’t talk in church. A very specific memory I have is the day my brother and I got in trouble for talking in church. I know it is hard to believe that there is a time that I wouldn’t be able to be quiet, but it is true. My parents are both in the choir, so Greg and I had to sit in the front pews so they could keep an eye on us. Every service, I would sit there and whisper to Greg the whole time. We’d get in trouble, fussed at, lectured, paddled occasionally. It was an embarrassment to my parents, but if you know me, well – you know that I talk to myself in the middle of a crowd, so being quiet is just HARD. One beautiful sunny, cool Sunday, Greg and I had been talking about what fun we were going to have after church. Our whisper voices reached my dad’s ear for the last time. As the last hymn trailed off, he swooped down out of the loft. His robes were like the wings of Death and the look in his eye matched. He yanked us to the car and told us we would be spending our Sunday writing sentences. SENTENCES! 500 times of “I will not talk in church. I will not talk in church. I will not talk in church.” Oh the horror! My hand cramped halfway through. My butt hurt from sitting on the hard chair. By the end, I had resolved to never talk in church again because LOOK AT THE DAY WE WERE MISSING! At the final sentence, I ran from my room to turn in my paper so I could go and play. As I tore down the hall, I glanced in Greg’s bedroom and he was only about 100 sentences in. OMG! Hurry up I hissed! He looked up for a second with tears in his eyes then kept on writing. Luckily, I put my selfishness away and remembered that my parents taught me to TAKE CARE OF YOUR FAMILY. And since it was usually my fault that my brother was in trouble, I sat beside him and helped him finish his sentences. We didn’t get to go outside that sunny day, but we never talked in church again.
7. Thank people. Write thank you notes. Write them well and often. OR write them a poem. OR call them on the phone. Tell your friends you are thinking of them, that you love them. Tell people in your church that you appreciate them. Thank a teacher. Thank your children. Thank your wife or husband. Thank people. Be kind.
8. Go to the movies and get the BIG popcorn. Movies are meant to be experienced with popcorn. Just suck it up that it will cost $150 to do so. GET THE POPCORN ERIN!
9. Don’t be lazy or idle. Our purpose here is to serve others – whether it is family or friends, strangers or acquaintances. Work. Serve. And do the job you are assigned or have chosen; do it well and with grace and passion. Do your chores the same way because it all serves a higher purpose. Even laundry. Even dishes. Even memo writing. Work – do your assigned task. Go the extra mile. Don’t be lazy and don’t stand idle.
10. Above all, enjoy life. Have fun. My mom loves to play games, so Greg and I played real live board games with her as kids. Mom and Dad both love to fish, so we went fishing. They still fish, and Greg often goes with them. Greg and Dad hunt together. Mom and I gossip-I mean TALK- together. My husband goes piddling around with Dad. I drink coffee and watch Mom make word magic with crossword puzzles. Mom and Dad cook together, clean together, but take separate trips to the mall. After 45 years, they still enjoy each other and the people around them. ENJOY LIFE. ENJOY EACH OTHER. HAVE FUN because #LOVEWINS