September 9th, 2007 11:21 EST
How to Keep A Marriage Filled with Joy: Part 2
This month I want to tell you about Holly and Ron. They are a couple I have only met on the Internet; she is one of my e-mail friends. We met about 8 years ago on a message board about Home and Family Values. At that time, Holly was not married to Ron yet, but they were together longer than most marriages last. They live in a self-designed home on the mid coast of California. Life for these two has become a lifetime dream come true. Carolee: How long are you married?
Holly: 6 years already! We were married May 19, 2001.
Carolee: What made you decide to get married after all the years together?
Holly: I was ready for marriage long before Ron was. I am not really sure what changed his mind -- when I asked him, he just said that reflecting on the number 20 (being the number of years we had been together) kind of scared him. I guess he just decided maybe it was finally safe to commit after all. Carolee: Where did you meet?
Holly: We actually met at a singles workshop. At the end of the day they told us to remove our nametags, write our phone number on it, and give it to someone we had met that day. I gave mine to Ron because he seemed like a nice, sweet man. Carolee: Tell me what makes your relationship different?
Holly: Oh my, there are lots of reasons why our relationship is different. I could write for hours! First of all, we are famous for having "dated" for twenty years before getting married. We actually lived together for about 13 years before getting married, and were a couple for 7 years before living together. So we had lots and lots of experience with each other, LOL!
Also, we are an interracial couple; Ron is Japanese-American and I am European-American. This has, luckily, never been a problem in our experience with anyone giving us a difficult time. Anyone we may have encountered who thinks people should not marry interracially has kept it to themselves. However, our different cultural backgrounds has caused some misunderstandings and discord in our relationship. Most of that we worked through years ago.
Also, we are an interracial couple; Ron is Japanese-American and I am European-American. This has, luckily, never been a problem in our experience with anyone giving us a difficult time. Anyone we may have encountered who thinks people should not marry interracially has kept it to themselves. However, our different cultural backgrounds has caused some misunderstandings and discord in our relationship. Most of that we worked through years ago. Carolee: The marriage vows are in better and worse, please tell me about the better and worse?
Holly: We are very fortunate; most of our life together has been full of "betters" and not too many "worses." The one largest "worse" in our relationship has been Ron's poor relationship with his daughter. I am the one who keeps in touch with her and keeps her in our lives. We have had many discussions about forgiveness and family, but he is one stubborn son of a gun and will not talk to her. So I do it for him. I have been enriched by having her and her children (my grandchildren) in my life.
The "betters" are everywhere in our lives. We are well blessed by God. Our health is good, our finances are stable, we have a wonderful home in a location we chose, we both live life the way we want to. And we have a wonderful marriage! The "betters" are everywhere in our lives. We are well blessed by God. Our health is good, our finances are stable, we have a wonderful home in a location we chose, we both live life the way we want to. And we have a wonderful marriage! Carolee: the saying “I rather marry a person I cannot live without or one I can live with. Which is truer for you?”
Holly: In my case, both are true. Ron is very easy to live with. However, back when we were not married and it looked like we never were going to be, I had to decide if I wanted to be married or if I wanted to be with Ron. Those were my two choices, as I saw it. And I decided I wanted to be with Ron. So, I guess I can't live without him! Carolee: Tell me about the time with your husband that you treasure them most?
Holly: Long walks on the beach. Having dinner at home together with the player piano in the background. Cuddling together after lovemaking. Laughing at the same things. Sharing backrubs (or sometimes foot rubs) while watching TV in the evening. Carolee: Tell me about the time you never want to happen again?
Holly: I never want to get fat and unattractive again. My biggest and best motivation to lose the weight I did was when Ron told me that, while he still loved me, he was no longer attracted to me. That was a huge wake-up call. It doesn't help that he has always been as skinny as a stick, LOL! So I lost the weight and now he tells me all the time how good I look! Carolee: If your husband stayed home 24/7, how would you feel about that?
Holly: He does stay home 24/7, LOL! We work out of the home and are together all day long. Well, we are in the same house, but not always in the same room, of course. I love it. I love having him around all the time. Carolee: Does one of you finish the others thoughts?
Holly: Not usually. We don't really think alike all that much. Carolee: Do you like to better when you are quiet or talking together?
Holly: Both. Carolee: At the end of the day what would you change and what would you keep the same? Holly: We are very compatible, and when we disagree, we are still civil to each other. I think that is really important -- I hate it when I hear couples say nasty things to or about each other.
If I were to change Ron, I would make him less stubborn, though!
If I were to change Ron, I would make him less stubborn, though! Carolee: Tell me how you and your husband are different?
Holly: I am very casual and easygoing. I spend money more easily than he does, and I let things roll off my back without a second glance. I don't stay angry long. He is more precise about everything (he has an engineer's brain), and he researches everything to death before making a purchase (and still researches it after making the purchase, even). He holds onto anger and disappointment longer. Carolee: Opposites attract?
Holly: Perhaps, although our core values are the same. Carolee: How are you the same two peas in a pod?
Holly: As I just said, our core values are the same. Our political opinions are usually the same. We both believe in contributing to society and not being a burden on it. We both believe in spending within our means and not putting anything on credit. Carolee: What makes your marriage something special?
Holly: We make our marriage special. We are special people! : We make our marriage special. We are special people!
Carolee: Tell me more about that?
Holly: Heck, I don't know what I meant by that! Except that I think Ron is pretty special, and he thinks I am, but isn't that true for all married couples? When someone asks why I love Ron, I don't really have a good answer. He has many wonderful qualities, but of course, he isn't perfect -- nor am I. The nice thing about love is we forgive the bad qualities and appreciate the good ones.
He is a warm, loving man, generous to others, smart, has a true passion for his life's work. We are similar in some little and some big ways that can affect a marriage -- we both have a similar approach to saving and spending money. We share a similar tolerance level for how messy the house should get. We share household chores amicably. Our political beliefs are similar. We enjoy the same kinds of entertainment (except for his action movies and my romantic ones, LOL). We also both have separate activities that keep us from too much togetherness -- my Girl Scout volunteerism, his golf. Is all this what makes our marriage work? Maybe it is just how we live our lives and that we've decided to live life together. I cannot imagine it any other way.
Carolee: If you were sick or poor tomorrow (God forbid) how would that affect your marriage?
Holly: I don't know. Of course, we can never really know such a thing. I feel fairly confident that we could weather misfortune together, however. Let's not try it, though, OK? Carolee: What is your definition of Joy in a marriage?
Holly: Joy is how it feels to walk into a room and see your handsome husband after being apart for, say, ten minutes or so. Carolee: Last question how did you stay together so long?
Holly: Neither of us are quitters. When there is a problem, we work it out. There is no other option. ~ I want to thank Holly and Ron for adding to my series on Marriages filled with joy! Just one more couple that has beaten the odds and made a commitment to love, honor and cherish each other that brightens the pattern of life!