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Marriage 101:Perfect Oops! Real Life Marriage

Jennifer Hallmark,

Wow! I have been asked to write a series of articles about lasting relationships. I guess they mean the 26 years of my perfect marriage with no arguments, fights, disagreements, every day just a day from a 1950’s family sitcom. Yes, I guess that is what they wanted me to write about…

Jennifer Hallmark
What? I have to be honest? Really?

That will change a lot but honestly, don’t you want reality? Are you just a little tired of the magazines that promise you five steps to a perfect marriage or three steps to better relationships? I am and that is why we will simply discuss real life…no psychiatrist or counseling sessions…just a real married person who is really basically happy [we won’t discuss the toilet seat] and how life is truly day to day in any relationship.

The coming months will bring discussions in commitment, fun, date nights, coping with loss, the 100% principle and other subjects of interest told in the light of personal stories to help you connect and relate…no formulas and no $200 an hour fee…whew! What a relief! Oh, and just for the record, my husband Danny knows I am writing these articles and is reading them. Talk about censorship…

Today I just want to discuss one thing that has helped me to stay married that you have to have in your mind from the very start. That is…the ideal marriage and your thoughts about that. Many of us have in mind when we decide to marry an idealistic scenario of the way marriage is and should be and will be…talk about setting yourself up for failure!

My scenario was never-ending romance, just like in the movies where everyday would be roses and sweet nothings whispered and I would always occupy first place in his mind. I also pictured our first few years of marriage with me working and Danny would continue his factory job and farm with his father on the side, children would come along, I would be a stay-at-home mom wearing pearls when I vacuumed just like June Cleaver…

You have already guessed that I was in for a rude awakening, haven’t you? The first six months I was homesick for my parents and old home, he missed being at his folks and we both were dealing with the pressures of running our own household for the first time. It would have been easier if we had already been on our own I guess but we were young and in love and hadn’t seriously considered the bills…

Six months into our marriage we received the devastating news that Danny’s father had cancer and the next three months were spent helping with their farm, hospital visits, and many tense, anxious moments. Two weeks before our ninth month of marriage his father passed away and so did many of the thoughts I had about an idealistic marriage.

As bad as things were in many ways during our first year of marriage, I believe it bonded us in a way little else could have. We had to work as a team to get through so much and still do today.

What I am trying to let you know, especially you newlyweds, is not to get hung up on ideals. While it is good to dream and plan, don’t be so locked in that you cannot adjust when trying times come…for they will. We had a lot of choices to make that first year and one was “are we going through this together?” Our vows were fresh on our minds from the wedding, “for better or worse…richer or poorer…in sickness and in health and now the test had already come. Regardless of the circumstance, we decided we were in this for the long haul and we would try the best we could to work through each event in our lives as they came…together…

What would I do differently after 26 years of marriage? So much change, death, births, so much lost yet so much gained. What would I change? Not a thing…for if I did I might miss out on something that is or has become precious. Like the time we were iced in with no power and had to pull a mattress next to the small wood heater to keep warm. Talk about a way to stay close...

Perfect marriage? Doesn’t exist. Real life, in your face, life changing, fulfilled relationship? Real life marriage does exist. Simply Marriage 101…


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Amy, 2009-02-15 17:15:57
Marriage 101-- I really enjoyed the article and look forward to future articles.

Jean, 2009-02-15 15:26:39
Marriage 101-- I really enyoyed the article, every newly married couple should read the article. It's good for people who are thinking about getting married.

Rejoice, 2009-02-13 11:48:19
Marriage 101-- I really enjoyed the honest aspect of this article. Marriage is work but worth it!


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