Thursday, September 9, 2010

Steve's Inimitable Take on Marriage

Just as I promised, today I'm featuring a guest writer here at Smithellaneous, one that I am well acquainted with and can recommend to you for wise and insightful advice on marriage. I also happen to know that he is married to a really fabulously wonderful woman.

(And might I just add that if you leave several thousand comments saying how much you enjoyed this piece, he might even be compelled to guest post more often!)

And now, I present to you . . . . Steve Smith.

Ok, so, um Queen Rebecca has asked (commanded?) me to respond to a great question written by a Smithellane-ite about, “How we stay happy together” with associated germane tips and/or advice.

Firstly, our marriage is not perfect; no such marriage exists. But our marriage continues to grow. That-being-said[1], we do hereby and forthwith step down off of any and every pedestal of perfection. Only Jesus gets that prize.

Secondly, both of our parents and their parents were married 50 plus years (some 60 plus years!) before one of them died. That is quite an example. None of them was/is perfect but they were/are committed Christians who also know how it is to “run with feet of clay.”[2] They persevered through hellish times, forgave and put up with each other and overcame daunting obstacles.

Thirdly, Becky and I were friends before the bonfires of romance kindled and we remain best friends to this day. This does not happen by accident, but by intention. “Good marriages may be made in heaven, but they are maintained on earth.”[3]

Fourthly, we have sought out Christian marriage counseling during several seasons of our marriage. The first was during a time when we were stressed by the behavior of others that threatened to tear at our love. And then there was Sarah’s cancer journey. Eighty percent of child-cancer couples divorce. We sought Christian counseling individually and together because the thing was bigger than we. Us. (Not sure which usage is correct.)

Fifthly, we make the bed together almost every day; we learned this from Dr. and Mrs. Charles Cookman, (Charles Cookman is the late leader of our denominational state office. His wife's name started with an “E” but I can’t remember it.[4] I do remember, though, that he always called her “My Queen.”)

Sixthly, we both love words, reading, songwriting, singing and communication in general. This helps to keep conversations lively.

Seventhly, we insist on a family meal, sans electronic entertainments, several times a week. We do our best to ignore the phone during meals, too.

Eighthly, we have both needed forgiveness from each other and have both given forgiveness.

Ninthly, we both try to not nag each other with the little stuff. We praise each other in front of others and never, ever, criticize each other publically, even in fun.

Tenthly, we have both learned to laugh at ourselves.

Eleventhly, I like the sound of this word. It kind of bunches up on the tongue when I say it. Maybe I just made it up. Hopefully I will receive royalties from Webster’s Dictionary for it.

Twelfthly, we are both committed to helping the other to fulfill their dreams and God-given potential. (Hey, Beck. . . about that two seat roadster. . .and the flying lessons. . . )

Thirteenthly, we waited a few years after marriage to have kiddiwinkies. This helped us to get to know each other and to do some growing up. Which we needed.

Fourteenthly, we do not bring up negative stuff at the dinner table. Dinner is a time of renewal, celebration, rest and connection. (This one could have been part of the seventhly part, but I’m getting paid by the word.)

Fifteenthly, we write stuff in our greeting cards to each other at birthdays, holidays, etc. How can I expect Hallmark to know what I want to say? Besides those cards are often filled with smarmy rhymes.

Sixteenthly, we have maintained healthy boundaries with extended family.

Seventeenthly, I am willing to go to a chick flick with her and she will go with me to see things blow up. However, she does prefer that the action flicks have character development. (Huh? Is that even possible?)

Eighteenthly, we are both active listeners and actively listen to each other; though she is better at it than I am.

Nineteenthly, I’m almost done.

Twentyteenthly, we discuss purchases with each other to help keep the spending in line.

Twentyoneteenthly, . . .this is how my sermons end. They just kinda wind down and peter out, generally leaving the congregation either stunned or comatose.

Twentytwoteenthly, I’m done.

[1] Dashes are one of my hobbies because they are cheap. . . for that matter so are ellipses.

[2] I’ve no idea who said this, but it makes me feel spiffy to do another footnote: collegiate-like, ya know?

[3] Author unbeknownst; I wish I had thought of it. If no one else claims it; I made it up.

[4] Oh, I remembered while trying to think of a witty fortheenthly; her name is Esther.

27 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Sue G said...

Bravo, Steve! You managed to impart some important info while single-handedly mangling the counting skills of untold youth who might be reading.

Honor, respect, love, commonality. That about sums it up.

Short way. Your way was much more fun.

Anonymous said...

Love it and you actually made me realize my husband and I do quite a few of those things already so I know we are on the right road, and we are happy together but not perfect!

Vicky Elder said...

Thanks, Steve! I find my husband and I follow several of your examples, also. It can be a rough road, but after 37 plus years I know how worth it the road is!

Ferrell said...

"Twentytwoteenthly?" Really? Sounds like one of my sermons!

Excellent word bro!! WOW, so much wisdom. What makes your message so powerful is that everyone who knows, knows this marriage has been tested by FIRE...and each test only made it stronger!

I love you both and I marvel at the awesomeness of our God every time I think of you!!

Anonymous said...

Ferrell, my friend. Thanks for the encouragement. How much did I agree to pay you for the nice words?

MaryH said...

Great list - wish I would have had it in my early marriage - wish my ex-husband would have wanted to read it and take it to heart - wish my daughter and son-in-law had read it before they married, even before becaming engaged and seriousteenthly, I am in awe of any lasting, good marriage now - some in my family, some of my good friends, some I just hear about - but all were work and I applaud anyone who stuck it out and fought through and found the good that was always there. I didn't, I learned a lesson and wish I had a second shot at it.

Now, about the numbers, about Roman numerals - I love them - they are not used frequently, anywhere now - I don't even know if they are taught but I love Roman numerals - they make you think, add and subtract and they just look cool.

Thank you Steve. Please come again.

Anonymous said...

loved it! makes me want to come hear him preach! :)

Karo said...

Love it! And love the sense of humor both of you have. That has to make marriage more fun. :)

simplykristi said...

That was great, Steve! I hope to read more entries from you.

Chris P. said...

Steve, this is wonderful!

deb said...

Humor mixed with profound truth--my favorite combination! Loved your writing. I'm a fan even if I am a relative!

Your numbering system was a hoot and the line about your sermons leaving your audience either stunned or comatose made me laugh out loud.

I think another reason your marriage works is simply because you're both NUTS. Love you that way!:-)

Love, Deb

Anonymous said...

Thanks Steve, very well written. I agree with them all except maybe the making bed thing. I am an early riser and my hubby has always enjoyed his sleep. Our bed would never get made until late in the day...our rule, last one out makes the bed. Hope to hear from you again in the near future. Anna

LizW said...

Well said, Steve! My very wise grandfather gave us some very similar advice when we were married all those decades ago, and we have made it 43 years. We can always use the reminders, however - thanks! You put a smile on my face. Wish you and Becky were my neighbors up here in the north country. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

I love this Steve! I do think my husband and I do most of these. I'll have him read them and see if he agrees! Would also love to hear one of your sermons.

Guerrina said...

Steve, you always make me laugh...not from your content, but from your presentation! Wise offerings based on years of experience. Maybe someday I'll get another chance to do it right! Hope you guest post again.

Guerrina in Ledyard, CT

Anonymous said...

Reading your words just brings back memories of talking to you in person. Always an exciting event and a learning experience! You have so many words of wisdom and so much knowlege. Touring the wild horse trip was amazing with your comments along with Becky's. Just in case anyone is wondering Steve is a blast to be around! I can't tell you how happy Chlorita and I will be to attend your service when we are back in the Outer banks next month! I think it will be the highlight of our trip! Just spending any time with the Smith family is always an amazing adventure! Please continue to guest blog!

Cindy from Sonoma

Anonymous said...

Very entertaining and informative!
Thanks too for the chuckles.
You must all have such fun all seem to have such a great sense of humor.

Ann Martin said...

Thanks, Steve. Great advice. Now, if I can just remember them.

jenny said...

Great job, Steve. You made me laugh out loud AND think about what's really important. I'm blessed to be married to my best friend too. Isn't God great?

Anonymous said...

What an awesome testament of a marriage that works so well. I think too many people go into marriage expecting it to be perfect. There is no such thing as a perfect marriage, and when things start to veer from the "perfect path" it's way too easy in our culture to just give up and move on.

Thank you for the witty advice!!

Gayle in AL

Anonymous said...

Yup everything you said was right on. the only exception was the making the bed thing, Rene & I do the opposite, no one makes it! Does that count? Also you'll have to talk to your cuz about the chick flick thing. I can't talk him into it, the opposite though is true. I watch the movies with guns and action, I'm also afraid that I'm getting used to them! If there's no fighting in the movie I feel jipped. Glad to see you're both so happy after all these years. So many marriages don't last that long or the people are not happy. I feel like we are a dying breed!
Respectfully submitted by
Cousin Andrea

becky m said...

your husband really does like to use words, esp number ones...some reasons weren't a reason...i love it! hope he guests again.

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