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A Long Line of Love

Written By: Renee Liming  |  Posted: Sunday, July 31st, 2016

I come from a long line of love

When the times get hard we don't give up
Forever is in my heart and in my blood
You see I come from a long line of love

(written by~ Michael Martin Murphy)

          As I listened to Joey + Rory Feek sing these lyrics I reflected on the fact that I have come from a long line of love. We have a picture of my great-great grandparents 50th wedding anniversary hanging on our family history wall. I remember going to my grandparents' and parents' 50th wedding anniversary celebrations. Next year, we will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. This made me wonder what advice I wouldI give to our oldest daughter who got engaged in June to be married next July. What lessons have I learned during my marriage?

          My mother's advice to me still holds true; she would to tell me, "Renee, don't go into a relationship expecting someone to change. People seldom change. If you don't like something about them now, it will only magnify as time goes on."

          Kelly Flanagan explains it best in his blog, 'How to Accept the Things That Drive Us Crazy in a Marriage.' He says that opposites attract because we are always seeking wholeness. We spend most of our marriages trying to change our spouses. Ironically the most important change we can make is to accept more of the good but crazy-making things about each other. We begin by looking for someone to complete us, and we end up wishing we had someone who was identical to us. We're often attracted to the qualities in a spouse that we don't have in ourselves. Marriage is work and it requires compromise and sacrifice and the creation of something new, instead of the preservation of something old. Over time instead of appreciating the differences, we start trying to eliminate them, we prefer the ease of incompleteness to the toil of completion. Being completed isn't about me, being completed is about we. Together, we complete us, we are more powerful as two, stronger as a whole, and exponentially greater than the sum of our parts. Opposites tend to attract, but what brings us together in the first place can wear on us over the years. Differences are good, embrace the differences and remember why you fell in love in the first place.

          I think that all newlyweds should read the book, "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman, or if they don't read the book, at minimum take the 30 question quiz to figure out your significant other's primary love language. The five love languages are: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. My love language is acts of service, so I appreciate it when my husband does little things for me like washing my vehicle. Mine isn't receiving gifts, so bringing home flowers every week isn't necessary. If the spouse's love language is quality time, they may appreciate alone time with you, maybe take a walk or have a picnic in the park. If the 'love tank' is filled at home, then they won't go looking elsewhere for it to be filled up.

          Another key piece of advice would be the importance of communication. Know and understand that men and women communicate differently because our brains are hardwired differently. In general, most men tend to compartmentalize issues, concerns and emotions, meaning that they keep issues separate. Man is a problem solver by nature. Women are relational and all issues are interrelated. Women talk to connect everything. If a woman initiates the conversation, the man should prepare himself to go on a journey. If a man initiates the conversation, the woman should prepare to stay in the box. As long as the spouses realize that they communicate differently and truly understand the differences, the relationship should have less conflicts.

          Your mindset has to be that this is forever; I only get married once, this is not a trial run. Marriage is hard work, but if you work at it and cultivate it, you will reap the rewards of a long and happy union. I would suggest one date a week; it can be a dinner and a movie at home or going to the free concert series in the park. It definitely doesn't need to cost a lot of money.

          None of my grandparents or aunts and uncles have been divorced. We have had great role models that have gone before us. We take our vows seriously, to be true in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love and honor you all the days of my life. Yes, we do come from a long line of love.

          Renee Liming is the owner of Lesson for Tomorrow,  which focuses on helping people write their life stories.  Email her at renee@lessonsfortomorrow.com

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