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  June 3, 2011
Happily Ever After...


Last Saturday morning I found myself in the audience of a wedding.  It was a small backyard affair with about 35 attendees.  This event was in essence a "do-over", in that they had actually been married in a civil ceremony almost a year ago back in the Midwest.  The day was really a celebration with loved ones.

I sat there thinking to myself as I listened to the bride and groom recite their simple vows in front of the assembled family and friends:

"I Charles, take you Stephanie to be my wedded wife.  To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer and poorer, in sickness and health, to love and to cherish, until death do us part."

To which the bride responded with her vows back to her husband...

Here was a young man/women devoting the rest of their lives to someone that they may have known for only a relative short time but today they are in love and the rest of their lives lay before them.

The odds are against them making it together until death.  More than fifty percent of those who recite those same vows never make it to the "until death do us part" chapter.  Today they seem so happy.

As I sat there thinking about love and marriage, I wondered what great wisdom I would bestow upon this couple if given the chance. 

After nearly 50 years on this planet, I would share the following ideas that I try to follow based strictly on my own experiences:

  • Ask lots of questions and really listen to the answers -  People want to be heard.  In doing so, you are looking for opportunities to solve issues before they become problems and hopefully making them happy in the process.  Every couple should take time each day to talk...both reporting (talking about external events and people) and sharing (talking about what going on between the ears). Reporting is important...but so is sharing.
  • Try to think about the consequences of your actions before you do something - As hard as it might sound, emotional control is something that needs to be developed to sustain long-lasting relationships.  Walk away before saying or doing something that you could regret later.
  • Don’t judge - Everyone has their own set of hopes, dreams, and fears.  By judging you’re saying that your perspective and opinions are better than someone else.  It’s okay to disagree from time to time...to get a different opinion...a different paradigm.  Who knows...maybe you might learn something from the other person.
  • Forgive others - Allow people to make mistakes...everyone makes mistakes, errors in judgment, and/or mental lapse.  No one is perfect.  Try to have a short memory.  Time does heal wounds. 
  • Remember to take care of yourself - Everyone needs a "mental break" every so often.  Allow quiet time for yourself so you can think and reflect.  Keep yourself in good physical shape...you only have one body...take care of it by eating well and having some daily physical activity as a part of your life.  Moderate the bad things entering your body. 
  • Keep learning - Try to learn something new each and every day. Learn something from a book or other media.  Have conversations with others to gather new ideas.  Learn something new about your significant other.  Each night go to bed with more knowledge than when you woke up that same day. 
  • Keep the trust - Trust your significant other to do well by you.  Once trust is broken it’s hard to regain.  Don’t do anything that might jeopardize the trust others have place in you.  More important that anything...marriage is about giving your heart to someone else with the trust that they won’t break it.  Don’t be afraid to give someone your trust...don’t be careless with the trust once you have it.
These ideas were developed from my own experiences and I do not offer them up as advice to anyone else.  I’m sure that everyone has their own opinion as to what constitutes a successful marriage.  These are just a few things I’ve learned while sharing this planet with six billion other people over the last half-century. 

Also, the ideas I listed are in no way complete. I’m absolutely quite certain that I missed scores of other thoughts and ideas...perhaps thousands!  Everyone has their own ideas how to live their lives and that’s a good thing.   

Congratulations to Stephanie and Charles.  I truly hope you lead a blessed life and find yourself in love "until death do you part".

Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where we hope you and yours have a storybook life living "happily forever after".

Jim Kalb

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