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What’s Your Advice?

            “This is our 50th anniversary picture,” I told Tour Guide who held Husband’s camera.

“Really?” the young man said.  “50 years? Move to the left a little and I have a question after pictures.”

            At the beginning of 2019, I declared the year an anniversary celebration, but this day, August 3, was our wedding date. Husband and I stood on a mountain road in Montenegro overlooking the Adriatic Sea, thousands of miles from the church in Tennessee where we married. 

            Tour Guide handed Husband the camera and said, “I got several pictures. I can’t believe you’ve been married 50 years.  I want to ask my girlfriend to marry me.  What’s your advice?” 

            Husband and I responded simultaneously.  He said, “Compromise.”  I said, “Commitment.”  Husband added, “Pick your battles,” and I said, “Commit forever.”  A friend travelling with us chimed in, “You’ll both make mistakes. Just don’t make a big deal out of them.” 

            “Yes. Overlook. That’s my second word of advice,” I said.  Tour Guide walked with me, talked about his girlfriend, and said he wanted an old-fashioned, traditional family life.  He asked that I repeat our advice. Compromise. Commitment. Overlook.  Husband’s and my responses were spontaneous, and since that day I’ve thought of those words.   

Compromise.  Our home thermostat is set at 71 degrees.  Husband wears long pants and a lightweight fleece.  I wear shorts and a short sleeve t-shirt.  When Husband isn’t home for a few days, the thermostat is 68 on winter days, 70 on hot days, and down to 65 on cold nights. Husband moves the setting up when I’m out of town and sheds his fleece.  Some compromises are daily; some are once a lifetime.

            Commitment. I said, “I, Susan, take you, Allen, to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death.  This is my solemn vow.”  I pledged to be with Husband no matter what happens. A minister told a bride and groom at the end of their wedding ceremony, “You made promises to each other while God and your family and friends listened.  Now, keep them!”  Our trials haven’t been major, but we’ve endured stressful days, weeks, years and knowing that Husband and I value our vows has eased those times.  A promise is a promise. 

Overlook.  Thankfully, Husband overlooks mistakes.  Like the time our car insurance bill was sky high.  Both our children were teen-agers and, assuming the extremely high charge was for Son, I fumed and ranted.  Husband calmly pointed out that the children’s billings were the same and my insurance had increased.  He let me conclude that three recent speeding tickets had made me an insurance risk.  Mistakes happen – sometimes based on poor judgment.

            Husband and I agree that compromise, commitment, and overlooking have stood us well in our marriage.  But relationships are based on one word.  At the end of the tour, I said to Tour Guide, “You know a marriage is about love and love shows itself in many ways. Just love her.” ####