Making It Last Forever

To go along with my Sunday Story, In a Heartbeat, I found these great tips I want to remember from F. Burton Howard.
MarriageSometimes with the responsibilities of life, the relationships that matter the most get forgotten. Suggested dos and don’ts for making marriage last forever:

  • Treat your marriage differently than any other relationship by doing something special for one another. Mark often writes me love letters, which I treasure.
  • Don’t make it common or ordinary by doing the same thing. Put some variety in your life.
  • Shield it by being loyal and speaking kindly of one another.
  • Don’t expose it to the elements by betraying personal confidences or private matters.
  • Protect it by being thoughtful and considerate of one another’s feelings.
  • Never abuse it or take it for granted.
  • It’s less likely to become tarnished if you spend quality time together doing things that you both enjoy, but if it does, take time to lovingly polish it until it gleams like new.

I believe marriage or any other relationship “becomes special because you have made it so, and it grows more beautiful and precious as time goes by.”

 

 

 

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Today’s Choices Shape Tomorrow

Today's choices

Three caregiving tips I gained from Dianne’s Story, Caregiving Reflections:

1)      Share the responsibility. After three years of taking care of her aging parents, Dianne proposed a plan to her siblings. Each would take one day to fill the needs of their parents.  Dianne took the extra day in the week meaning she had two days instead of the five to seven that we had been trying to cover before.

2)      Set limits to your time. Dianne’s siblings all had full-time employment which meant many times the assigned person for that day had a work or personal conflict. Because Dianne lived close by, she was often called to fill in when it was hard for others. As the primary caregiver, it is important to set limits and enforce them so you don’t get burnt out.

3)      Live without regrets. Dianne doesn’t have any regrets when it comes to the time and efforts she spent caring for her parents for over five years. She realizes she did her best to fill their needs and appreciates the time she spent with them. I was especially impressed that the family continued checking on their mother even when she was in a care center. I’ve seen many lonely people in care centers because their family does not visit them or make sure they are getting the necessary care.

 

Time Is Your Friend

Recently, Mark stated, “Time is your friend, not your enemy.”

If it’s my friend, then why do I  feel like I’m always in a battle with it? I just don’t have enough of it to do all I’d like to do. You may be thinking, well, we all have the same amount of time! This is partially true. There is sixty seconds to every minute, sixty minutes to every hour, and twenty-four hours to every day. However, none of us knows how many years, days or hours we have in a life-time, which makes it different for each one of us.

In my youth I never thought about it . . . I was invincible and too busy planning all the things I’d achieve in a lifetime, like how many children and grandchildren I’d have, all the wonderful vacation spots I’d see, and all that I’d accomplish in my career.

At age thirty-two I was in a car accident that postpone my plans. The desire to obtain has not changed, but in a single second my direction in life took a dramatic turn. I guess I haven’t fully made peace with the change because the older I get the louder I hear the click of the clock, and see that time is rapidly passing. It seems with age, the disappointment of unfulfilled expectation grows, along with the realization that some things may not be accomplished in this life.

Since the car accident, often, when Mark is asked how things are going, he’ll say, “slow, but sure . . . but, sure slow.” This statement is right on. Every ability Mark has comes slowly, much too slowly for me and for him. However, he steadily works every day for improvement and has done so for the past twenty-two years.

He struggles to do things the rest of us do without thought or effort  like eating, drinking; brushing his teeth, combing his hair; typing or writing; propelling a wheelchair; balancing on the edge of the bed, or rolling over in bed. He has to concentrate and work hard at moving his arms, legs and feet. In other words, what most of us do without thought or effort, Mark works at and it becomes meaningful. Speaking also takes a lot of effort for Mark. Consequently, he chooses his words carefully and says a lot with just a few words.  He thinks before he speaks. A trait I’m trying to cultivate.

Because Mark’s progression is slow, his destination is sure. He knows exactly what he’s working towards and he has a plan how to get there. He feels enormous amounts of joy and fulfillment when he reaches his goals. The time and effort it takes makes his abilities so impressive. Mark is teaching me that when things come slowly they mean more.

Mark has also said, “Time is not an obstacle. When you make peace with time you can think positively about the future.”

I’ve been pondering this statement and have come to the conclusion that this is one reason why Mark is at peace with himself. He understands that time is on his side; he’s not in a race against anyone else. Therefore, he is the most positive person I know.

Faith in timing

One day I asked Mark if he had an age goal he hoped to reach. He answered, “just as long as it takes,” another profound statement.

Mark inspires me and I know he is right. The amount of time we have isn’t what matters. It’s the striving to accomplish, grow, and improve that counts. Mark’s patience teaches me that it doesn’t matter if it comes slow, as long as it’s sure . . . and some times, it sure seems slow!

 I love being married to such a wise man.