Advice From 52 Years of Marriage

I just got sidetracked at the grocery store for 20 minutes… I went in for one thing, thinking I’d be in and out quickly.

(If you care, I was buying my wife flowers. Want some extra marriage advice? Buy your wife flowers. Like, today. Even just cheap grocery store flowers. I didn’t realize how meaningful this was to my wife, but it makes her happy for days.)

As I walked in, I was moving quick: a man on a mission. I was not expecting what I got…

When I came to the flower section, there was an older woman there. She looked like she was struggling to open the bouquet bag to put some flowers in, so I asked her if she needed a hand.

“Not unless you want to come out to the cemetery with me and put these at my husband’s grave…”

Whew! Heavy comment. I smiled, not really knowing what to say and she softened up a bit, starting to tell me all about her husband, John.

I’m not one for standing around the grocery store chatting, but she had me intrigued. She told me she had been bringing fresh flowers out to his grave almost every day for the past year since he had passed. I was impressed by her dedication, so I asked, “What’s your secret? How did you guys make the love last?”

Almost without pausing to think, she said, “Let things go. Don’t stay mad.” Simple, solid advice.

She continued, “You can get mad at each other, but commit to being a team. Walk away for a bit and then come back and let it go. None of the things you get mad about will matter for long.”

You may have heard advice similar to this before- I have. I’ve even given this advice repeatedly to guys I talk to. But it’s different coming from a 52 year veteran. I could feel the weight and power in what she was saying as I looked at her. She didn’t bring fresh flowers to his grave almost daily for a year out of obligation This is a woman who was in a deeply loving relationship, and she’s giving us all the key, if we’re paying attention.

And then she went for the kill, hammering it home with a sentence that gave me chills: “Nothing that I would have been mad about then matters at all now.”

Morbid, but exactly how I needed to hear it. Almost all of the things that we get mad at now won’t matter at all 5 years from now, or 10 years, or 52 years. I’ve had fights with my wife that resulted in us not talking for 3 days. I can’t remember what a single one of them was about, proving my new friend’s point. And we wasted days of our lives clinging to our anger.

When you’re on your deathbed, do you think you’ll to feel justified in not speaking to your wife for days? Or would you trade everything to have those 3 days back to do over?

It’s a bit depressing, but maybe that’s exactly the question you need to hear right now. It was exactly what I needed. And I’ll forever be appreciative to a man I never met, for loving his wife in a such a way that she couldn’t help but talk about him to a random stranger in the grocery store.

Let’s help spread John’s legacy by taking this lesson to heart. Let’s commit to “let things go” in our marriage. Yes, there will be times we need to address problems, times our anger is justified. But, lets ask ourselves, Is this going to matter after 52 years of marriage? And if not, let it go.

Remember: "There is no challenge strong enough to destroy your marriage as long as you are both willing to stop fighting against each other and start fighting for each other.”
-Dave Willis

If this resonates, you may want to check out Episode 97 of the Trail Blazers & Chain Breakers podcast, "How To Repair Your Relationship in 2024"

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Lessons, advice & perspectives from my mistakes as a father to challenge you & hold you accountable to becoming the Hero in your family's story, not the Villain.

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