Today would be my grandparents’ 61st wedding anniversary.
Sadly, my grandfather passed away very unexpectedly in April. I wrote this post nearly a year ago after asking them to share their tips and tricks for such a long-lasting and happy marriage on their 60th wedding anniversary. I am so grateful to have this marriage advice from both of them. I especially appreciate that I will have my grandfather’s wise words forever. Enjoy.
I don’t know about you, but I think being married for 60 years is basically being married FOREVER. Nowadays, my friends are lucky to stay married five years let alone into the double digits of matrimonial bliss. Sixty years is quite an achievement and this [last] year my grandparents have done just that!
While planning and preparing for their anniversary party in September , I asked each of them to give me a list of tips and tricks that they believe has kept their marriage strong for over a half century. During the party, my mom and I presented their “Best Marriage Tips” woven into their love story. Since we can all probably use some relationship advice from a couple who’s been together for 60 years, I figured why not share it with the world :).
1. “Let each other do their own thing”
Gaga (my grandmother) loves to
gamble “travel” (as she tells her Baptist friends); Papa (my grandfather) loves to golf and attend/watch every sporting event known to man. Neither of them have ever put up a fight about the other doing what they most enjoy. She will happily watch March Madness with him (or leave him alone to do so) until her eyes fall out and he sends her off to gamble with a lucky $100 bill every. single. trip. This is an act of service for each of them because she could care less about sports (much like myself) and he would rather light his money on fire than gamble it for entertainment. Neither have EVER said a negative word about the other’s favorite hobby. They honor one another in this way by maintaining individuality in their relationship.
2. “Don’t buy anything on credit”
While I think this idea can somewhat be utilized nowadays (and certainly during the majority of their lives), this is a tough piece of advice to take literally. They’ve always practiced this idea of waiting to buy something until they have the money to buy it. I know, this sounds foreign to many of you – ha. This strong financial stance they’ve taken has definitely influenced my life and purchasing decisions and shaped our family for the better because of it.
This point probably could also read “consult one another on all purchases” or “have the same financial philosophy.” They truly utilize the idea of partnership when it comes to money and financial decisions, as it should be. Money is the number one problem or point of contention in most marriages and divorces. The fact that they are on the same page in this department is vital.
Money cannot buy happiness, but it sure can make life a lot easier when utilized properly.
3. “Surround yourselves with good friends”
It’s been said that, “you become like the five people you spend the most time with.” Those people have the most influence and opportunity to shape your behavior so choose wisely. My grandparents have wonderful friends – friends who have been around for nearly the length of their marriage and some even longer than that. Granted, my grandparents have lived in the same small town since they were married, so their friends have truly lasted a lifetime. But friends like this are so incredibly helpful and supportive during the highs and lows of marriage. Everyone needs a friend to turn to.
We invited 80 of their closest friends to the party and I’ll be damned if 80 didn’t show up. They could have invited 200 more and they would still be counted among their closest friends. You can’t pick your family but you can pick your friends and picking the right ones provide great influence for everyone.
[This tip couldn’t be more true. During the week of my grandfather’s funeral (and well after) these friends came through for my Gaga more than you can imagine. I am amazed by how gracious people are and the things they will do for you. I’ve never been a better friend to others than after witnessing the lengths people went for my family. Friends are amazing,]
4. “Find someone who balances you”
I think they mean “opposites attract” and with them the cliché holds true. She’s the jovial, never-met-a-stranger, impulsive, loud one. He’s the reserved, thoughtful, wise one. For many people, such extremes in personalities do not make for a long-lasting match but due to tip #1 they make it work. They truly complement one another. This is one of the most wonderful things I’ve learned from them – find someone who compliments you. Find the person that can calm you down when you’re wound up; the person who excites you when you’re feeling blue; the person who you want to talk to when you’ve had the best day and the worst day. They have (miraculously) lived and worked together for the last 40 years with glee because they compliment each other so well.
5. “Just marry a man like your grandfather”
Now, Gaga’s actual advice was, “Just marry a [my Papa’s name].” That probably doesn’t make much sense to you – let me explain. My grandmother hit the lottery when she met my grandfather. She clearly knew it because they eloped just three months after meeting. God broke the mold after they made my Papa. I’ve never met a more kind, patient, faithful, intelligent, caring, loyal and upright man as my grandfather. Truly. If you ask anyone that knew him, they will say the same. And many of them did at the anniversary party [and again at his funeral]. He is a very successful business owner and the most loving grandfather/father/husband/brother/friend because of these traits. I don’t think I will ever meet a more honorable man.
This is exactly what my Gaga meant when she said to just marry a man like him. He was already a great man before my grandmother met him. You cannot “create” honor in a person; they either come that way or they don’t. It’s not something you can fake. He inspires all of us to be a better person every single day. So if you can find a man or woman who is that amazing, you should hold onto them.
This is only the second deeply personal post I’ve ever posted on PrettyTrippy. (The first was about a horrific accident I witnessed while in Vienna, Austria.) I know this isn’t my normal “makeup-is-my-life” #firstworldprobs post that you are used to seeing from me, but I hope this was interesting nevertheless. This one is SUPER personal and I’m WAY out of my comfort zone by publishing this bad boy. Kudos to those who spill their guts on the internet more than once a year :).
I hope you enjoyed something a little different from me today.