My dear wife, Esther, was divorced for seven years before I first met her. I was ready to settle down after working all over Ontario, Canada and on the lookout for the right lady in my life. After moving to Sarnia, Ontario, I met my future wife. She made me feel important, invited me over to her place for supper with her and three children, Susan 16, Walt 13 and Troy almost 11.
We spent time as a group several times, hiking at the park, and picnics at the lake. Then I had our first date alone, since she was the sole bread earner, the children were used to being with her most times. Now there was just the two of us, a bachelor and a lady I admired, for the way she handled her children. They were well mannered, listened to her and did not fight with each other, with any maliciousness.
I proposed to Esther after our second date, with just the two of us together. We are now enjoying 33 years of marriage, such a joy. It's almost as if we are still on our honeymoon. We are not shy to kiss in public, hold hands, hug or build up each other among friends or others.
We are each other's best friend. I was a bachelor aged 34 when we married, and it has been wonderful all these years. Now we have four children (we adopted Scott at age nine) and five grandchildren. I really believe many people do not listen to their spouses, and somehow miss the importance of friendship beyond the act of love, which is so short. Caring, appreciating and doing things for the one you love is much more lasting.
A few of my personal observations for a happy marriage:
--ALWAYS sleep together. It is appalling how many spend time in the so-called "doghouse," which may be the guest room or on the living room couch. This allows a habit to persist, instead of working things out, and leading back to the proper bedroom.
--CURB the tongue when you feel snarly. Go for an immediate walk and after, talk it over. ll the "Sorries" in the world cannot ever erase cutting words, so why say them.
--NEVER allow children to come between you and your spouse. These loving tykes do not realize the potential damage they can do to their parents.
--DO NOT nag nor demean your spouse. It's a killer for any lasting relationship, especially if done in front of family or friends.
--ENCOURAGE each other continuously. Open any door for your spouse, speak kindly, spend time together and expect your children to do the same.
--ATTEND church as a family, sharing God's Word, spending time with other parishioners. Being around Godly people is inspiring, one for another.
--TOUCHING your spouse lovingly during the day is essential. This creates a marital bonding through the holding of hands, a back pat, a kiss, a hug. It means, "I love you."
--MY WIFE AND I treat marriage as a 100-100 proposition for each other, not 50-50. What happens, when for whatever reason, one partner falls apart either physically or mentally? How is 50% going to make the marriage work? When I had my stroke eight years ago (I continue to recover) my wife was my 100% guide through some tough times, and also complemented my personal faith.
--DO second marriages work? I say YES to marriage with someone who has had a break-up. My wife, Esther, completes me.
--DOES it sound silly to pray for a loving spouse? No. I prayed for a person like Esther and when she arrived within my eyesight, I knew she was the one for me. I proposed after our second date.
NOTE: The above is something felt in my spirit, to share the idea that marriage can be lasting, that life becomes more worthwhile, when working together to overcome any difficulties. Did our life become a wonderful bed of roses? No, but God's love and caring led us through all adversity, and helped us realize how precious our daily walk can be.
* * *
Richard & Esther Provencher 2008
My wife, Esther and I really enjoy writing. It is an excellent salve, in addition to prayers, a great wife and family during my continuing recovery from a stroke/aneurysm. You can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org re comments on our work. We live in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada. Pray for others.