Reflections on 54 Years of Marriage
How I survived 54 years of Marriage
By Gene Cortez
July 16, 1961 – July 16, 2015
Like every husband and wife, we have our own lifestyle and we try not to change nor let each other interfere with the way we do things. Mostly we try and respect each other. Sometimes, though, life gets in the way. This is why I have listed some life saving tips for those men who recently got married or who have been married for a while.
1. Always seat in front of wife when seating down together
(I found that after so many elbows to my ribs for saying something stupid it’s better to sit across from her. Besides, I didn’t have to twist my neck every time to speak with her.)
2. Never argue with wife in kitchen. There are too many weapons.
(I have always been wary of any kitchen debates when they get out of control, so we always sit down at the kitchen table to discuss matters.)
3. Always try to please her by dressing up when going out on the town. Get a haircut if necessary.
(I have never liked going out in public half dressed. I avoid shorts, flip flops, T-shirts or anything that doesn’t look good. So I dress for the occasion and it does make her look good.)
4. Say “please” and ‘” thank you” for everything she does for me.
(I was never one for politeness but once we were married she instilled it in me and reminded me constantly. It does help to keep a little civility in the marriage.)
5. Tell her where you’re going when going out and call her when you’re on your way back. Bring a gift or food.
(This builds a little trust in each of us and keeps us faithful. Besides, she doesn’t have to worry. I call her to find out if she needs anything from the store or from a take out.)
6. Try not to get involve with her projects. It’s her way of getting away from it all.
(Every women has a pet project of her own that she’s working on. I leave her alone because it is her “down time”)
7. Let her handle the money. It’s her money and mine. She’s entitled to buy whatever she needs.
(I avoided a lot of problems by letting her balance the checks. It means I can trust her with the money and she’ll know how much money is coming in. Besides, we have a joint account.)
8. Tell her about your medical appointments so she can remind you of them.
(I forget to put them down in the calendar and if I do, I forget which calendar I put them in. I have a cell phone, computer and four printed calendars.)
9. Wash own clothes so you’ll know which clothes are dirty.
(I like to know which clothes I have available each day. It helps her by not having to worry about my clothes. Besides, who wants to expose their dirty underwear?)
10. Do work together on church and volunteer projects so you’ll know how to work with each other.
(We found that by working together in this kind of projects helps our spiritual growth and our limitations.)
11. Be spontaneous when showing your love. It’s amazing what a hug will do. Fix breakfast or take her out for a ride in the country.
(I have never believed in just giving a gift on Valentine’s Day. I try to show it every day by a hug, a kiss or just taking her out to dinner for no special reason.)
12. Be aware of punishment to children but do not punish them again.
(We agreed that whenever I came home from work if she had to punish the children, she would tell me and that I didn’t have to do it again. We tried not to make her the “bad guy” by talking to the kids about their behavior.)
13. Communicate private matters in private.
(We agreed to never argue in front of family or children. We usually find a place alone and if we argue, we agree to disagree.)
14. Take the Television out of the bedroom.
(This was one of the major problems because I have a tendency to watch late night movies. It created tension because we wouldn’t be comfortable with each other with the TV on.)
15. Listen to each other.
(This is still an ongoing problem because I have a hearing defect. I also tend to concentrate on a program on TV. So when she wants to let me know something, I put the TV on mute so I can concentrate on what she is saying. Aside from that, we sometimes schedule a Monday morning to plan out the calendar for the week. You would be surprised to see that calendar filled up.)
It is a never ending job because in the beginning we were two souls getting to know each other. Later we had children which changed how we would live as a family of five. After the children have moved on, we would again be a couple trying to live together with old age creeping up on us.
Then there are grandchildren who make us want to live again and experience what they’re going through and support them in their endeavors. I pass on whatever wisdom a grandfather has and hope they take it to heart. However, I realize that my sons have to go through what I went through and they have to make their marriage work for them.
I would like to add that each family is different with different personalities and that my family has traditions and family values passed on by my ancestors and along the way we worked tirelessly to make our marriage work.