While riffling through some old papers, I came across a mimeographed letter from my mother to one of my sisters dated September 30, 1980. I just called to ask her permission to share it because it’s beautiful.
Reflections on a marriage by Patricia Bernier
How is that for a subject? As I tried to get to sleep last evening, I found myself thinking of you and wishing we were nearer to share our daily thoughts as well as the fun with the children and the trying times also.
You asked me if I ever felt burdened and somehow overwhelmed. Yes, occasionally. However, whether it is by nature that we forget the hard work and troubled times without sleep, worrying over a child’s temperature, or over the fact that they might not have enough playmates, or whether they were going to be smart enough to keep up with the rest, I guess it is all in God’s plan.
As far as I am concerned, some of my happiest days were when I was home with my dolls, baking, cleaning, cooking, bathing them and showing them off to the neighbors and the family. I did not have as much help with all of you as far as Dad was concerned. By that, I don’t mean that he was lax. Only that in those times, a man’s job was to work and work hard to make enough for all and the woman was to feed and nurture the little ones. Today, the men not only work hard but go to school and still seem to find time to occasionally bathe the children or take them out.
Speaking just for your father and myself I must say that we feel we have had a great marriage, blessed by wonderful children and fantastic sons-in-law to say nothing of the wondrous grand-children. In Dad’s favor let me say that without his constant love and encouragement I wouldn’t feel the same. He and I have a good marriage mainly because we both come first with each other. Perhaps you didn’t notice. Ha! He has never let me down in questioning his love. Every morning I get the same warm embrace and that starts the day off right.
This doesn’t mean that we haven’t disagreed or that we both don’t realize each other’s faults. It is in spite of these faults that we both need each other to bolster each other up. He has strengths that I do not have and I have strengths that he is without. Never have I felt threatened by another woman, his job, or his children. That may seem strange to say, but that is one of the saddest of all sad stories, when either partner tries to separate themselves with the children, against each other. Long after the children are gone you will be together and they will be living their own life, loving you, but going their own way and doing their own thing.
This is as it should be, but meanwhile make sure you bolster your own love affair for the future. You do this by sharing happy and sad thoughts, putting up with each other’s idiosyncrasies, and finding time to be ALONE without the children for quiet talks or just sharing a walk, talk, or movie. Hope this doesn’t sound like preaching. However, I must say once again that in this world, I perceive quite a lot of unhappiness; if only people would stop and assess why they are unhappy or lonesome.
Usually, it is because they do not take time to assess just how fortunate they really are. If you have your health, love of family and friends, as well as each other, how much more can one expect on this earth? Look around you at the beauty just at your elbow: the children, your love, the weather, and almost anything your eye lights on. It is positive thinking that brings happiness. You can look around the same area and see burden, work, or unhappiness if you look through those eyes, but each day offer yourself and your day up to God and you will find much joy in your tasks.
Well my honey, hope you are having as nice weather as we are having and that you stay warm and cozy with each other. You know you are in our thoughts and prayers daily. Give kisses to the babes and I’ll really do the hugging when I see you soon.
4 replies on “Marriage (from my Mom’s perspective)”
Was this letter to me or to Susie? I remember many of these letters but this was quite a while ago!
To Daughter #1!
I met Martin when I was in Junior College, and we have talked every day about anything and everything, just as we have with our kids Rob and Lissa since they were small. The letter above expresses perfectly what we have had over the past 31 years…with its ups and downs, tough times and lazy days, kids, dogs, and the eventual empty nest of today. We made sure that we stayed
“connected” so that the “we” flourished and still existed after the kids were gone. What better way to ensure that our children became wonderful young adults than setting the example of a loving relationship on a DAILY basis! Too many people keep the “special days” for the anniversary, birthday, Christmas, etc. when EVERY DAY is special with the one you love.
Thanks so much, Leadville Laurel, for sharing this!
Ellie, you’re welcome!
I agree that every day should be a special day. Sometimes we need to take a breath from our wild days and purposefully do something nice for the ones we love. Yes, it may take ten minutes to deliver a little impromptu shoulder rub to your mate while he’s working in his office (for just one example), but the moment of bliss you’ve just offered should bring joy to you as well. “They say” that marriage takes work, but I believe that if you acknowledge your partner–daily–for something you appreciate, there will be more “play” than “work” in your relationship!