Total Agreement In Marriage Is Deadly Dull!


“We never had a cross word between us in 65 years of marriage.”  That is what the elderly gentlemen said across the pulpit about his deceased wife during one of our church meetings.  I don’t know what others thought, but the first thought that came to my mind, after scratching my head was, “What? Did he just say what I thought he said.”  The second thought that came to my mind was, “Perhaps he is so old he can’t remember.”  The third thing I thought was more cynical. “Any man who can make that statement is, or was,  living in a one way marriage and his wife must have been the most stifled woman on the face of the earth.”  Perhaps the third thought came to mind because my marriage has been full of small skirmishes.  And every once in a while a major battle breaks out that leaves my wife and I exhausted and wounded in body and soul.

My marriage relationship has been more on the lines of a statement I read the other day attributed to Garson Kanin, who was married to the actress Ruth Gordon for many years.  He said:

“I think the key to a long-lasting marriage is that we don’t always agree .  Agreement is deadly dull.”

Well I would never be one to promote contention in a marriage relationship but when two souls spend a lifetime together, it seems to me that disagreements will flare up. When my wife and I were first married I didn’t see the economic nor rational decision in buying car seats for our kids.  After all, none of the ten kids in my family ever had car seats as infants and nothing happened to us. We survived!  Not only that, but most of my early life I spent riding in a car without a seatbelt.  And so did all my friends and nothing happened to me or them!  So when my wife wanted to purchase a pricey car seat for our infant I just couldn’t see the rational for such an expenditure. At the time it was a voluntary thing and I didn’t want to spend the money.  Much to my surprise my new wife was not going to back down on this car seat business. A minor battle ensured, (which she won), and a few scars were left. As the years have gone on I can see she was right.  In this case ‘agreement really could have been, not just dull, but deadly.

“Marriage is a contact sport” as some have said.  However, we need not be contentious in our marriages if we learn to respect the views of our partners.  We should be able to have civil conversations regarding important decisions without smothering our spouses.  One of the most endearing character traits of my wife is that she is feisty, passionate, and opinionated on certain subjects.  I have learned a lot from her and am a better man, husband , and father because of it.

Over the years I have learned that I am not always right nor is my wife.  By helping each other see things more clearly on certain subjects, we have both benefited from our relationship and in so doing we have become closer to being one.



Eat More Ice Cream; Watch More Sunsets!


“Tucked away in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision in which we see ourselves on a long journey that spans an entire continent. We’re traveling by train, and from the windows, we drink in the passing scenes of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at crossings, of cattle grazing in distant pastures, of smoke pouring from power plants, of row upon row of cotton and corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of city skylines and village halls.

But uppermost in our conscious minds is our final destination––for at a certain hour and on a given day, our train will finally pull into the station with bells ringing, flags waving, and bands playing. And once that day comes, so many wonderful dreams will come true. So restlessly, we pace the aisles and count the miles, peering ahead, waiting, waiting, waiting, for the station.

“Yes, when we reach the station, that will be it!” we promise ourselves. “When we’re eighteen. . . win that promotion. . . put the last kid through college. . . buy that 450 SL Mercedes Benz. . . pay off the mortgage. . . have a nest egg for retirement.”

From that day on, we will all live happily ever after.

Sooner or later, however, we must realize there is no station in this life, no one earthly place to arrive at once and for all. The journey is the joy. The station is an illusion––it constantly out distances us. Yesterday’s a memory, tomorrow’s a dream. Yesterday belongs to history, tomorrow belongs to God. Yesterday’s a fading sunset, tomorrow’s a faint sunrise. Only today is there light enough to love and live.

So, gently close the door on yesterday and throw the key away. It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad, but rather the regret over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow.

“Relish the moment” is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, swim more rivers, climb more mountains, kiss more babies, count more stars. Laugh more and cry less. Go barefoot oftener. Eat more ice cream. Ride more merry-go-rounds. Watch more sunsets. Life must be lived as we go along” (The Station by Robert J. Hastings).

A profound essay on life! Let us enjoy the beauty of each day. Indeed, each day is a gift from God. Let us not be found constantly looking ahead for happiness as joy passes unrecognized daily before our very eyes.


My Life…As Others Remember It! (The Trouble With History!)


On a recent birthday, my daughter contacted family members and many of my friends, both past and present, asking them to write something about memories relating to their association with me over my lifetime. A sort of ‘This is Your Life,’ based on the old TV show. I am grateful for the memories shared and the time that many spent in sharing their thoughts and memories. It made that birthday one of the best ever!

I learned an important lesson when it comes to memories and experiences that we share together. I learned that my memory of an event can be slightly, or in some cases, vastly different than what others remember. I couldn’t help but chuckle when four friend’s versions of the same funny event that I told across the pulpit, was written down four different ways. The story’s core was there, but the details were so different that you would have to conclude that someone was in error regarding how this event happened. Even funnier is the fact that I remember it differently from all four who wrote about it.

I was once again taught that written and oral ‘history’ are simply events shared by those who experienced it, as they ‘remember’ it. Truth is a very slippery thing. It becomes especially troublesome as the years pass and the events fade. Why is that important to know? Well, recently, there has been documents released by our church relating to history, in addition to other documents that have been floating around for years, that are ‘unflattering’ to some historical church leaders. The same unflattering kind of documents are to be found regarding the founding fathers of our country as well as almost any historical figure of any significance. Are these documents and testimonies completely accurate? From my recent experience regarding my own history, as retold by my friends, I would doubt it. And these are friends, not my detractors. I can’t imagine what others might write or say!

We need to be ‘well-read’ but not ‘well-lead’ by written statements that may or may not be accurate. We seem to be willing to readily accept bad things that people write about others without question, while easily dismissing all the good things that are also written.

I hope that when it comes to something as important as our faith in Christ, our faith in the leaders of the church, or our faith in the existence of God; we will not be too hasty in embracing things written by man, whose memories are clearly fallible and are sometimes laced with intent to harm or who have motives unknown.

Let Us Add “A Fifth” To Our Thanksgiving Meal!


Thanksgiving has always been a favorite holiday of mine. It usually involves the four “F’s”; family, friends, football, and food. Who could ask for more? Often lost, though, is the purpose of the holiday.

The first American Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621, to commemorate the harvest reaped by the Plymouth Colony after a harsh winter. In that year Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving. The colonists celebrated it as a traditional English harvest feast, to which they invited the local Wampanoag Indians.

However, it wasn’t until 1789 that President George Washington declared it an official holiday. But like Christmas, I find myself lost in the traditions and trappings of the celebration, often forgetting its real purpose. I am sure that I will do so again this year.  The Lord once said:

“And inasmuch as ye do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances… with a glad heart and a cheerful countenance— Verily I say, that inasmuch as ye do this, the fulness of the earth is yours, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which climbeth upon the trees and walketh upon the earth; Yea, and the herb, and the good things which come of the earth, whether for food or for raiment, or for houses, or for barns, or for orchards, or for gardens, or for vineyards; Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul. And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion. And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments”, (D&C Section 59, vs. 15-21).

So, while enjoying the four “F’s” this Thanksgiving, let us not disappoint the Lord. Let us take a moment to reflect on our many blessings and remember to add the fifth “F” to our day.  That of giving thanks through prayer to our “Father” above. It is He who makes the other four “F”s possible!

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