PLEASE DO NOT DETRACT FROM OTHER BIRTHDAY CELEBRANTS TODAY BY ADDING FURTHER CONGRATULATIONS TO MY WIFE SHEILA ON THIS AFTERNOON POST, AS SHE HAS HER OWN POST FROM ME EARLIER THIS MORNING.
Other birthday celebrants today include Randal Burns who lives in Sparks, Nevada, U.S.A. and David Drohan who originates from Carrick-on-Suir in Tipperary, but who now lives in County Cork, Ireland. A third birthday celebrant today is Andrea Cano-Gil who is originally from the Costa del Sol but who now lives in Leyland, Lancashire. We all hope that Randal, David, and Andrea enjoy their special day.
My song today is ‘Living on Love’. This song “Livin’ on Love” was written and recorded by American country music singer Alan Jackson. It was released in August 1994 as the second single from his album ‘Who I Am’. In late 1994, it became his ninth Number 1 hit on the Billboard country charts. It also reached Number 1 on the ‘Bubbling Under Hot 100’.
The song describes a couple who are ‘living on love’. In the first verse, they are ‘two young people without a thing’, while throughout the song they age, still in love with each other.
When many couples who marry young think back to the happiest years of their marriage, they frequently see the best years as being those years when they were first starting out and hadn’t two pennies to rub together. These may have been the days when being new parents automatically involved, practical and material struggles to negotiate in their daily lives. Not having a minute to stop and catch one’s breath: trying to cope with a new baby while continuing to study in one’s spare hours for that educational course: young mothers feeling ‘loved out’ while young dads feel to be ‘pushed out’ of their wife’s affections: preparing for a change of career you intend to make once your young children start First School: being in the type of employment that gets you home at the end of the day too late to read a bedtime story to your child/children and tuck them into bed, instead of having to silently creep into their bedroom when you eventually get home and giving them a slight kiss on their forehead while they sleep to assuage parental guilt.
And yet, it is often such days in one’s early married life that are looked back upon as being the happiest of times! I suspect it was because, however rough and choppy the waters our marriage boat has to sail in at the start of the marital voyage, both husband and wife are usually rowing in the same direction when they begin the start of their journey together.
Herein lies the secret to all happy marriages, rowing together takes less individual effort as a couple than one person of a duo doing it all by themselves! Also, rowing in the same direction (even if the couple later decides to change course and destination) keeps both partners upon the same course that the ‘marriage boat’ is travelling. It is only when one of the marriage partners stands up and asserts their needs that we see the first sign of instability in the ‘marriage boat’ as it rocks unsteadily from side-to-side. Once the vessel is unbalanced, it threatens to capsize and divorce the union of both oars-people unless stability and calm are instantly restored.
Married couples who disagree on fundamental principles of marriage and parenthood (after they have exchanged wedding rings and have got in the same two-person boat) are clearly heading for choppy waters. Forthcoming separation of the parties is heralded when one person throws their oar overboard and refuses to carry on as previously agreed, or jumps boat, or even tries to bring a third-party passenger aboard their two-person vessel. If any of these obstructive boulders start to muddy the marital water, it reflects a couple’s union is on a downward slope, is out of control, and is heading dangerously toward the rapids and waterfall ahead!
Given the choice of one’s most precious asset in life, would we opt for health, hope or happiness? I have not the faintest doubt, which sits at the top of my 'priority tree'. The most important one of the three in my mind is ‘happiness’ because though one’s state of ‘happiness’ might be 'influenced' by the presence of the other two (health and hope) it is not 'determined' by them. However, wherever the absence of ‘happiness’ prevails, the power of the 'H-triumvirate' is instantly diminished, as there remains no hope, and one’s health is always damaged.
Being ‘happy’ necessitates having a positive thought process, and feeling good about oneself and life, in general, most of the time. Being 'happy' implies having a purpose in life and satisfactory loving experiences, and being competent and effective in the things we do in our daily lives. Such aspects of character make us feel good enough about ourselves and promote self-confidence and personal reassurance that ‘things will turn up’. This positive attitude displayed in a Wilkins Micawber philosophy in the 1850 Charles Dickens novel David Copperfield, brings out the optimism required to see beyond the rapids during stormy travels in the ‘marriage boat’, especially when the marital waters are not so calm.
If you can imagine two people marrying each other as representing two jigsaw pieces that form a perfect couple, you will be able to see the parameter of the larger picture. You will also be able to better see the negative consequences when either man or wife significantly changes after they have married. Unless their marriage partner also changes to make the corresponding allowance, the two pieces will no longer fit together snugly to form one perfect unit.
Marriage is not much different from making a jigsaw together. For around half of all married couples who try to make the jigsaw together, approximately half of them will give up on ever completing the task. The secret of all successful marriages is to establish the agreed boundaries at the start of the process. This enables the two people to mutually mark out one’s edges which are being worked towards in combined purpose. Such agreed boundaries are necessary if husband and wife are to hold the same finished picture at the forefront of their minds at all times. When both partners alter and extend the boundaries of the larger picture they are creating together, or take away from each other’s part in the process, they will always come up either short in their expectations, with both left holding unacceptable pieces of self which no longer has a place in the finished picture. Such a feeling is prevalent in all failed marriages at the point of deciding to divorce.
Whatever two individuals want from their marriage, the healthier, happier, and more hopeful they can remain throughout it will prove a sufficient foundation for them to face whatever difficulties may lay ahead as they build their life together. However difficult married life might be, all of us are capable of being able to ‘live on love’, but none of us will ever satisfactorily survive the journey of a life-long marriage without it!
Love and peace Bill xxx