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Forgiveness can lead to years of great memories

August 10, 2007|By LISA PREJEAN

I'm writing this column on my 17th wedding anniversary.

Seventeen years ago at this moment, my bridesmaids and I were at a beauty salon getting the full treatment.

It seems like it was just yesterday and yet when I think of all the roads I've traveled since then, my wedding seems an occurrence from a different lifetime.

Jobs change, children enter the picture, energy levels drop and it has become easier to relate to the discussions older people have about their physical ailments and doctors' appointments. (Oh, did I really admit that? Sad, isn't it?)

Sentimental soul that I am, I was looking through mementos yesterday. Sorting, really. After 17 years, it's time to let some of these things go. I'm saving a few special things. How can't I?

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One card that I was reading gave me cause to stop. As I sat there pondering the shaky cursive of the handwritten message, I saw a reflection from my childhood.

A sweet family friend who always had a smile on her face took the time to write,

"With all Sincerity

A word to the Wise, which you are,

Neglect not to Forgive."

Of all the pieces of advice that could be given to a man and woman starting their lives together as husband and wife, this one is a true gem.

It's easy to have hurt feelings in any relationship, especially in our closest, most intimate ones.

When I think of all the times my husband and I have looked at each other and said, "I'm sorry," it is sobering.

We've said things we shouldn't have. Forgotten things that we should have remembered. Overlooked efforts we should have acknowledged.

Once my husband told me I never mentioned how nice the yard looks after he mows. I guess I never thought about it. Now I try to say something positive each time I see him on the mower. With this rain lately, maybe the grass will grow, he can cut it, and I can tell him how nice our yard looks.

Likewise, over the years he has learned to thank me for the meals I prepare for our family. I rather like hearing his sweet words and receiving his tender kiss after a meal. (Who needs dessert?)

Oh, we've had some arguments over the years, and we've even argued in front of the children. (Gasp!)

But we've always made up. Life is too short to keep an account of the wrongs that have been committed.

Humor has helped greatly along the way. My husband is especially good at easing the tension in our home.

After I repeatedly requested that he put his used washcloth on the towel rack instead of leaving it balled up in the shower, he looked at me and said, "I don't know how you put up with me. Most women would have left their husbands over that by now."

He said it with such a straight face I couldn't help but giggle at how rigid I had become about the laundry. (Funny, since we shared a good laugh about it, now he almost always hangs up his washcloth.)

It is my wish that our children will view marriage as not something to be entered into lightly or without great contemplation. It's also a state that is always evolving, always requiring effort.

Some days I'm so happy to be married to this man that I have to pinch myself. Is this for real?

Other days I'm madder than a hornet at him.

He could probably say the same about me, and I think that's normal.

What's important is how we deal with and act on those emotions.

Do we aim to think the best of another person or do we think they've done us wrong deliberately? Do we give our mates the space they need to be less than perfect?

If so, we are giving our children a very important lesson on relationships.

We're also giving ourselves a home life that is to be treasured.

Share a gem with someone today. Perhaps 17 years from now they'll still appreciate its value.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send e-mail to her at lisap@herald-mail.com.

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