Happily ever after

It is possible to give without loving, but it is impossible to love without giving.

~Richard Braunstein~

As I mentioned last time, my parents recently celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. I wonder if one of the keys to Mom and Dad’s marriage success has something to do with the importance they place on giving.  Whether tithing to their place of worship and charitable organizations, or the volunteering and community work they do, giving has been an important part of their life together. Both were born into small-town working class families. Between work and other activities, their calendars are always full. Mom, a teacher and Dad, a pastor, worked very hard for their money.  Regardless of the condition of the checkbook or the calendar, they’ve always found the resources to give. Now, here they are, together, 50 years later.

If you are married, you understand what kind of give and take, what kind of lasting friendship, and what kind of effort is required to keep a marriage together for that many years.  If you are married, you know, I mean, really know, that the good can be really good, and the challenges can be, well….not so easy. One moment you may wonder who that alien creature is standing in your kitchen, followed by the realization that the alien is actually your spouse and best friend in the world and you can’t imagine life without him or her. Sometimes I stand in awe of how someone can stick with me during times when a nap-deprived 3-year-old would be more charming. Marriage is not for sissies.

While I’m no psychologist or sociologist, and I did not conduct a scientific study, when I think about couples I know who have long-lasting marriages, I noticed that they routinely share their resources with important causes. Maybe the habit of giving prevents us from being so focused on our own households that we lose sight of a bigger picture. Giving extends to us an opportunity, as a couple, to talk about what is important to us, beyond painting the house and paying the utility bill, and encourages us to look at greater world around us, together. 

Now that I think about it, I really treasure those moments I’ve had with J where we’ve given a donation or volunteered to help a cause that is important to us.  In fact, some of my favorite memories are times where we’ve worked together to figure out how to give a little more, or enjoyed a chat as we drive home from a volunteer activity. Those are special moments in our marriage, when we can glance at one another, smile and say, “I’m glad we did that.”

Because it feels good to give.

My name is CJ. I write for CatchBlue.

Looking for a way to give and make a difference? Click here to visit the CatchBlue website and find out more.


One Response to “Happily ever after”

  1. hugmamma Says:

    Sounds like you had excellent role models for a successful marriage. As you say, giving is so important in removing the spotlight from ourselves to those in need. What I’ve also learned at 61 years young, and after 40 years of marriage, is the need to be generous with ourselves as well.

    It’s easy to brow-beat ourselves, or our loved ones, when we feel inadequate or challenged beyond our capabilities. But I think we can give ourselves a genuine pat on the back for handling what life serves up on a daily basis. Life happens, and you’re right, generosity is always rewarded.

    giving hugs…hugmamma.

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