Kindness is what the rector who married us modeled.
Staying married is harder work than our one-hour premarital counseling session outlined. But, the rector demonstrated an integral part of what has helped us stay together for forty-five years: kindness. He offered to meet us any time, any place, if we felt our marriage was coming apart, because he officiated our vows. I did not realize how kind an offer that was. He was the primary caregiver for his disabled wife.
While I knew the dictionary definition of kindness, our marriage is teaching me its significance, over the years. I have seen Doug’s kindnesses repeated. It made me want to return the favors. Kindness was not an easy one for me.
My groom has had one inclination that just got bigger and stronger in our marriage, one that helped over so many dark times: kindness. He demonstrated it the night of our rehearsal dinner.
I had made my dress for that special evening, part of several dresses in my trousseau I sewed on the sewing machine kindly lent by my matron of honor, who had made my wedding dress as well. I made a tie for Doug in matching fabric – and I made one for my father.
It was the era of wide ties in bright colors and patterns, (read garish) a style neither Doug nor my dad fancied. And no, technically it was not the best-constructed tie. But they both wore theirs and smiled graciously. Wearing such a tie for the conservative dresser that Doug was back then, was a kindness – he went way out of his comfort zone to please me!
Where those ties went after the rehearsal dinner, I didn’t know – but my husband kindly remembered. One of the kindest gifts my husband has ever gave me, years later, was making sure that when the undertaker dressed my Dad, he had that hand-made tie – and its absurd brightness cheered me, telling me of my husband’s thoughtfulness.
We have both learned kindness doesn’t always come naturally – it is a gift ; one that will not wear out with daily use. Use it or lose it! is what I’ve learned.
Living Happily-ever-after isn’t a given, no matter how super the parties and weddings are. Marriage is work. After the hoopla of parties, dinners and the ceremony, comes reality: Fitting two people into one relationship.
Kindness is a useful lubricant. Be Kind!
When Doug and I married, we had not one clue how or what that would our marriage would look like. We didn’t understand how time and circumstances press in on the promises we made to each other.
Does anyone, ever understand?
Kindness is what makes love real. In good times, it may be easy to fake kindness – in bad times, no way. Kindness is the balm and glue that hold in pain and trouble.
Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not. ~ Samuel Johnson
If you stop to be kind, you must swerve often from your path. ~ Mary Webb
The kindest word in all the world is the unkind word, unsaid. ~Author Unknown
Whether married or not, we can practice, or imitate kindness, especially in these unkind times. It’s not rocket science. Its source is free for the asking. Don’t wait as long as I did to imitate it.
No, I do not know what happened to the time we’ve had together: laughs, tears, hard work, and so much happiness. I don’t think Doug does either. We are both now the age and stage that worried us when our parents occupied this perch. It’s pretty high up! Kindness makes it safer.
From last year, another anniversary reflection.