To My Wife:by Jon Schwartz August 29, 2016
A few years ago, before we met, my grandmother simply told me that one’s choice in a life partner is the most important decision one will ever make. She knew that a good marriage adds to life satisfaction, achievement, health and longevity. On the contrary, a difficult marriage has the opposite effect. For all that you are, she would be so proud to know you, and the choice we are making, to marry this month.
No doubt, our wedding day symbolizes the start of our story – a beginning with great excitement. On this day, we will be so lucky to have wonderful friends and family around us to celebrate. There will be a memorable party and then a romantic honeymoon. Once we are home, we will enjoy calling each other husband and wife. Knowing us, I’m sure the words will be matched with a big smile. I know this novelty will wear off as we become more familiar with the label. The outward smile will become more internalized, hopefully with an inner feeling of greater fortune, pride and love than the day we married.
As we approach that day, I admire your efforts to make the world a better place, and I think we make a quite a pair. Where your passions are for children and your dreams are to teach toward a bright future, my dreams are to learn from and expose the wisdom of the elderly. In that pursuit, I have received hundreds of pieces of advice on marriage from people who have lived that commitment for 30, 40, even 60 years. This is what I hope for us:
Let laughter be the soundtrack of our marriage. I have been told, all too often, married people forget how to laugh with and at one another. Laughter and sleep truly are the best medicines. Please remind me how important both are to do well, everyday. Recently, I was with a couple who had been married for more than 50 years. The man asked if you and I are having a Jewish wedding. After I nodded my head, I could see he was giddy to tell me a joke that I’m sure his wife had heard maybe a million times. He said to keep in mind that putting my foot down and breaking the glass on our wedding day won’t be the last time I put my foot down during our marriage. I laughed, he laughed and even his wife laughed.
Give, give, give, give and give. Give one another our time, our ears, our inspiration. Give one another our hearts, and don’t bother keeping score. I have been told that it is rare on any given day for this giving to be truly equal. However, over the course of a long marriage, the giving and compromise will even out.
I know we both want to have children and be good parents, together. I have been told that one of the most effective parenting tips is for us to be good to one another, especially in front of our kids. We want our kids to see us in love. I imagine this will bring children greater security, stability and serve as a template for how they will treat their future spouses.
Life is incredibly fragile. I doubt I will ever be frustrated with you. However, I’m almost certain you will be with me. When this happens, I have been told to not go to bed angry. Life is fragile and we never know what the next minute will bring. If you don’t want to talk to me, let’s make a rule. As we lay in bed, just put your foot on mine so I know you’re there, with me always. This will be an “I love you,” even if you aren’t in the mood to say it.
Think toward the end. What do you want me to say about you when you’re gone? I’ve already thought about this in my case. When I’m gone and some younger person asks you to tell them about your husband, please don’t lie. It is my goal for our marriage that by the end, you will be left with an overwhelming feeling that we were best friends and we were so incredibly lucky to have found each other. I know, too, that this is what I’ll be saying about you.