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home : insight & opinion : guest columns
February 21, 2019

1/15/2019 10:15:00 AM
Hints shared for a long, successful marriage
For the Daily News

I am a resident of Crawford County. I have a bachelor's degree in psychology and am currently working on a master of science degree in counseling at Indiana State University.

I care about mental health issues, which is why I wanted to share some thoughts from a couple - my parents, Clint and Micky Batcheller, who have beaten the odds and will be celebrating 50 years of marriage this year.

The communication focus this month for Crawford County LIFE is "A Healthy New Year: Healthy Relationships" Many keys to a successful marriage, I learned from my parents and I would like to share some of those with you.

According to the American Psychological Association, the current divorce rate in America is 40-50 percent, and for subsequent marriages, it is even higher. Most marriages in the United States last 10 to 14 years.

My father is a retired pastor. He said that he knew that in about half of the weddings he officiated, the couple would end up divorced. He recommends that couples considering marriage have marital counseling before getting married. He also recommends couples read, His Needs, Her Needs by Dr. Willard F. Harley.

• Respect each other. One of the things that I appreciate the most in my parents' relationship is the respect they have for one another. In my house, grow0ing up, my father never yelled, belittled, insulted; nor was he ever abusive to my mother in any way. My mother went on to comment on how my father never used bad language at home or around her. He made the decision that it stayed at work in the Army, where he was a drill sergeant.

• Stay in love. My mother states how it is important to not only love your spouse, but also be in love with the person, and build a life together. Love each other unconditionally, even when someone is hard to love. Everybody does annoying things. Be able to find the humor in your spouses' idiosyncrasies.

• Put each other first. Realize that it isn't about "me" anymore. Once married, you become one. It doesn't mean that you lose your identity, it means that now, you are complete. My mother believes that God brings people together to help complete the other person. What one-person lacks, the other half compensates.

• Make the most of any situation you are in. My mother said really strong friendships developed because they were away from their families while my father was in the military and stationed in various places in the U.S. and Germany. They wanted children. They wanted to be with their children, so they took us everywhere in Germany sightseeing. My mother says God will help you work through the difficult things. It was important for my mother to be with my father when he went through his cancer treatments. It meant a lot to him that she came with him. Share experiences with the person that you love. By sharing all things together, you are not carrying the burden yourself.

• Communication is important. My parents' courtship took place during the Vietnam War. They wrote letters to each other, and in those letters they could say things that were deeper, more than what could be said in person. Make the time to talk to each other. Tell the other person if you are upset with him or her and don't let it sit inside and eat at you. Share things that go on at work. Be able to share your emotions with your spouse. Sometimes you don't have to talk, but just be together.

• Do things together, whether it is cooking, cleaning, or doing laundry. My mother mentioned how they worked in the yard together and planted things together. People should have separate interests, but they also need to have things that they like to do together, whether it is making something like pizza or fudge, make it a priority to spend time with each other.

• Sit together and have a meal together. While I was growing up, everyone sat at the table and ate together. The little things make a big difference, like families eating together.

• Be consistent in how you treat others. Your children are watching you and see how you treat other people.

• Be able to laugh at yourself and have a good sense of humor.

• Tell each other that you appreciate him or her. Appreciate what sacrifices they have made and continue to make.

Parents try to give children too much today. Sometimes you have to wait for what you want.

Regarding finances, you have to work together and determine how you are going to handle these things too.

Marriage is like putting a chain together; each link makes it stronger. You are building a foundation that must be firm in order to hold everything up. Love, respect, and caring are that foundation.

Editor's Note: These occasional guest columns are provided by Crawford County LIFE, a new local non-profit that "exists to liberate residents of preconceived ideas and addictive behaviors by educating to improve understanding of themselves and their needs; to facilitate community resources with the goal to empower residents toward better emotional, physical and mental health." For more information, check out Crawford County LIFE's Facebook page.

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