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with Lindsey and Daniel Crouch

Happy Marriage

Acceptance Makes a Happy Marriage

 

The subject of a good marriage has always been fascinating to me. I watched my parents meet the challenge of making enough time and money for fourteen children while somehow keeping their relationship solid. Throughout our first years, I held tight to the belief that if they could do it, so could Jimmy and I.

 
Then we hit “the squeeze”. For us that meant three hormonally charged children who were sucking all the energy out of us. Our house was constantly in conflict over grades, chores, batting averages, and money. Motivated by different interests, Jimmy and I started walking down different paths.
 

Looking for inspiration, I started talking to couples with more experience who had moved on to a more easy going leg of the journey. They sure presented a pretty picture after the kids were gone, but how did they stay friends through the hard times? I asked them to rewind their stories so I could see for myself.
 

How do people keep it together through babies and bankruptcy, accidents, illnesses and all the hard stuff that life throws at us? Texas Twosomes is a book of stories about couples who went through the fire and came out tempered and strong. Not only are they still intact, they are still laughing together after 25, 50, even 75 years.
 

Kathy and Jimmy Jamail credit patience and prayer for saving their marriage. Hedwig and Ben Braun say it’s quality time together that makes the difference. Philip and Bobbie Lockett married their best friends and John and Pinky McKetta stayed connected by having a bit of fun every day.
 

String together the experiences of these four couples and you get over 200 years of collective wisdom. Inspiration flowed from all of my marriage mentors, but I think Edith Royal’s words struck the loudest chord.


“Don’t try to change anyone to fit what you want them to be.”
 

It was a visit to the Royal’s home in Barton Creek on an afternoon in 1997 that prompted me to assess my marriage motives. As soon as I walked in the door, I spied Edith’s handiwork. It was clear that arranging scrapbooks rich with family memories was one of her favorite pastimes. Darrell was more likely to spend time on the golf course. As I sat in the comfort of their living room, I asked how they stayed close when they seemed so different. She was candid about the struggles that they had endured, saying that her investment in a 12 step program had taken pressure off of the marriage. Learning how to be apart may have been what kept them together. Edith, with her dry wit and easy conversation, seemed a model of acceptance and tolerance by the time I caught up with her but she admitted that it didn’t happen overnight. “It only took me forty years to figure that out,” she said. “I finally told Darrell, I’m not coachable.”


Edith might not be comfortable in the role of a hero, but I can’t help but give her credit for inspiring us to follow her model. The balm for our relationship also took the form of grace and space.


So for all the young twosomes out there who are struggling to find their way, try this: love your spouse with warts and all while offering all the grace you can manage. People are funny. Often, when we’re loved just as we are, the most amazing thing happens. We find ourselves in the mood for change.
 

By Donia Caspersen Crouch, Author of “Texas Twosomes Married for Life”

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