Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


October 2, 2012

RANDOM THOUGHTS: Seventy years of marriage

CROSSVILLE — It was comedian Henny Youngman who made this profound statement, “The secret of a happy marriage remains a secret.” I thought of those words today because it was on this date 70 years ago my husband and I took a solemn oath before God to be one till death do us part. We said it then and still enjoy a good marriage. Is there a secret?

Attitudes about marriage have changed over the years. Once, weddings were hopefully a once-in-a-lifetime event. Now, for many, marriage means a fairy tale wedding with little or no thought to what comes next.

Today the average American wedding costs a staggering $27,000! Consider that about 60% of the couples’ planned wedding budget is exceeded and they are already in debt before they promise, “I do.”

If the marriage fails in spite of the well-planned and executed one-day wedding, attitudes about divorce also changed and it became a viable option. The average divorce can cost around $25,000. One study found divorce costs the country as much as $112 billion a year. As so often over the years we find money is the root of all evil.

Our marriage in 1942 was anything but the showy productions they have become. He was a college student knowing he would enter service soon. We had been a faithful couple for two years and as the military drew closer we decided to marry.

There was no time for invitations but on the evening we took our vows in the little church of my youth the pews were filled with friends and neighbors. A school friend played the piano. An aunt sang and a retired minister known as Uncle D.G. performed the service. Yes, I did wear a traditional wedding gown which hangs in my closet today.

My ideas about marriage were formed very early when as a child I listened to my mother and her two sisters talk about it. At sometime during those discussions they would tell me marriage was forever and there had never been a divorce in our family. The message emphasized it was important to be sure before you married because it was “till death do us part.” My parents were married 57 years before the death of my father and both aunts had only one husband.

Those conversations made clear there was no perfect marriage but it needed constant work by the partners to keep the relationship fresh. Understanding and compromise were necessary ingredients.

After 70 years I credit several things that helped me through tense times. The night before our wedding I wrote myself a letter pouring out all the good things I loved about the man I was marrying. I tucked that letter into my Bible and read it each time I had doubts. It became marked with tear stains but it always worked.

My mother played an important role too. The few times I telephoned her sobbing she gave no sympathy. Instead she told me to work it out and ended the conversation. Thank you, mother.

A wise columnist Sydney Harris, now deceased, wrote often about marriage. He believed that unless both parties were willing to change habits, attitudes, reactions and responses after marriage it could not last. As for happiness he wrote, “Our parents or grandparents never expected that marriage would bring them 'happiness' and so were not disappointed when it failed to meet that promise.” That is one answer to the secret of a good, rather than a happy marriage.

Text Only
  • Lion and the Lamb: Our war on women

    Jimmy Carter, who was president from 1977 to 1981, has had quite an impressive career as an author. His first book was published in 1975, and he has now written a total of 37 books, 23 of them after his presidency. He has set a high example for other past presidents, especially those who would like to find ways of being as beneficial to their nation as possible in the days after their retirement.

    April 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: "Selfie" destruction

    Technology continues to profoundly impact our daily lives, from the Heartbleed Bug that put hundreds of thousands of websites at risk of compromising customer usernames and passwords, to the little light that tries to tell me I'm about to run out of gas. Technology also impacts our language, with new words being created to describe the latest gizmo, gadget or trend.

    April 21, 2014

  • Stumptalk: It depends on what you mean

    A writer’s headline asks, “Do we really believe in democracy?” To which I answer, “What do you mean by democracy?

    April 21, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: The reason words have meaning

    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice