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Humor February 2018

Three ‘Secrets’ for a 50th Anniversary

By Edward A. Joseph

Love the person you’re with, not some fantasy person, not someone you want to change, but someone you love just as they are. Not someone whose behavior you like in every situation, but someone you love in every situation.

The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook. —William James, American psychologist and philosopher

What’s your secret? The bank manager looked at me with eyes that said, “I’ve got a problem.”

My spouse and I were in the bank to open a new account, and after the paperwork, I mentioned our upcoming 50th anniversary. The manager was a tall, good-looking man, but his eyes reflected a troubled spirit. When he asked his question, I felt it wasn’t just a polite inquiry, but he wanted to know because he was having some difficulty in a relationship.

He was looking at me rather than Susan as he asked his question, I guess because as a fellow male he thought I would have the advice he needed most. Probably a wrong assumption, but I smiled and said the first two things that popped into my mind: a sense of humor and a bad memory.

Susan smiled and nodded her head in agreement.

I can still see his eyes as I stood and shook his hand as we were about to leave. I got the feeling whatever the problem was in his relationship; it wasn’t going to be solved by my pithy advice. Nevertheless, I hoped that what I said might help him in some small way moving forward, and if not in his current relationship, than maybe in a future one.

Driving home I started thinking about my advice, and it seemed true. As in any long-term relationship, Susan and I have had many ups and downs in our more than 50 years of knowing each other, but our ability to laugh together, and let of go of things best forgotten, have been two “secrets” that     have kept us together.

As I sat looking at Susan doing her crossword puzzle that evening a third “secret” dawned on me. One that I wished I had thought of when the bank manager asked his question: love the person you’re with, not some fantasy person, not someone you want to change, but someone you love just as they are. Not someone whose behavior you like in every situation, but someone you love in every situation.

Maybe it was best I didn’t think of this third secret in the bank, because it does sound preachy; but I know in my heart that it, and the other two secrets, have led to a generally happy, growth-filled relationship of over 50 years, and that is something to smile about and to remember.

 

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