September 2010
Billie Silvey
Last month, Frank and I celebrated our 47th wedding
anniversary.  It’s hard to believe we’ve been married
that long.  It hasn’t always been easy, but, for the most part,
it’s been an exciting journey of discovery together.  Two
secrets of our success are that we both love each other, and that
we both went into marriage believing it
was to last forever.

A third secret was counseling.  I’m not sure we would have
made it without counseling at two key points in that journey—
once when the kids were young and we were both still in school,
and later, when our kids were older and we were faced with
seemingly irreconcilable differences.

Counseling helps you look at yourself and at each other in a
fresh light.  Coupled with testing, it can indicate problem areas
where you may not be as perfectly compatible as you thought
you were.

When it becomes difficult to talk to each other without getting
angry or discouraged, counseling gives you the opportunity to
talk to each other in front of a third, more objective party.

Marriage takes hard work, and it’s important to go into it
expecting it to take work.  But it’s also important to know
that the hard work is worth it.  It helps you, your mate, and your
relationship mature.

Just as you grow and change with time, so does your mate.  
Take care not to pigeonhole, or leave him or her at one stage of
development in your mind.  Maybe he was impulsive in his 20â
€™s, but that doesn’t mean he still is.  Maybe she was
insecure as a new mother, but that doesn’t mean she wonâ
€™t be brave in another context.  Continue to explore and get
to know that fascinating person of the other sex.

Don’t stop talking, but don’t talk constantly.  Develop
different interests and the ability to enjoy silence together.  But
recognize that enjoying silence is very different from giving the
silent treatment because you’re miffed.  Don’t expect
your mate to guess how you’re feeling or why you're feeling
that way.

Recognize that you can't change your mate.  The only person
you can change is yourself.
Jenny Ricker