Take time to appreciate on another

A look at Lower Valley Life from a local resident.

I don’t know why at the ripe old age of 39 I am going to a lot of

weddings lately, but I am. It’s not that we are that popular, either. It cannot

be because we buy nice presents; we are too cheap for that. Whatever the

reason here we sit weekend after weekend packed into pantyhose,

listening to another couple express their undying love for the millionth time.

As I listen, I can’t help but think if only I had known then what I

know now. I believe we should rewrite the vows to reflect the reality of

marriage instead of the “hallmark” version

that has been sold to us via romance novels.

Marriage is a great thing; I benefit and enjoy it every day of my life.

Nevertheless, it is not a red carpet strewn with rose petals … it’s more like

a roller coaster ride. There are lots of dives and swoops, incredible

highs and lows and a few times I swear we got upside down. So here are my

best-shot reality-based wedding vows.

How about we promise to be nice to each other, even when we are

exhausted, stressed and in a lousy mood. Kindness begets kindness. This

rule alone would save half of the marriages out there today.

We could vow to keep our eye on the goal, not the road to it. In

other words, if you help with the housework, I will not complain when you use

a toothbrush to clean a toilet … as long as you throw it out when you are done!

How about promising to never shout at each other … it is hurtful

and only adds to the problem. How about we pledge, when tempers flare, to

adjourn to separate corners until the emotion subsides and we can

work together towards a solution to the problem.

How about we agree to not make cracks at each other’s expense.

The price to our egos is too great to risk on a joke. Instead let’s vow to

build up our partner every chance we get. I will always tell my girl friends

that parts of your anatomy are remarkably like a mule’s, and you tell

everyone that everything I wear makes me look too thin.

How about we acknowledge that we are both works in progress

and promise to accept changes in each other whether we want them or not.

I promise not to take you to the mall and make you hold my purse,

if you promise not to drag me through the tool section of the hardware

store every single time we go.

How about a vow that acknowledges how hard each of our lives

can be with jobs, school, kids, pets and all its other baggage. If I feel

under-appreciated and taken for granted, then I bet you do too. Let’s pledge to

take time to appreciate each other.

I vow never to try to have serious discussions about our

relationship during the playoffs, if you promise

to use the fan and a candle after your “special” time on the throne.

You promise not to make me fake enthusiasm for whatever sports

team you are cheering for. I promise not to make you watch any more

“intimate portraits” on Lifetime Network.

Most importantly, we both promise never to cheat on each other.

Ever. If there are problems in the marriage, we will show the courage to face

them head on.

Whew, glad I got that off my chest. If only I knew then what I know

now. I would do it all over again.

Kate Russell lives in the lower valley. You can reach her

at Katemo1@msn.com