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Some serious thoughts about marriage

Every week I look forward to reading USA Weekend. The February 11-13, 2011, issue was superb. The cover picture of Prince William and Kate Middleton presented a beautiful and handsome couple. You get the feeling they are really in love. The world will be watching when they are married to each other, on April 29, for the rest of their lives.

These suggestions have worked for Bill and Kitty for 56 years and are for all who will be married this year.

1. For William and all men take this advice which has worked for me. “Where she leads me, I will follow. What she feeds me, I will swallow.” This adds adventure, discovery and unexpected excitement to life.

2. When you marry each other, you also marry the whole family. It is like Lord Cromwell of England said many years ago, “Warts and all.” Not everybody in every family is perfect. Some are less perfect than others.

3. Never forget what attracted you to each other in the first place. Forget that and failure will follow you like a hound in a fox chase. Remember it and every day will keep you close to what some call “fantasy land.”

4. Marriage is not a 50-50 proposition. That never works. It is more like a 90-10 arrangement. Make sure the other one gets what they desire at least 90 percent of the time. Always desire the best for your wife or husband.

5. You are married to each other until parted by death. For the rest of your life there is only one place to sleep and that is in the bed with each other. Divorce is not an option.

6. One night in Kenya, Kitty and I were sleeping at “Treetops”. We remembered that it is the fabulous wild game reserve where Princess Elizabeth went to bed at night and woke up the next morning as Queen Elizabeth. My Princess Kitty woke up the next morning as Queen Ann, which is really her middle name. She deserves all a queen could ever wish for.

7. Never forget what you thought of each other on your wedding day. I was married on June 4, 1955, to the most beautiful, exciting, talented and intelligent woman I had ever met. The passing years have only enhanced everything I believed then and now.

8. When children are born out of love in your marriage, make it a point to take care of them. Do not turn them over to a nanny or a baby sitter. Stay home as much as you can and care for your own children. Experience that joy now because later will be too late. Learn to rock your babies to sleep. Changing their diapers will teach you many things.

9. Learn to do what the other does so easily. Learn to cook. Pity the poor man whose wife does not know how to boil water or make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. We have eaten in some of the finest dining rooms in the world, but none is ever as enjoyable as our kitchen table. That is where Kitty serves the world’s most delicious cornbread, usually on Friday evening and especially in the wintertime. Hot cornbread with sweet milk is gourmet cooking at its best. Toasted cornbread the next day with buttermilk is a close second. I do not recall that a dinner at The White House tasted as good.

10. Do not become unglued with the childish and sometimes embarrassing things that happen with children. If you will laugh about them 30 years later, be sure to catch a little of the humor now.

William and Kate, you can be sure that Bill and Kitty will be praying for you. You will have an important place in your country and throughout the world. A lot will be expected of you. We believe you will be successful. You do not have to seek fame and fortune. You have it. Handle it well. Do not let it rule or ruin you. Millions of us are counting on you.

One final word. Spend time in prayer and Bible reading each day. The Bible is filled with great love stories. It is the world’s authority on successful marriages. Read them from the King James Version, the New King James Version, the New English Bible or some other translation. Read the Word of God, talk with Him daily through His son, Jesus Christ and above all be quiet in His presence and listen for His voice.

Please remember this: “In a word, there are three things that last for ever: faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of them all is love” (I Corinthians 13:13, The New English Bible). We wish for you and all who will be married this year the knowledge and love of God, our eternal Father. God bless you all, always in all ways worthy.

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