“If you live to be a hundred, I want to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.” Words of wisdom spoken by the great philosopher Winnie the Pooh. I have a plaque on my desk here at home that reminds me of this daily.
Years ago my wife, Tanya, promised me that she would outlive me. This was a very important promise for me. Because of this I can go through each day knowing that I will never have to live another day without her. I can live my life and do what needs to be done each day, and then I can return home knowing that she will always be there.
It was 38 years ago on Valentine’s Day that I dropped to one knee and asked Tanya to be my wife. I was a nervous wreck and literally fumbled the box with the ring in it to the floor while anxiously awaiting her reply.
After 37 years of marriage and over six decades on this planet I recognize that what I have been able to accomplish in my life is directly tied to Tanya and the stability of my relationship with her. Knowing that I will never have to be alone helps me better tackle each day. And the world sure looks different when you wake up each morning next to your best friend.
I believe that life was meant to be lived in couples. That is why God made man and woman. A couple should add value to each other. Figuratively speaking, one plus one should equal a number greater than two. A couple should celebrate together and grieve together. They should argue from time to time, but with healthy communication they will conquer each difference because of their commitment to each other. They should laugh together and make good memories.
A couple should provide stability for their children. They should model for their children a healthy husband/wife relationship and good parenting to children who will someday become a spouse and will parent the next generation.
A couple should have expectations of each other, but should not take their spouse for granted.
A powerful poem that helps me keep my relationship with Tanya in perspective is a writing by Norma Burnett titled “If Tomorrow Never Comes.” It is good advice on how to view today so that there are no regrets tomorrow.
“If I knew it would be the last time that I’d see you fall asleep, I would tuck you in more tightly and pray the Lord, your soul to keep.
“If I knew it would be the last time that I see you walk out the door, I would give you a hug and kiss and call you back for one more.
“If I knew it would be the last time I’d hear your voice lifted up in praise, I would video tape each action and word, so I could play them back day after day.
“If I knew it would be the last time I could spare an extra minute or two to stop and say ‘I love you,’ instead of assuming you know I do.
“If I knew it would be the last time I would be there to share your day, I’d be sure it was your best, before it slipped away.
“For surely there’s always tomorrow to make up for an oversight, and we always get a second chance to make everything right.
“There will always be another day to say ‘I love you.’ And certainly there’s another chance to ask ‘Anything I can do?’
“But just in case I might be wrong, and today is all I get, I’d like to say how much I love you and I hope we never forget.
“Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old alike. And today may be the last chance you get to hold your loved one tight.
“So if you’re waiting for tomorrow, why not do it today? For if tomorrow never comes, you’ll surely regret the day that you didn’t take that extra time for a smile, a hug, or a kiss and you were too busy to grant someone, what turned out to be their one last wish.
“So hold your loved ones close today, whisper in their ear. Tell them how much you love them and that you’ll always hold them dear.
“Take time to say ‘I’m sorry,’ ‘please forgive me,’ ‘thank you’ or ‘it’s okay.’ And if tomorrow never comes, you’ll have no regrets about today.”
My challenge to you on Valentine’s Day on Monday is to have a happy marriage. It is one of the toughest things any of us can do, but it is well worth the effort.
I know, it takes two. But are you doing what you can to make it work or are you so focused on the flaws of your spouse that you don’t see your own. Are you modeling for your spouse the way you want him or her to be or are you setting a bad example in your words and actions? Give it your best and find ways to grow together with your spouse, not apart.
Do it for the sake of your marriage. Do it for the sake of your children. You never know when tomorrow won’t come. And just in case tomorrow doesn’t come, enjoy one another to the fullest today.
May your spouse live to be one hundred minus one day so you never have to live a day without your best friend.
Just a thought...
Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202 - 0850.
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