Recipe For 50+ Years Of Marriage

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should NOT be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the previously mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE FOR 50+ YEARS OF MARRIAGE

 

In November, 1962 Sandra-Jo Moore and Leonard Rudnick were in the first semester of their senior year at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia (the best small liberal arts college in America-then and now). On the 13th, they eloped and were married in Oakland, MD.

Even though we have celebrated out 54th anniversary, both of us wish there had been a handbook or recipe for successful, long lasting relationships/marriages.

We made the majority of mistakes and somehow managed to remain married this long. The “secret” if forced to use only one word is the concept of commitment. Fortunately I am not forced to use only one word. What follows hopefully will make that concept easier to achieve.

People have often asked what the secret for a long lasting marriage is. It is certainly a reasonable question. Contrary to popular belief, divorce rates reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been going down ever since. Some 70% of folks who got married in the 1990s made it 15 years together, a 5% increase from the previous two decades. Nearly 75% of marriages from the last decade are going to make it to death.

One of the interesting factors in these statistics is the fact that fewer people are getting married, overall. Another fact is that people are waiting longer to get married.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that all marriages should not be sustained. Consider the number of dead beat fathers, abusers of both genders (physically, mentally and emotionally) and there are good reasons for marriages to fail. Those of them who may read this will certainly not understand or believe what I have written and alluded to. While the statistics are better about marriage longevity, if you are in the negative percentage, it is 100% failure.

In spite of these upbeat statistics, those couples married 50+ years make up America’s smallest minority group. Being that my wife and I  are fortunate enough to be part of that minority group, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t get free health care, food stamps and education. In truth, we have very good health care (Medicare) and can afford our food expenses. I wouldn’t mind earning another degree or two.

The title of this diatribe uses the word “Recipe.” That is because I will be describing several ingredients necessary in order to blend two different people into a cohesive team that learns to play well with others for half a century or more.

I have long appreciated the difficulties faced by mixed marriages – Men and Women. This leads me to what I believe to be the first necessary ingredient, which is understanding how amazingly different men and women actually are (not just physically).

I STRONGLY recommend listening to an audio presentation of, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by John Grey, PhD. It is the best way to get the information and understanding of how different the genders actually are and how those differences affect the thought processes and actions of both of them.

In Arizona, high school students cannot graduate unless they pass a class about the state constitution. Now, teaching cursive writing is required as well. I have been a proponent of using the above mentioned material for a class about relationships that should be required before high school graduation. That subject is far more essential and applicable for daily living than studying about a state constitution or learning cursive writing. It would be great if all three could be taught. Given time restraints, if there can be only one, understanding relationships is by far the most important of the three.

The next important ingredient is understanding and accepting that the marriage ceremony questions are NOT multiple choice. “For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” are not optional. The correct answer is, “I do” or “I will.” The answer, “better, richer, health” is absolutely unacceptable.

Another essential ingredient is that word commitment. In reality, it is not just a word. It is an essential concept. In ALL relationships, personal and business, there are highs and lows, good and bad, positives and negatives. In the human body this is called HOMEOSTASIS. A good visual would be looking at a heart monitor. There are highs above midline and lows below that line. This is normal. All peaks above or below midline would result in unstainable life. A flat line, with no ups and downs is death.

This is true with relationships of all kinds. A big difference is that with the human body, homeostasis is a natural occurrence. In relationships, BOTH parties must CONSTANTLY work at maintaining a normal balance between highs and lows. Unlike the body, longevity is best served when there are more highs than lows.

It is my observation that somehow, over an indefinite period of time, the very qualities that members of a “couple” found endearing during courtship and early marriage, suddenly pisses them off. The exact mechanisms involved are unclear and vary among individuals.

The best ways to deal with this natural phenomena is to 1. Prevent it from happening and 2. Communicate what you are feeling when the previous loved behavior, words, opinions, etc. now really piss you off. Then, TOGETHER work on how to deal with it. This WILL HAPPEN. Be prepared and willing to compromise. BOTH OF YOU.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always loved music/lyrics of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. For the most part, the lyrics were kinder and sweeter and were able to express emotions I was too shy to verbalize (yes, believe it or not I was, and to some degree, still am, shy). In addition, the music did not drown out the lyrics.

When I became a family man and our children were old enough to care, they would have a choice of listening to “their music” either going or returning in our car. The other direction was spent listening to “my music.” I did the same with our grandchildren. I am proud to say that our children and grandchildren have an appreciation for the music I grew up with and still listen to.

As such, I will include lyrics to songs that express concepts and instructions that serve as “ingredients” for the longevity recipe. I present them in no particular order.

LOLLIPOPS AND ROSES written by Tony Velona and sung by Jack Jones in 1962:

We try acting grown up, but as a rule, we’re all little children fresh from school…….

So, carry her books, that’s how it starts. Fourteen to forty they’re kids in their hearts. Keep them handy, flowers and candy, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses…..

Tell her you care each time you speak. Make it her birthday each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things. Roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

One day she’ll smile, next day she’ll cry. Minute to minute you’ll never know why! Coax her, pet her, better yet get her, roses and lollipops, lollipops and roses.

Translation:  The concept of waiting for Valentine’s Day to get your spouse/significant other a gift or a card or flowers is just plain stupid and subtracts an essential ingredient in the recipe for long lasting marriages.

A kind word, a soft touch doing something you don’t want to do just because your spouse would like to do it, are all necessary ingredients.

That brings me to another song:

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, Music by Stutz, Carl, Calisch, Lyrics by Edith Lindeman, sung by Kitty Kallen, 1953

Blow me a kiss from across the room

Say I look nice when I’m not

Touch my hair as you pass my chair

Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street

Call me at six on the dot

A line/text/call a day when you’re far away

Little things mean a lot

You don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls

“cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost my way

Give me a shoulder to cry on

Whether the day is bright or gray

Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile

To show me you haven’t forgot

That always and ever, that’s now and forever

Little things mean a lot

Translation: Little signs of caring and respect do not have to cost thousands or hundreds of dollars. I realize this is contrary to television, newspaper and magazine ads which are designed to brain wash you into believing you have to spend a lot of money to show your love. Those signs should be every day, not just on special occasions. How about we have ONE DAY a year when we treat each other like crap and 364 Valentine’s Days?

WIVES AND LOVERS, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David, sung by Vic Damone, 1963

Hey little girl comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more. For wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you, I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men. Don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers, you may not see him again. Wives should always be lovers too. Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you. He’s almost there.

Hey little girl better wear something pretty. Something you’d wear to go to the city and dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love. Time to get ready for love.

Translation: The second paragraph is a perfect example of male/female double standards. However, the basic message is correct. Just because there are rings on fingers should not mean the process of “wooing” your spouse should stop. It takes work to keep adding to the recipe. The results are worth it.

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, Music and lyrics by Campbell, Connely and Woods, sung by Frank Sinatra, 1966

In the hustle of the day, we’re all inclined to miss little things that mean so much.

A word, a smile and a kiss.

When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes

And a hero he can always be if he’ll just realize

She may be weary, women do get weary

Wearing the same shabby dress

And when she’s weary, try a little tenderness

She may be waiting, just anticipating

Things she may never possess

While she’s without them, try a little tenderness

It’s not just sentimental

She has her grief and her care

But a word that’s soft and gentle

Makes it easier to bear

You won’t regret it

Women don’t forget it

Love is their whole happiness

And it’s all so easy

Try a little tenderness

Translation: The expression of love does not have to be expensive. The key to lasting marriages is being able to be kind, gentle and tender when you don’t really feel like being so. Ego out and commitment in.

Another important element in long lasting marriage is “intimate relations” (forgive my attempt at creative expression). In other words, sex. While individuals rarely think about it when they are younger, this act is driven by chemicals (hormones), the nervous system, blood supply and emotions (which can also be related to hormones). It is a major initial attraction in the formation of relationships and essential in the early maintenance of them.

Those of you who had visited my office, or have read my Facebook posts or other writings will recognize what I am about to write. Please bear with me. There is a purpose.

Such things as time (age), pregnancies, surgeries (and the normal formation of scar tissue), diseases (such as diabetes and prostate issues) can, and more often than not do, interfere with intimacy.

As we got older, it became necessary for my wife and I to discuss our “intimate relations.” She suggested that we save it for special occasions. I said I would need to think about that idea. After much consideration, I realized that counting our birthdays, those of our children and grandchildren, national and religious holidays, our THREE anniversaries (eloped, married for my family a month later and then, near our 25th anniversary, renewed our vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas), the total came to 26 times a year. That was once every two weeks. I explained this to her and said I was very much okay with that. My wife explained that she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected.

The important point of that story is that one or the other partner is more likely than the other to be effected by physical and chemical issues that relate directly to sex. Since it is still an important element, creativity is necessary to mutually meet each other’s needs.

Marriage for my wife and for me has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. We continue to work at it.

This “recipe” is certainly not complete. There are, I am sure, many more ingredients that you could add. Feel free to do so.

I send this with my best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day that’s at least 364 days long.

Dr. R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Recipe For 50+ Years Of Marriage

  1. Hey! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post
    reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this.
    I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will
    have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

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