The Solution For Divorce May Be The Three Year Marriage

Things I Learned Alone On The Farm

C.S. Lewis did not marry until after he was 50. Even then, his marriage was not consummated for over a year. As he writes about his marriage, he reveals that it was everything you might hope for. Lewis considered his wife an intellectual equal, enjoyed debating her, got her humor and her his. His love for her was every bit as giddy as the first love of youth. He loved her passionately and was content sitting with her in silence.

Three Year of Marriage

Soon after they were married, Lewis’s wife was diagnosed with cancer. They were blessed with three years of marriage which Lewis somehow seemed to slow time so that he could pack in a lifetime. Then she died.

Can I Expect More?

I have had many more years of marriage (28 this year) and learning about Lewis created in me conflicting thoughts. On the one hand, I think I’ve had so many more years than he did I really can’t expect anything more than what I have already had.

The Next Three Years

On the other hand, I think that, as much as I have been blessed in my marriage, maybe over the next three years I could slow time and discover the best years of our marriage.

### Brandon Blankenship

Only One Power Has Authority Over Marriage

Only one power is given authority over marriage;

Not loneliness,
Not depression,
Not addiction,
Not anxiety,
Not self-injury,
Not money,
Not sex.[1. Image Credit: Fat Chance Michael Smith flickr CC 6OCT2011]

Only death has authority over marriage.[2. Matthew 5:32, 1 Corinthians 7:39-40, Romans 7:2-3.]

The cause of the ending of every marriage that is not overcome by death, is surrender. Don’t surrender.

### Brandon Blankenship, Alabama

Truth or Dare and Money

If you don’t want anyone to find out, don’t do it.
-Chinese Proverb

Ever hid money from your spouse?[1. ©2015 Brandon L. Blankenship. Image Credit Girl Hiding Steven Depolo flickr CC by 2.0.] Ever bought something and just kept it to yourself? Got a credit card only you know about? Turns out you are not alone. According to Credit Karma, 17% of millennials confessed to hiding purchases from their spouse, while 11 % said they had a hidden bank account or credit card.[2. https://www.creditkarma.com/article/money-mistakes-young-couples-should-avoid-11615 (retrieved 20 November 2015)] Here are some thoughts to consider.

  1. Nothing is really hidden, at least not forever. No matter how smart you are or how diligent you are or how good you are at keeping secrets, the truth will come out.[3. Mark 4:22 For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought out into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. See also, Matthew 10:26, Luke 12:2 and Luke 8:17.]
  2. The issue will be trust not money. It is easy to trick yourself into believing that a small money matter won’t matter that much. When the hidden money matter is revealed, however, the real issue won’t be about money. It will be about trust. Marriage can survive without money. It cannot survive without trust.
  3. Little habits become big lifestyles. All those little things you have to do to keep a money matter secret become habits. The habits you develop to cover up a small money matter establish a lifestyle of deception that limits intimacy and authenticity. Generally, you will receive out of a marriage what you invest in it. Which would you rather receive?

Here is the good news: you get to choose. If you want to take the dare, you can – with uncertain, almost surely negative results. Why not choose the truth?

 

 

Say Her Name

An older gentleman just walked up to me and asked, “when is the last time you called your wife by her name?” I couldn’t remember but I’m sure it had been a while. I call her lots of things – but not her name. The gentleman said, “when you get home, before you go to bed, call your wife by her name. Your wife is not just some faceless person you share a house with. She has a name.” Strange encounter.

I thought it was stupid but I tried it anyway. Donnalee stopped and looked and me sort of shocked. “You never say my name,” she said. She didn’t have to say anything more, her eyes told me that saying her name wasn’t stupid.

Try it. If you haven’t done it in a while, call her name.[1. Brandon Blankenship ©2015 All rights reserved. Image credit: CC Faceless by Emma.Maria via flickr 2009.]

Right Here. Right Now.

Be here now couple on bench

Here is the number one gift I can give Donnalee. Be with her. Easy to say, hard to do. Not hard because she is hard to be with. Quite the contrary, there is no better day than one spent with her. I am the problem. I have a hard time just being with her because there are so many other places to be.

It is nearly impossible to be here now when you think there is somewhere else to be.    -Guru Singh

The times that this phenomenon has become painfully obvious to me has been when our married friends have stopped being in their marriage because they were somewhere else. Often they were with someone else (real or imagined). Being with someone and imagining yourself somewhere else is not really being there.

More often I intend to be with Donnalee and just her when I let myself get carried off by the ding telling me I have a text message or some other nonsense. My body is still there but I’ve checked out – fantasizing about what important news might be in that text (after all, I might have won that lottery I’ve never entered).

Try this. Give the gift of being present. It might even help to say it, “For the next three hours, I am in the right place (here), with the right person (you), at the right time (now).” And after you say it, the greatest gift is doing it.

### Brandon Blankenship

Credits: Guru Singh quote is by way of Nirvikalpa. Balance © 2014 Brandon Blankenship Alabama Birmingham Pelham Attorney Lawyer

NOTE TO THOSE CHALLENGED BY QUOTING THE GURU SINGH: I quote Guru Singh here because his language is so clean. Also, Zig Ziglar had a whole work on this idea wherein he explained that many people were unhappy and tired because they traveled so much. When they were at work they wanted to be home and when they were home they wanted to be at work. They were never where they were, always traveling (in their mind) to someplace else. To the married evangelical, read Song of Solomon and ask it about being present in your relationship. If you don’t find the answer, please contact me with what you did find.

 

 

A Word To Newlyweds (or Those Who Are About To Be)

Newlyweds piggybacking on the beach

Maybe so many marriages suck today because they started wrong. I can’t think of a single married couple that I have been close to that didn’t start the same way. Newlyweds. Get as much house as we can get. Get a car, no, two cars. Both husband and wife (or at least one of them) working as many hours as they can get. Grab a movie here, dinner there. If this isn’t you, please comment below and share your experience.

Consider this alternative: For the first year of your marriage, get the cheapest possible place to live together. Try not to own a car if you can avoid it. If you can’t avoid it, only have one car. Work as little as you possibly can. Focus the first year on your marriage.

Consider this passage: When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out with the army nor be charged with any duty; he shall be free at home one year and shall give happiness to his wife whom he has taken. Deuteronomy 24: 5 NASB

What Newlyweds Can Expect If They Decide To Do It.

If you decide to make this commitment, you can expect naysayers. They will sound something like, “you guys can be married and have a real life” or “you shouldn’t have to give up your life for your marriage.” Of course, that is the mindset we are setting ourselves against, right? So, the naysayer is no big surprise. To them I would quote Chris Guillebea, “You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to.” (To learn more about living a remarkable life in a conventional world, read Chris’ Remarkable Life In a Conventional World.

Also, there is the church naysayer that may tell you that Deuteronomy is in the old testament and so it isn’t valid anymore. The response to this is beyond the scope of this blog, but consider in response, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

So What Do We Do For A Year?

Well, the authority says the husband should “give happiness to his wife….” But how?

A meeting of two: eye to eye, face to face. And when you are near, I will tear your eyes out and place them inside of mine, and you will tear my eyes out and will place them inside of yours, then I will look at you with your eyes and you will look at me with mine. -J.L. Moreno

How do I see with her eyes? How does she see with mine? It certainly starts with talking, listening. It is certainly accomplished over the long term with a plan. Plan to read a book together, take a trip together. Plan whatever, but plan something.

A special note to men: I’ve noticed that when men are interested in a new hobby, they have a certain method they follow. Each man is a bit different, but there are some consistencies in their method. It usually starts with talking about the hobby with somebody that knows a little more than they do. It might involve buying (or at least reading) a magazine about the hobby. Google might get involved and at some point there will be a YouTube video. If there any tools that support the hobby, somehow the money is found to buy them. Why wouldn’t you use the same method in your marriage?

Whatever you do to learn or improve a new job, hobby or craft  —  use that same method to learn or improve your marriage.

###

© 2014 Donnalee and Brandon L. Blankenship Alabama Birmingham Hoover Pelham

 

 

At least infinity stands off

At least infinity stands off,

makes room in the back of

the closet for another

pair of shoes, an old

umbrella, our clutch of

tight memories.  Years to

list become, like a baked

cake, no longer separate,

but melt, mesh, cohere

into the sweet taste of

shared lips.  -Jon Ciliberto

Thanks to Georgia poet Jon Ciliberto for this poem celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary.  During the AJC Decatur Book Festival, several poets set up a booth and demonstrate their talent.  Since it was the weekend of our anniversary, we shared a little bit about our 25 years and this was the result.

Image credit: Infinity Andrew Smithson CC flickr 5NOV2010

The Secret of the Empty Hand

noble hotel, Jackson, MS

If there is one skill that results in more quality in marriage and longevity it is the skill of emptying the hand. I don’t remember the first time our new shiny new marriage got a scratch on it. Nor do I remember what the scratch was about. I do remember feeling a grudge and withdrawing into my own space. I also remember holding onto that grudge like it was worth a million bucks. What a blessing that after a few hours, my desire for reconciliation had grown in value to five million bucks and was getting more valuable by the minute. I also remember how easy it was to simply let go of the grudge (that only a few hours ago was the most valuable thing I had). The only way to hold my marriage was to empty my hand of my grudge. 20140702-055905-21545773.jpgThis is easier said that done but worth practicing. Empty your hands of whatever you are holding that is keeping you from holding your marriage: a grudge, anger, hurt, insult, a mistress (or mister) — whatever. Here Anna and I are standing in front of the what is left of the Noble Hotel in Mississippi. It will soon be lofts. My grandfather “L.B.” wrote my grandmother Dontis on stationary from this hotel. I have the letter wherein he pleads for reconciliation after an apparent argument. I don’t have her response but I do know that they did not reconcile. I lived the impact that had on my father and I am convinced that whatever they were holding onto (other than their marriage), it wasn’t worth it. Incidentally, a grudge can feel really good. So can anger. How many wasted hours I have spent re-living what I should of said or imagining some ill-fate onto someone that I believe has injured me in some way. Often, letting go is a sacrifice. Let go anyway.

So Much To Learn Together!

in love

So much to learn together!  So much to share!  Languages and acting, poetry and drama and computer-programming and physics and metaphysics, and parapsychology and electronics and gardening and bankruptcy and mythology and geography and cooking and history and painting and economics and wood-working and music and music-history, flying, sailing and the history of sail, political action and geology, courage and comfort and wild plants and native animals, dying and death, archaeology and paleontology and astronomy and cosmology, anger and remorse, writing and metallurgy and sharpshooting and photography and solar design, house construction and investing and printing and giving and receiving and wind-surfing and befriending children, aging and earth-saving and war-stopping, spiritual healing and psychic healing and cultural exchange and film-making, photovoltaics, microscopy and alternate energy, how to play, how to argue and make up, how to surprise and delight and dress and cry, to play the piano and the flute and the guitar, to see beyond appearances, in loveremember other lifetimes, past and future, unlock answers, research and study, collect and analyze and synthesize, serve and contribute, lecture and listen, see and touch, travel cross-time and meet the other we, to [see] worlds from dreams and dwell there, changing.

And then what?  …. And then more, always more for life-hogs to learn.  To learn, to practice, to give back to other life-hogs, to remind them we-re not alone.

And then what? …. LOVE IS ALL THAT MATTERS!

That is why lovestories don’t have endings!  They don’t have endings because love doesn’t end.

 

 

Source: Richard Bach, The Bridge Across Forever (a lovestory), William Morrow and Company, Inc. New York 1984 Edited by Brandon L. Blankenship Alabama Birmingham Hoover Pelham