I first came across the following piece of writing at a friend’s wedding about six years ago. I was struck by how it was both inspiring yet practical, so when we got home I cut it out of the wedding program and stuck it on our fridge. Over the years it had started to get a bit dog-eared, so when I saw the same words on a card at the newsagent, I upgraded my ‘inspiration piece’ to something sturdier.
My husband and I see these words everyday and they are a great reminder of what is important, of the ‘little things’, like holding hands, but also of the bigger things in life, such as being united in our values. I really love the mental picture of a ‘circle of love that gathers in the whole family’.
Although I don’t always remember to apply these words of wisdom to my own life (I have definitely gone to bed feeling angry), they are often the little push I need to show gratitude or to ‘forgive and forget’.
I also love how the final lines shift the focus off our partner, and onto us. It is often a lot easier to lay blame on others, rather than thinking “What could I do to make things better?”
If both partners are taking the time to ‘create a good marriage’, we are giving it the best chance for success.
Do you have a poem or quote that inspires you? I’d love to hear about it.
“The Art Of Marriage”
by Wilferd A. Peterson (short, popular version)
A good marriage must be created.
In the art of marriage the little things are the big things…
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once each day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is speaking words of appreciation and
demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.
It is finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is not only marrying the right partner…
It is being the right partner.
- by Wilferd Arlan Peterson
The Art of Marriage is an essay by Wilferd A. Peterson (published in THE NEW BOOK OF THE ART OF LIVING, Simon & Schuster, New York, copyright Wilferd Arlan Peterson, 1962, 1963; copyright Lilian Thorpe, 2004).
Photo of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.
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