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Never Give Up

Another Way for November 16, 2018

Never Give Up

Videos on YouTube or Facebook range from crazy and hilarious, to tear tugging. A recent viral video of a young bear cub climbing an almost vertical mountain face spells courage and persistence like no other. Some viewers said they almost couldn’t watch.

First we see the mother bear struggling across a snowy precipice, her cub trying to follow and mostly failing. Mama has her own troubles navigating, sliding backwards down the slope for awhile. Finally she reaches an angle that must have been slightly less steep, because once she gets going on it, she endures until she reaches the top.

Most of us as mothers or parents would be frantic up there at the top of the mountain watching our cub struggle to make it; she must be strongly tempted to venture back down. She paces, checking over the edge, and we even see her swing out one paw. Perhaps the bear likely knows from instinct or experience that if she went down to help the cub, she would be helpless, really. She barely made it up herself.

And indeed the young cub, after a long long backward slide even further down, gets back up to where his mother has left some pretty good tracks, and proceeds to conquer that mountain and rejoin his mother. Mama quickly moves on, with the cub trouncing behind. The video was reportedly taken by a drone in some remote Russian mountains. An article in The Atlantic (online) indicated that from the behavior of the bears, scientists are pretty sure the bears were fearful of the drone flying so near. They speculate that the mama bear’s paw swipe was likely at the noisy drone, not for her cub. This revelation made me just plain sad. (Search online for “Little bear slipping down the hill.”)

But a larger theme of “never give up” pulls through the video, reminding me of the unforgettable “Climb Every Mountain,” rousing solo by Mother Superior in the Sound of Music musical. It was the first movie I ever went to see—because our church at the time didn’t permit going to theaters. But the movie was deemed a spiritual experience of sorts and a group of us girls went. Even though the words of the song may be cliché, when you’re facing a mountain in your life, it can certainly be a nudge to keep going, like the cub.

The applications to human life are obvious. Struggles with grief, employment, finding direction for life, or difficult relationships, come to mind. I know a young man struggling with drug addiction, after trying multiple times to go through treatment programs. I would call this the mountain of many in our culture today and around the world, and it is so very difficult and sad. The various pulls of drugs are both mental and physical—in this young man’s case a struggle with bipolar; other mental or physical illnesses may be involved in some addictions. Again I think of that cub, going determinedly for his goal, and wish and pray with all my heart that my friend could get to the top of his difficulty as well—and stay there.

In a different vein, I remember a tough professional mountain I had to climb. In the early 2000’s our organization bit off a huge project, and I was called on to serve as writer for a string of documentaries that aired on national TV. The first one was called Journey Toward Forgiveness. I felt intimidated but wanted to try. While I had written many scripts, books, columns and an assortment of TV and radio spots before, it was a new experience to help research and interview potential documentary participants, rough out a preliminary direction, and then follow up putting a script together out of dozens of video interviews and hundreds of pages of conversation.

Looking up at the mountain, it looked insurmountable. But as with many projects, you put one foot in front of another and keep plugging away and you get there—sometimes with the help and feedback of others. Challenging? Yes. But I wouldn’t have missed that mountain for an easier job.

This reminds me also of the tremendous journeys the various persons in our documentaries were on—such as forgiveness, family survivors after suicide, dealing with mental illness or drug addiction—and their courage in telling those stories. I’ve kept up with a few of those persons on Facebook and am overjoyed that at least the ones on Facebook have not slid back down the mountains they encountered. Their stories changed me also. Amazing courage.

***

How does the little bear and mama video make you feel?

What mountain(s) are you facing?

I’d love to hear.

Comment here or send your story to anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com .

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.  

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A Gathering of Sisters: A Year with My Old Order Mennonite Family

Another Way for week of November 9, 2018

A Gathering of Sisters

Darla Weaver is an Old Order wife, mother, expert gardener, and author. She and her husband have three children, but she grew up in a family of five sisters and four brothers. The sisters all live in the hills of southeastern Ohio near her parents’ house where they grew up.

Darla and her sisters have the marvelous tradition of spending each Tuesday with their mother (their father joins them for lunch, from his work in their home-based greenhouse). And the little ones of these sisters absolutely love Tuesdays before they begin formal education (usually from age six through grade eight in typical Old Order or Amish parochial schools), playing on the farm with cousins, eating, and “reading” books in their grandmother’s “library.”

I had edited a previous book of Darla’s, a devotional called Water My Soul. When she happened to mention this unusual gathering to me—spending all day each Tuesday with her sisters, mother, and their younger children—what came to my mind was Mitch Albom’s unforgettable book Tuesdays with Morrie. What if Darla would write something like “Tuesdays with Mom.” She pretty much jumped at the chance—while also presenting the idea to her mother and sisters. Would they be willing to be put under a microscope and have their weekly conversations, activities, joys, triumphs, as well as the skirmishes of their children shared with the entire world?

I think it took some processing with her family—especially the spouses—but Darla has now produced a delightful new book. Eventually the Herald Press team decided on Gathering of Sisters: A Year with My Old Order Mennonite Family as the title, and it is an inside, detailed look at the daily Old Order life of one extended family.

Darla uses a typewriter to write, so we took her pages and used special software to scan them into files the computer could read. Darla writes with a self-deprecating bent, with jokes about her cooking, and consternation over the new silicon cupcake “papers” that are lovely until it comes time to individually wash those modern cupcake holders, which frequently seem to turn up when it’s Darla’s turn to wash. And oh yes, no one can remember who washed the dishes last Tuesday. The children get into tangles the mothers try to sort out, and there’s an extended thread about a brother getting married in another state and chartering a bus to get the whole family there.

In September of the year her youngest son Matthan starts school, Darla reflects on the near universal ache parents feel as their children first scamper off to school: “When Cody (oldest son) went to the store to buy a pair of shoes, he came home with elevens. What’s more, they were the right size. Those were not the feet that fit so snug into the palm of my hand, or when I helped him begin to walk, just the day before yesterday or so. Now even Matthan had grown up and gone to school. The last lingering bits of babyhood always vanish forever in that first-grade aura.”

So Darla arrives at her mom’s on Matthan’s first day of school, no children in tow. She has to kick open a stubborn door. Her mother teases her that she “looked so old, coming up the hill without any children along. One sister chimed in smiling, ‘You looked almost like a grandma with your children all in school.’ They were all smiling so I smiled too—so wonderful is the consolation of sisterly sympathy that I cheered right up” (p. 199-200, Herald Press).

I grew up with two sisters and a little brother and even though our “modern” Mennonite family was much smaller, the community of siblings and especially sisters is something to treasure—even when we tease each other or become downright irked at times. Darla’s strong faith runs through her book, bringing moments of reflection amid both momentous and ordinary days.

Perhaps someone you know would enjoy this book for a Christmas gift or anytime. I’m snagging several for loved ones as well!

***

Many of us wish we lived close enough to loved ones to gather weekly like Darla and her sisters and family. What traditions for gathering have you managed, even if not as often as you would wish? 

***

For more about Darla’s new book Gathering of Sisters, check here, or write to me and I’ll send you information by regular mail. Send your request to anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.

Beloved Memories of Mexico Beach, Fla.

Another Way for week of October 26, 2018

My sister Pert and I riding waves at Mexico Beach circa 1970.

Beloved Memories of Mexico Beach      

To be honest it wasn’t that much of a beach to begin with but it was “our” beach, only 38 miles or so from my home in the panhandle of Florida back in 1969. We could whip down there on a Saturday afternoon after chores were finished or even after church on Sunday and enjoy a few hours relaxing, swimming, jumping waves, walking the beach, enjoying a sunset.

For a girl from landlocked Indiana (except for Indiana dunes on Lake Michigan, another lovely spot), it was a dream come true, and one of the main reasons, truth be told, I was willing to move to Florida for my senior year of high school. My parents had offered several times to let me finish out high school at Bethany Christian school I had gone to in northern Indiana for three years, where I had the best of friends. There would have been aunts I could have lived with. But I was gung ho to move, and the beach had a lot to do with it. An early visit there the spring of 1969 drew me with the constancy of waves lapping on sand. My grandmother went with us on that trip and burned her ankles (the only space exposed to the sun with her long dress) as we walked the shore.

I now live five hours from the beaches in Virginia distance-wise, but we’ve never attempted to make a day trip out of it—always overnight, always heavy heavy traffic (especially in recent years) getting there. Getting to Mexico Beach was an easy drive on back roads straight and smooth—the biggest danger going home was drifting off to sleep after a half day of the warm and beautiful Gulf of Mexico.

My friend Deb and sister Pert at Mexico Beach 1970.

So we loved it and had many a family picnic there on Fourth of July or Labor Day or anytime we needed a getaway. The original facilities were a simple Florida wayside park with sturdy cement picnic tables, benches, and shelters, and a place to change and shower off. We sometimes set up makeshift tents with poles and sheets in the sand, long before canopies for such purposes came on the scene. Eventually a brother-in-law owned a small catamaran sailboat on which we had plenty of adventures. A close friend from my class in Indiana visited after we both graduated high school and we spent several days relaxing and sunning on the secluded beachfront which midweek was almost empty. I remember one nearby store where one could get snacks, drinks, suntan lotion.

A small local restaurant at a north Florida beach in Feb. 2010. My mother, brother Terry, and sister Nancy. They’re laughing because my brother was carrying Mom’s purse for her.

In the last 40 years Mexico Beach (year-round population still only around 1000) has of course been built up with hotels, beach stores, condominiums, beach houses, the works. All these things supplied much needed jobs and opportunities for folks living in nearby counties, where making a living has always been a lot of hard work and long commutes to either Tallahassee or Panama City for better paying openings. As a college student, one summer I drove one hour to work at a restaurant on the Panama City beach, sometimes staying over at a home where an elderly man had advertised a room in exchange for help cooking as he cared for his wife dying of cancer.

The videos, photos and aerial shots from Mexico Beach after Hurricane Michael are devastating and shocking. Sure, hurricanes hit every year, somewhere, and this was ground zero. My brother, who lives in a nearby county, said it was disorienting to drive around because you couldn’t recognize things. They rode out the storm but would have evacuated if the upgrading of the storm to a “4” instead of a “3” had come earlier.

My brother and some of his family on the beach, Feb. 2010.

Recovery from massive storms and floods takes patience, time, and lots of help from all around. Help can never be distributed evenly or fairly—but as my brother said, with neighbors and family, they’re getting by. The downed trees and devastated homes and businesses will take months and years to clean up. If you can help, check out opportunities from Mennonite Disaster Service, Brethren Disaster Service, Presbyterian Disaster Service being three I know about first hand. They funnel volunteers, supplies and monetary gifts to those in need—rebuilding for years after storms. God bless and guide and grant safety to all those helping their neighbors, and strangers helping strangers.

Update: I was pleased to hear at least one local school resumed having classes just yesterday (Nov. 1) even though many homes do not yet have electricity restored. You can follow a Facebook group, Calhoun Strong for photos and updates and information regarding recovery efforts and indeed—neighbors telling neighbors where they can find help.

Mexico Beach, 2010.

***

If you want to help out as rebuilding goes on for years, here are three church organizations which will likely be sending workers, and they can always use funds:

Mennonite Disaster Service at https://mds.mennonite.net/ or this address: 583 Airport Road, Lititz PA 17543.

Brethren Disaster Ministries, www.brethrendisasterministries.org or here: Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Avenue, Elgin IL  60120.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance https://pda.pcusa.org/situation/hurricane-michael/ , or here: P.O. Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA, 15264-3700.

My email is anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834. Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.  

 

 

 

 

Everybody Clean Up

Three visiting dogs + our dog = 4 dogs in a house. It went fine!

Another Way for week of October 18, 2018

Everybody Clean Up

If you have children or grandchildren in daycare, preschool, kindergarten or Sunday school, they probably know the “clean up” song:

Clean up, clean up, everybody clean up, time to clean up!
Pick up, everybody pick up, everybody pick up, time to pick up!
Pick up the toys, put them away, Pick up the blocks, put them away, Pick up the books, put them away! Put your things away!

If you don’t know the tune, you can easily find it on YouTube. Caution: it will be in your head for the rest of the day.

I use it today as a light-hearted way to get into the serious topic and sad work of cleaning up and rebuilding after natural disasters. This summer and fall it seems the news has been filled with almost constant warnings and then aftermath of cyclical storms. Earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia. Typhoon in the Philippines and surrounding areas. Wildfires in California. Flooding in Japan and mudslides. And now this week as I write this, Hurricane Michael hitting Florida so very hard. More about that next week.

On the 24-news cycle, we are bombarded through various media and constant warnings, updates, downgrades of storms, and local reports of how the water, toilet paper, and batteries are flying off the shelves at the local big box store.

Our houseguests for the duration of Hurricane Florence, mapping their return trip to jobs and responsibilities. Deciding on the best route was not easy either.

Meanwhile areas affected by hurricanes or flooding in 2016 and 2017 and even further back are still living with the aftereffects.

During Hurricane Florence that threatened the East Coast in mid-September, some of my extended family followed evacuation orders in their area and came and stayed with me and my husband, about a seven-hour drive away.

I felt the anguish and turmoil of seasonal storms in a new way, especially as they tried to travel back to jobs and uncertain conditions. Since that time, they have been involved in helping a co-worker clean up as her home was inundated by waters and other storm damage. This on top of their normal jobs that include long hours, with stressful and anxious conditions. Not easy. I know this co-worker appreciated the clean-up help of her friends immensely.

Since my husband retired, he has been moved and challenged by going with two teams working at rebuilding after flooding in nearby West Virginia and North Carolina. During Hurricane Florence, he kept thinking of these very needy areas who have so little. He hopes to do more as health permits. I know that these hands-on experiences are invaluable in bringing the plight of individuals to our consciousness.

Those who don’t live in areas prone to flooding or hurricanes (I pick these disasters because they are the most common for those of us in the U.S.) may say, why not just move? Some indeed do move, but for many it is the area where they have lived for decades, where they have family, jobs and friends. Friends and family do indeed help with the “Everybody clean up” duties and rebuilding. But in areas where poverty is rampant and folks have their own homes, yards, and businesses to clean up, it is essential for outside helpers to bring healing and hope by volunteering when you can or are able.

I know a family who took four months out of their normal work and lives this summer to move to Puerto Rico and establish a new base for rebuilding homes with Mennonite Disaster Service from Hurricane Maria in 2017 on that island, so hard hit. You can read about their challenges and extreme heat, as well as joys and successes at her blog, JenniferMurch.com. (At her blog, type “Puerto Rico” in the search bar and you’ll get most of her entries from their four months of work as they helped build a beautiful small block home for a survivor.)

I’ll continue this thread next week. Meanwhile, genuine prayers and sympathy go out to all those whose lives and homes have been touched or ravaged by storms and disasters.

***

Have you been affected by storms this summer or fall? I’ll say more about Hurricane Michael next week and meanwhile we’d love to hear your stories.

***

A great place to help through donations or volunteering is Mennonite Disaster Service at https://mds.mennonite.net/ or this address: 583 Airport Road, Lititz PA 17543.

 

 

***

To contact me privately, my email is anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.  

 

 

Lean on Me

Another Way for week of October 12, 2018

Lean on Me: Two Boys and Two Grandparents’ Adventure at the Zoo

Have you ever gone on an adventure unsure if you were up to the task? Maybe a zipline, a whitewater trip, or perhaps a jump with a parachute?

More to the point: Are two sixty-somethings in good enough shape to keep up with two brothers under five at the great zoo in our nation’s capital? Without getting lost on the Metro?

As a college student, I lived in a large city one year and learned the basic patterns and tricks to navigating a city’s metro or subway system—such as standing on the correct side of a boarding platform to get the correct train, and walking to the far end of the train or platform depending on which side of the block you hope to come up on at your destination. This day our main goal was just to travel safely and not lose any boys.

Had we landed in the right train? The Metro map was too far away for me to read, and I hesitated to head there for fear the boys would want to follow me. A fellow traveler seemed approachable (not rush hour) so I asked him if our train stopped at Metro Center where we could get the Red line to the zoo. It turned out the young man has sons the ages of our grandsons and he assured us this train indeed did stop at Metro Center, and how many stops to count off.

They were happier than they looked here. At the end of our adventure, we finally got to the zebra!

Washington’s Smithsonian National Zoo (free admission!) is a large and lovely park with plenty of almost natural habitat for the exotic animals to roam or swim or fly with relative freedom. The long paths winding through it on a sunny, hot day make little boys and older people a little tired and sometimes whiney, let’s just say. But at least the boys didn’t have long lists of animals on their “must see” lists: just swimming seals, zebras, and elephants.

We would have done well to study maps and guides to the park ahead of time: It had been 25 years or more since we’d visited when our own girls were a good age for it. We asked a volunteer for help and he ended up leading us to several destinations. Youngsters tend to get off track when they want to explore every little knob that twists, or exhibit door that lifts—and forget the big animals they really came to see.

Managing bathroom breaks, requests for drinks, and finally lunch (with one gluten-free child) were additional challenges (we brought our own but there were snack shops in the park). We found a shady area where two Spanish-speaking mothers were chatting and enjoying their littles (a nine-month-old, a two-month-old, and perhaps another child, not sure). I’m sure they got more out of their time spent together—a chance to get out on that sunny morning—than their children got out of the zoo! Which is maybe the point of some visits.

Yes we were hot, sweaty and tired, but we made it! The ride home in the Metro.

Our journey back to the Metro station included asking several folks whether we were heading in the right direction. When we were at last on the right platform, I found it very fitting and even inspiring to be serenaded by a pair of Metro musicians harmonizing nicely. Their lyrics spoke to me from the Bill Withers song “Lean on Me:”

So just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on….

We arrived happily back at my daughter’s house, safe and sound in time for late naps. When my daughter asked what their favorite animal at the zoo was, the two-year-old responded, “The cow.” Okay….! We could have taken a drive through the country for that.

My only regret? That I neglected to toss some spare bills in the open instrument case of the musicians. We had so many hands we leaned on during our adventure!

If you are like me, we all have people we lean on for our daily lives as well. How long has it been since you tossed a thank you their way?

***

Send your own adventure stories to me at anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.  

The Wonder of Birth

Another Way for week of October 5, 2018

The Wonder of Birth
I have now been privileged to be present at the birth of three grandsons. We have two additional grandsons who were born before we could quite get there. But that was okay too. We got there as soon as we could.
Watching a baby come slip-sliding into the world with yes–a lot of pushing, panting, and moaning–is to observe creation at its wondrous best. And yes, it is easier to say that when you’re on the “You’ve got this!” “You’re doing great” end of things as a coach and cheerleader–along with the daddy–rather than panicking with “Oh help, I’ll never push this baby out, what am I doing to do?”.
Not counting my own birth plenty of years ago, I have been present for six births; our own three daughters and three of the grandsons, most recently in late September. I was taken with the chatty and familiar conversations in the labor room and this time especially felt the drama of a quickened pace: “We’ve got serious labor going on here” was the immediate feel in the homelike but hospital-clean quarters of the birthing room. Each woman moved with synchronicity to her appointed tasks. All together, this labor was only four hours. The only male present and helping was the daddy.
So it was not surprising that my mind was led to ponder the great company of women trading birth stories, comparing length and severity of labor, how many hours pushing, when the water broke, was the baby’s face sunny-side-up (harder) or handily face down? At this birth, a young technician,  about six moths along herself with her first child, absorbed my daughter’s tips and stories: now a pretty experienced hand after three trips through labor.
Yes, labor is messy, difficult, and intimate. Gone are the fancy words for bodily elimination functions, even from the doctor’s lips. In their place the everyday words are fine and feel comfortable in this setting.

I always said I lost all modesty entering labor and delivery (used to be two separate rooms–glad my daughter didn’t have to do that) and it doesn’t really return until months later–perhaps when you finish nursing, (if you are able to feed that way.) My daughters have enjoyed trading stories and birthing tales also with friends and even private Facebook groups, like groups formed of women “due” in the same months. We all like

Grandpa was anxious to cuddle the new little one. So thankful for his safe arrival.

to connect with others going through similar experiences, don’t we?

I’m left marveling once again at the miracle of birth–and let’s not ever forget the mystery. Women around the world of every nation, color, religion, caste, income level and livelihood giving a new little child the gift of life. Even those who were unable or not wanting to give birth share this common entry point into the world–from our own mother’s womb, through the birth canal (or c-section), and out into the wild and wonderful world. Yes, scary and sad, too.
But it makes me cry with joy and praise for our Creator who gave us the gift of body and breath, and the treasure of growing up into this one life. My mother’s heart also sorrows for the many who experience grief, pain, addiction, poverty and the inability to feed a newborn child. Our hearts are torn knowing not all are as fortunate to be born into loving and nurturing families. Bless all the foster and adoptive and grandparents who step up to care for the precious little ones among us.
***
What stories or experiences does this make you think of? We’d love to hear your comments here!
***
Send stories or comments to me at anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com or Another Way Media, Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.
Another Way is a newspaper column by Melodie Davis in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at findingharmonyblog.com a week after newspaper publication.

Ten Ways to Improve your Marriage

Another Way for week of September 21, 2018

Ten Ways to Improve your Marriage

Last week I canvassed friends on Facebook about their top causes of disharmony in marriage. I was curious whether others faced the same kinds of regular or even annual arguments that pop up for us. Several of our skirmishes no one else named include planting the garden; finishing DIY projects; performing stressful nursing duties for the other recovering from an operation; cleaning the basement or garage.

But enough about the ugly. Let’s look at what we can learn from the top issues, and how to nourish marriage.

Money was named most by those responding. Especially when you’re young and starting out, this is a biggee. We know that being raised with similar values helps, as does having long range goals that match up. Keeping a mutual checking account (but probably one person drawing from that fund to pay bills) works best for most of us. My husband and I also like each having an “allowance”—say $20 a week that each can spend freely without checking with each other. For bigger long-range goals, we recommend listening to the Dave Ramsey program or podcasts or even enrolling in one of his locally held “Financial Peace University” seminars to help manage money and get out of debt.

Relating to in-laws is sticky for many; I take a pass on that issue because I never had the opportunity to know my mother-in-law. Where love abides, keeping a focus on that basic love of parents for kids and vice versa, giving each other space and courtesy provides breathing room. There are toxic parents and toxic kids who hold grudges or put loved ones down. Talking with a pastor, friend or even a counselor can provide insights, direction and support.

The third on our list last week was chores—and I don’t know of any family or couple who hasn’t struggled with this issue. No matter how much we help each other, lists and responsibilities can always seem weighted towards ourselves. Pick one of these thoughts and see if you’ve felt it: I do more than he does; I do more than she does. Neither is a good feeling. But it doesn’t help to frame chores that way. Before marriage, these kinds of issues need to be discussed. Longtime family counselor Harvey Yoder recommends regular check-ins as a couple when you both have time and are in a good mood to sit down and discuss how you’re each feeling about issues.

Another item is the “You always” and “You never” conversations that are ill-thought out from the beginning. Try to frame those issues or complaints as an “I” statement: I feel overloaded when ….” Or “I wish we could ….” Recognize the cyclical nature of your own arguments and don’t let them surprise you. When you feel a need to point out the obvious—“Why can’t you put things back where they belong and then you wouldn’t have so much trouble finding things”—just stifle it. Commit yourself to working together without raising old arguments; they rarely do much good.

Finally here are time-tested ways to enjoy each other as a couple and improve your relationship:

  1. Go out to dinner or a movie. If that’s too costly, have pizza and movie night at home.
  2. Sit on your porch or deck or anywhere the TV isn’t blaring.
  3. Take a hike or drive or visit friends or neighbors.
  4. Make or keep a list of things you’re thankful for in your relationship. Compliment each other regularly.
  5. Especially when the children are young, enjoy date nights to be able to focus on each other. Offer to exchange the favor with friends—you keep their kids one night, and they keep yours another.
  6. Volunteer together for a cause you both support.
  7. Plan trips at least every several years, with or without children. If traveling distances isn’t your thing, find someplace nearby where you can get away for one or two nights to unwind and check in with each other.
  8. If there are intimacy problems, find a way to kindly address them or get help. Marriage is worth nurturing and cherishing.
  9. Enjoy the private jokes, the handholding, the snuggles.
  10. Go to church. If you can’t agree on which one, make space for each to have a respected connection with a faith group.

***

I’m guessing that some of you have great tips of your own. Share them here! We’d love to hear yours.

***

Send your own tips or ask for my free booklet, “Secrets of Long Marriage.” Write to me at anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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