Episode #29 - Reed & Allene Whitesides
Do you want your marriage to be rewarding, and happy for over 70 years?
Reed and Allene have done exactly that. I believe their relationship has lasted so long, and been so amazing because they have stuck to some incredibly effective and simple (though not always easy) values throughout the entirety of their relationship. Here are a few things you should do if you want your marriage to last as long as theirs:
Always Speak Kindly Of Each Other
When Allene was younger, she had a speech impediment. Even though we can all admit that it's wrong to tease people for a stutter, or mispronouncing their "R's," we've probably all thought about it. (Ok, I've definitely thought about it.)
But Reed's number one priority was always to make Allene feel good about herself. He never made fun of her for the way she spoke. He was always supportive and encouraging. "We make it a point to always speak kindly of each other."
They don't gossip about each other. They don't call names, or say hurtful things. They know words carry weight, and you can't take them back. After 70 years of kindness, and compliments, it's no wonder they get along so well.
Help Each Other Be At Their Best
When Reed got the lead for South Pacific at the university he was attending, Allene said, "Aw, crap!" She knew this meant she that she had to sit in the audience and watch her husband kiss another woman... and do it convincingly.
Rather than hold a grudge, or discourage him from pursuing his goals, she decided to help him be the best Emile de Becque that ever was. She helped him rehearse lines, understood when he had to stay late for rehearsals, and attended every performance. His success was more important than her discomfort.
The tables were turned later in their marriage when Allene was asked to be the president of a local women's organization for her church. Her leadership role meant she would spend many hours and late nights worrying about, serving, and visiting the women in her congregation. It was a big investment of her time and attention.
Rather than complain that his wife was away, or criticize her decision to take on so much responsibility in addition to raising their 7 children, Reed supported her, counseled her, and stayed up late to wait up for her when she was out dealing with unexpected situations.
When we help other people achieve their goals and become their best selves, we do not lose anything. We gain everything.
When Things Get Tough, Get To Work!
At one point in their relationship, Reed and Allene opened a jewelry shop. The shop was robbed several times, and they struggled to pay their debts. Rather than complaining about their circumstances, blaming each other, or asking for a bailout, they went to work. They encouraged each other, took any opportunity that came along, and conquered their challenges head on... together.
When things get hard, don't run away from each other, or push each other away. Instead lean on each other, and support one another.
Get in the habit of showing your significant other how much you love them through physical affection. Hug them. Touch them. Hold their hands. Kiss them on the mouth.
It's so easy to let physical intimacy grow stale. If you're feeling like things are getting dull, surprise someone with a bit of unexpected (and tender) physical touch and see what happens.
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