Focus on the 'sweet things'
"Remember the Sweet Things" is Ellen Greene's account of her marriage to Marsh.
She made a commitment early on to focus on the small sweet things he did, rather than to keep rehashing the bad. This relationship was a second marriage for both and she wanted to be certain not to repeat past lapses. She didn't hide these remembrances either, instead sharing her jottings with her husband every Valentine's Day.
While I loved the idea of putting so much focus on the positive in the marital relationship, I was not so fascinated by reading her musings.
This is one of the actual lists she made.
The book chronicles their relationship, with chapters separated by some of her tributes to those small sweet things.
A lot of those happenings are (I'm sure) precious to the two of them, but to an outsider, not so much. When I think of the most treasured "small" things my husband has done over the course of our marriage, it does bring a smile to my face. You, however, would likely be puzzled by some of them. That's the nature of an intimate relationship.
That being said, the story of their marriage is told well and honestly. Their relationship an inspiration to the reader.
"But I was the one being unfair. Nancy Reagan, someone I wasn't normally given to quoting, had it right when she described a good marriage as one in which the partners didn't expect a constant fifty-fifty arrangement.
'It's often ninety-ten,' she said. 'But if you're the ten, you know you will eventually get your chance to be the ninety.'
I didn't have the generosity to let Marsh enjoy his turn at ninety, at least for the first year when he was adjusting to a new, higher level of responsibility."
Could I be so honest about my key relationships? Doubtful.
I also appreciated her suggestions at the end for starting a list of your own.
How much would relationships be improved if instead of committing the smallest detail of the things that go wrong to our memories we instead cherished the everyday kindnesses and moments of our days?
I'd like to try, but Greene has set the bar pretty high.
- Tricia Ambrose
Labels: ellen greene