Grandma and grandpa have been married for over 50 years.  Grandma worked full-time for awhile as a secretary at a shoe manufacturer and grandpa's a veteran.  He retired 20 years ago from a factory that's no longer in business.  Grandma and grandpa did alright but have stories of tough times and hardships that occasionally gave rise to family woes.

Stand by your man

Despite her secretary work, grandma cooked, cleaned and made her main priority her family and home.  She supported grandpa and still talks very highly about the decisions he made despite occasional uncertainty in her eyes that indicates he may have made some bad choices sometimes.

You're pretty sure grandpa was quite the ladies man.  He even has pictures from his service days with some girls that were definitely not soldiers.  Grandma merely rolls her eyes when the pictures surface with all of his other medallions and keepsakes. 

Serve the Lord

They're both very religious ,though grandma is the strongest of the believers.  She speaks up more now than in the past when grandpa does something she doesn't think is very Christian.   This is apparent in how grandpa seems a bit surprised by her sharp tone during these "corrections".

She volunteers at her local parish and attends mass with grandpa every Sunday where he's an usher.  You never ever say a curse word in front of grandma.  Ever.

Grandma speaks for two

Most recently you and your spouse were at odds.  Upon visiting grandma and grandpa you asked them how they overcame some of the same problems you and your spouse experience.  After all, their marriage survived nearly 43 years and is still going strong. 

Grandpa is a little bit more reserved about his answers.  Maybe he hears some of the disparity from today's marriages in contrast to marriages of their generation.  Maybe he's just decided that grandma is the better talker for things like this. 

Grandma's assertiveness to speak appears more as an expectation of respect from grandpa.  In some ways, that's correct.  In other ways, he appears to have learned over the years when to speak up and when to let grandma lead the conversation.  Smart man. 

You often wonder if you picked up this same trait from grandpa or realized after you married, the importance of your wife's opinions and rights to assert them. You just know it's important and your wife is usually right, so you listen.  

Despite considering yourself a good husband, you still disagree on some things.  While grandma's advice isn't always right for your generation, somehow it helps you figure things out.

A woman's place, not just at home

Grandma speaks right up.  Her voice is strong but a bit scratchy.  She says things that are reflective of being the supportive wife.  She took responsibility for the home, her children's behavior and grades.  She made breakfast and dinner everyday and on occasion grandpa would come home for lunch.  She made sure he was carefree at home so that he could focus on his job.  She was very proud of his becoming the first supervisor in his twenties for the local factory and even prouder that he worked there for almost 35 years.

She's also proud of her former job as a secretary and spoke very highly of her boss, someone you felt of which she may have had a tiny crush.  Though when she talks of him, grandpa never raises an eyebrow.  You think mostly it's because he's too proud to even think of grandma having a crush on someone.  But, you're not sure.

Grandma is very forthright about your spouse needing to work harder to keep you happy.  But indicates it's your responsibility to keep your family strong.  That you should all go to church more and read scripture when you feel lost.  

Hmmm. You’re pretty sure your wife would disagree with the working harder for your happiness part, but the church thing is always on your mind.  Somehow when you’re lost these days you find Netflix® to have most of the answers you seek.  You’re  sure grandma would disapprove.

Times have certainly changed.  Have we?

Maybe your grandparents and you share more or less the similar traits as those in this article.  Regardless, this is generally the era your grandparents came from.  Some grandparents are a little younger, some older, but the general concept of advice is the same.  Life, marriage, family, children are drastically different then 40-50-60 years ago.  

Basically, the roles of each spouse were more specific, black and white.  Today, our relationships have a blended appeal.  It can paint the picture grey or we can bring color into our lives.  These trends provide for a life where everyone has an opportunity to become all he/she dreams. 

It means we have to share responsibilities and allow our generation to break down the gender bias while being allowed to maintain our masculinity and femininity.  Sometimes, our new shared rights only put more responsibility on one spouse and less on another.  Sometimes the fight for control in the relationship overtakes the love and friendship.  Yes, these times are difficult for some couples and can be equally confusing for each spouse.

Staying together is not always the path to happiness

Divorce statistics may indicate divorce percentages, but they don’t give us a picture of overall happiness of each spouse.  The data doesn’t indicate whether those marriages that are still in tact are happy ones.  When religious beliefs, family cohesiveness, generation bias and dutiful behavior are a priority over individual happiness then the success of marriage is skewed.  We've learned that at the root of a happy life is individual happiness.  How can we raise happy children, have a happy home or good marriage when we're individually miserable. 

Yes, we can fake it.  But, today’s generations have found that to be less than fulfilling and horribly misguided.

A lot can be learned from those before us

On the other side of the debate, as our society evolved from grandma’s generation to baby boomers to gen x to ours, it would be arrogant and unrealistic to think that we haven't lost some of the good stuff along the way.  We forget how change affects our family dynamic, our faith and happiness.  In other words, we may be advancing faster, earning more and achieve higher education, but many of our nation's children are being raised by an $11/hr daycare worker and many of these children in daycare before their first birthday.

The reason we work so hard is to have a nice home and life, but our house is always a mess and Saturday is spent washing a week’s worth of clothes, which never really get done.  Despite earning more, we're spending more, which means we need to keep earning more.  What do we spend more on?  Usually things like daycare and trips to our neighborhood Costco® for bulk laundry detergent.

We stress about our jobs, because laundry detergent is expensive (along with the house payment, two car payments, credit cards, insurance and tuition).

So when our boss tells us tp keep our clients (which are guys like you and me) buying more so that we can keep making more because some guy out there had a boss that wants us to keep spending more.  And we do. 

What's on your mind?

At the end of the day, you and your wife are thinking about anything and everything but individual happiness and your marriage.  Instead your planning for tomorrow, carpool, daycare, dog problems and whose turn it is to check in on grandma and grandpa.

So, each generation has a few flaws.  Those flaws are hard on marriages, family, kids and personal happiness. 

Can you learn a little from grandma and grandpa?  Absolutely.  Be respectful.  Allow their advice to penetrate your generation a little.  Their advice, experiences or stories may not cause you to run home and rip your whole life plan apart; but, it may be something worth making a few changes to make tomorrow a little less important to plan and today a little more important to live.


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