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The Secret to Marriage Is Staying Quiet

I don’t pretend to know for all what makes a marriage last. I really could never say. Sometimes, marriages end by no fault of one person or another, or sometimes, they do by the fault of one or another.

But for me, I think it has something to do with being quiet and just hanging up the four coats strewn across a dining room chair or just shutting up and putting away two pairs of size eleven boots that are precariously placed where someone could trip on them. For my husband, I think it probably has something to do with ignoring the fact that I don’t put away any laundry, ever, and smiling and hugging me when I burn dinner.

For us, the secret seems to be in staying quiet about one another’s insignificant faults but at the same time, speaking up when needed — like over essential things, character things, big things, kid things, but mostly in doing so gently and with respect. Sometimes, we do it loudly, I guess, but we choose our battles carefully. But otherwise, I wonder if my marriage has survived almost 15 years (and 22 years of a relationship) because we’ve learned just to accept our petty flaws? Because we’ve stayed quiet? Instead, we’ve focused, on most days, on what we do well and who we are at the core that really matters. This little stuff (while annoying) is just little stuff.

Kara Lawler
Kara Lawlerhttp://motheringthedivide.com
Kara Lawler is a wife, mother, and teacher who writes regularly in her own space, Mothering the Divide, and shares a nightly story on her Facebook page. She has been married to her high school sweetheart for 15 years, is a mother of two small children who inform all of her writing and her perspective, and has been an English teacher for 16 years. Together with her family, she does small scale farming on the family homestead, Aisling House (Aisling is Irish for “dream”), a southern-style farmhouse located in the Appalachian mountains of Pennsylvania. Much of her work draws on the natural world found just right outside her door. The divide to her is mothering all of these parts of her life, as she mothers her children. As she sees it, the divide is trying to balance it all and embracing the beauty of mothering, in general. Kara writes about children and identity with a spiritual, reverent tone. Often, her work is a form of prayer, as she truly believes that observation is a form of prayer. Her writing is honest and authentic, and while she acknowledges, openly, that parenting and marriage aren't easy, she truly believes that nothing worth doing usually is. Being a mom and a wife can be work, but that very work she considers to be vocational. Becoming and being someone's mother has been a journey for her--a journey of self-discovery as she mothers these pieces of her heart.

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