For years and years, Mr. Right counseled many couples on the art of marriage. Yes, oodles of people asked me what our secret was. I guess the thinking was, because you are married to a marriage counselor, you somehow got handed the secret code book and you received the magical answer to a happy marriage. Um, no. Our marriage handbook didn’t come with a secret code book, or pretty magic wand. dag nabbit.
However, after I was asked this question in church, in the grocery store, at PTA meetings, on the phone, at parties, once on the side lines of a school track meet……………I decided that yes, I enjoy visiting with friends and folks. However, sometimes, I didn’t want to give an hour or so of my time to “supplement” my husband’s counseling. I came up with a few great, quick and to the point answers. Let me tell you, giving people hope is a really lovely thing to do. It is what we all want and crave. hope.
So here is what I would say……..relationship or marriage …………….
Buy two tubes of toothpaste. Seriously, they cost about $3.00 each and will save a marriage. “he squeezes it from the middle”, “she has to have it smooth and perfect”…………problem solved. done. This marriage “thing” isn’t so hard. geesh
Then I would get all fancy, Reader’s Digest condensed version of magic and throw in this pearl of wisdom. Leave a little love note in their pants pocket or in their lunch or on the steering wheel for them to find. Everyone wants and appreciates being told that they are of value and loved.
Okay, if those answers were too silly for them, too simplistic, or if they could “smell” I was holding back on something, some secret……….I went in for the real secret, the big fancy schmancy answer. Told the truth. This is the one that has worked for us… going on 32 years. Listen up………..here you go...jig saw puzzles. You’re welcome. the end. What you are still reading? You want more meat, more details. oh bother.
Everyone loves, I mean adores a good secret. This one is a gem. Share the secret, this isn’t like 6th grade when you had to keep a secret and you pinkie swore…….the more people know the “merrier” get it? ha
Usually our favorite amount to choose is a five hundred piece. The reason is, all of our dining room tables from the time we were just married, (small, sat two people comfortably) to our huge pull apart, expandomatic (yes, that is a word) oak dining oval table we currently use. Here is the best reason, once we put babies to bed at 7 or 7:30 pm we still had plenty of time to make some snacks and do a puzzle and be in bed at a regular time.
Yes, we have done 1,000 piece monsters. Sometimes, we have left a couple doozies for the morning to finish. We have purchased some that cost $1.00 and some up to $15.00 (only if we have a coupon). Think, if you are going to get 3-4 hours of enjoyment out of it, keep the price within limits. We always have them on our Christmas wish list, so yes we have received many over the years. Some puzzles have been fun and silly and a joy to do. Others, not so much. We want to enjoy the challenge, not be so mad at the just two colored puzzles or the two-sided puzzles that we loose our spirit.
Once there was a factory sealed puzzle……………..with a MISSING piece! I can’t begin to tell you just how frustrating that actually is.
Last year around the start of the year, I was having some brain issues with Hyperparathyroidism. I sort of lost the ability to do jig saw puzzles. I was crushed. I knew I was sick for real. Fast forward, (it was anything but fast) 9-10 months later. To tell you I was happy and thrilled and tickled to work side by side on Saturday night and complete a puzzle doesn’t even begin to describe my happiness! Pure joy. Big smiles. There is a ton of hope, through healing. When I looked at that completed puzzle on our dining room table this morning, it made me smile. I’m back!
Inside every single puzzle we finish, we write the date, how long it took us and our initials B & D Wilson. On one box a year, we write the words “Happy New Year” . Since the year we were married and have only missed one (while he was away playing Army) we always do a puzzle on New Year’s Eve. Inside the box, this past Saturday night, are the words “B & D, 9/14/13, 1 hr. 35 mins.”
Also, we use a portable full spectrum light to help us find the correct colors and shapes. It is nice, because living in the great state of Washington we do not get our share of sunshine in the fall and winder months of the year.
You feel a great sense of accomplishment. Problem solving and working together. We display the puzzle by leaving it on the table for a few days. Under glass on the end table or in our younger more frugal days, we glued them together and put them on the wall for “art”.
All kidding aside, have you ever wished for 2 solid hours of great music, snacks and uninterrupted conversation with your better half? You are so engrossed in working the puzzle that you end up talking about troubles or good times. Frustrating relatives (yes, we all have them), weird moments at work, the kids, the grandkids, friends, drives and hikes we are planning, planning a big trip or vacation, the books you are currently reading, an article you read, a review you thought was interesting, the dog, dinner or lunch ideas for tomorrow…………..you get the idea. While doing the puzzle you TALK. If you missed it, that was the secret!!!! Just great music (we take turns choosing what we listen to) and talking over life. I am telling you, not lots of folks tell their secret, but it works. Ask Mr. and Mrs. Bill Gates. Ask Mr. and Mrs. George Bush. Ask Mr. & Mrs. Bruce Wilson.
You can rent them, seriously. There are some magnificent wooden puzzles that you rent for the month and send them back for the next one. Or you can finish your purchased ones, put them back into the box and tape the box shut and donate to Goodwill. OR……………………… you can trade. While we haven’t found a couple in a long time, that wants to trade, we have half a dozen or so we will gladly give away to anyone who asks. I promise not to send them off to Goodwill for a month or so. If you would like them give me a shout and I will gladly get them to you. We would LOVE it if we could find folks to trade with.
The world is a giant puzzle that hasn’t been put together yet, and we are trying to find the other piece of this puzzle that goes with us.