Dear Life - Dad's Advice

Unless you are older than I am, you probably don't remember LIFE magazine.

It was an oversized weekly publication focused on current events and featured amazing photos taken around the world.

In early 1972, they apparently ran a questionnaire looking for answers on what makes a happy marriage and my dad responded.

So, why am I bringing this up now?

In going through files last weekend, I came across a carbon copy of his letter from April 29, 1972.

He suggested adding some questions to their survey and offered his critique of several others. Question 11 dealt with husbands and wives having individual pursuits and the idea of an actual marriage contract.

Here's what he wrote:

"Marriage contracts make a mockery of a sacred institution.  A happy marriage is not a 50-50 proposition; it is at least a 75-75 or even a 100-100 operation.  Face the fact that times will occur when one partner will not be willing or able to give a full 50%.  That is the time when the other partner must have enough love to give the extra until the marriage is over the hurdle."


He and mom were just completing their 11th year of married life.  Dad wrote that both felt their love for each other was stronger in 1972 than on their wedding day in 1961.

As I read the letter, I heard Dad's voice.  His gentle, but firm reasons for his argument as he made his point.

He also included a prayer which he said was written by a physician to help remind married couples of their responsibilities.  I tried an online search and came up empty, so I can't provide the author's name.

In any case, I thought you might like to read it and think about it:

Our Father who art in Heaven,

May we fully appreciate the work that has been put forth to earn the food we are eating, and the comparable effort involved in preparing it.

Forgive us for any impatience, inappreciation, or impoliteness that we direct toward each other... and while helping us to curtail these tendencies, help us to avoid taking offense when they do occur.

Protect, if you will, the members of this family from evil temptations, and sorrowful happenings.

Help us to remember the words "please" and "thank you" and to understand that it is extremely easy to become angry or disturbed with one whom you love enough to marry... it is a long way from pedestals, and offenses at the hands of a loved one seem tripled.

Help us and our family members to understand that moral values and honesty are important to our mental peace and personal dignity... because we cannot expect others to have respect for us if we do not respect ourselves.

Help us to appreciate our mutual successes and accomplishments, and teach us that mature people gain great satisfaction from helping others.

Help us to differentiate between the attractions of infatuations, and the warmth of marital love (in which the partner's interests are placed higher than our personal ones).

Teach us that "resentment is the passion that destroys souls," and must not be harbored within us.

Help us to understand that all people are people of God, loved by Him, and that we should rise above racial and religious intolerance.

Help us to increase our love, respect, and appreciation for each other as we grow older, and to remember the words of our marriage vows... "to love, comfort, honor, and keep in sickness and in health."

Help our love for each other continue to grow.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory; for ever and ever.  Amen

Dad disagreed with the sentiment that love means never having to say you're sorry, instead, he wrote, "a more accurate definition would be that love means being willing to say you're sorry even when you don't feel it's your fault."

He signed off with, "Yours truly, William R. Mossner"

Thanks for the letter, Dad.