The Three Biggest Things I’ve Learned from Being Married for 33 Years

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary. We’ve come so far considering we could have been a “statistic” based on the factors we had: only teenagers when we married, we only had a high school education, we had our first child within the first year of our marriage, my parents were divorced, we only knew each other for a few months before getting married, we had a long distance relationship (me in California, and he in Florida), and we had terrible conflict and communication skills.

We had our “ups” and “downs” over the years, and I was even on the verge of getting a divorce earlier in our marriage. Yes, we saw a counselor and took marriage enrichment classes/seminars, but the turning point of our marriage was when we turned everything over to God. I’ve learned so much these past 33 years, and these are the three biggest things that I learned:

  1. I learned that I had to stop trying to be “right,” and to realize that no one is perfect so I had to be more forgiving.

It seemed that I was in a competition with my husband all the time. I wanted to always prove that I was right to a point where I would get angry about it. I spent more time arguing my case that I never really listened. When my husband did something wrong, I would use it against him and bring it up when we had arguments.

No one is perfect (especially me). If I don’t want people to expect perfection from me, then I shouldn’t expect it from other people, most especially my husband. Since I make mistakes all the time, I know that my husband will make mistakes too so I have to forgive him, just as I would want him to forgive me. I’m not always right; I had to listen more and talk less, and I had to realize that just because he did things differently that it doesn’t mean that my way is “right.”

  1. I learned to “pick my battles,” to let the “little things” go, and to choose my words carefully when there is a real issue.

I remember arguing about how the toilet paper should be placed on the holder, and how that argument would expand into other issues from the past. Does it really matter how the toilet paper is put into the holder? No! I realized that there are more serious issues. When these issues arise then that’s when I have to say something, but I had to choose my words (and tone of voice) carefully so that my words can be received.

  1. I learned to truly love my husband, to appreciate him, and to build him up as often as I can.

It used to make me so jealous that my husband had a photographic memory. He breezed through the doctoral program and graduated with a large dissertation after four years, while I struggled and nearly dropped out. The two years that followed his graduation were extremely difficult for me, but he encouraged me when I felt like giving up, he proof read my work several times, and he picked up the slack at home. I graduated after six years of being in the program, and I could not have done it without him.

I’ve come to appreciate how much smarter he is compared to me; and even though he is smarter, he never rubs it in my face. He brings out the best in me, so I try to bring out the best in him. I encourage him by pointing out the positive things about him, or about the positive things he has done or is doing. I am there if he is having a bad day and he needs someone to listen to him. When he gets a migraine, I massage his head until it goes away. I also tell him that I love him every day (they say action speaks louder than words, but words are still important).

Thirty-three years seems like such a long time, but I still have a lot to learn. I don’t think we ever get to that point in our marriage where we can stop trying to love, to support, and to serve our spouse.

Most of all, I continually thank God for His intervention in my marriage, and thank Him for the wonderful man He has given to me to be my husband.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights… Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger… No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need… serve one another through love… And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ” (James 1:17, 19, Eph 4:28, Gal 5:16, Eph 4:32, CSB).

Copyright © 2017 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

My Mother-In-Law

One of the illustrations my son shared in the sermon yesterday was when he was three-years-old and his grandmother jumped into the pool, fully clothed, to save him as he was drowning (https://youtu.be/UyWzb1iBP3I).

It made me think of the time when my children and I were stuck in Daytona Beach during a flash flood. I remember that it started to rain and all of a sudden Ridgewood Avenue was filled with about two feet of water. The minivan I was driving stopped working and I called my husband to help us. A few minutes later, my door opens and my mother-in-law is standing in rapid flowing water with her arm stretched out to help us out of the van. I couldn’t believe she was there!

I remembered some of the other times she was there to help us— like the time when I was in labor with my first child but my husband and I didn’t know I was in labor (I thought they were just very painful Braxton Hicks contractions). My mother-in-law woke up before dawn to drive over a half hour to our apartment just so she could lay a hand on my belly and say, “She’s in labor.”

Sometimes we forget or neglect to show our appreciation for people. Today, I am showing my appreciation for my mother-in-law. Thank you for everything you do, Mom! Love you!

MomwithJamieFrank2

 Mom is pictured with two of my four children: my son who talked about her in his sermon, and my oldest child.

Copyright © 2016 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

 

Mr. Olson

For the last couple of years I had been searching for one of my high school teachers who really impacted me.

ImageDuring my senior year there were three choices for high school English—Mr. Wilson’s class (the college prep course taught by a high strung teacher who never allowed students to talk or brush their hair in his class), a “Career English” course (where students learned how to write resumes, go on job interviews, etc.), and Mr. Olson’s class (I thought of his class as the “middle range class”).

The thing that surprised me was that his class was a college prep course, taught in a more relaxed environment. I learned how to write research papers, and I joined Jr. Toastmasters that year (which I later found out that he helped organize at our school).

A few years ago, I found out that Mr. Olson had a Ph.D. degree (it was in the yearbook, but I never bothered to read about the teachers).  He never insisted that we call him “Dr. Olson” (unlike another teacher at the school) —we just called him “Mr. Olson.” He was humble, inspiring, and encouraging.

I remember when we had a cross country meet on base and part of the course ran past his house (I didn’t realize he lived there).  He came out of his house to see the runners. He saw me as I was crying while running uphill. He looked at me and clapped his hands, encouraging me to continue.

Mr. Olson was the reason I wanted to go to college—he made me realize that I had “what it takes” to get through school.

Today I did an online search for him and I found out that he had passed away in March 2011 (http://www.obitsutah.com/obituary/5505/wayne-david-olsen.htm).

I really wanted to tell him how much he had influenced me, and now I am extremely sad that I did not get a chance to tell him before he died.

We shouldn’t wait until tomorrow to tell someone how much they mean to us. Do it  today!  “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone” (James 4:14, NLT).

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

What’s in a name?

I have been married for almost 29 years, and in a way, I will be celebrating my 29th birthday in November. Twenty-nine years ago I changed my last name.

A lot of women change their last name when they get married, but I sometimes feel like I am not like most women. I didn’t want to change my last name. I wanted to keep it because it was who I was— it was “me” and I knew all about “Teresa Watson.”

I told my new husband that I wanted to keep my last name, but he insisted that I take his name. I didn’t like the idea so I suggested that I use a hyphenated name—this way I could still retain my personal identity— I would still be “me.”

Again, he strongly insisted that I take his name and leave my maiden name behind. I was very upset. I felt very much like a captive at that point— living someplace unfamiliar to me (Florida instead of California) and then having my name changed.

In a way, I can understand how Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah must have felt. Not only were they brought to Babylon, but their names were changed: “The chief of staff renamed them with these Babylonian names: Daniel was called Belteshazzar, Hananiah was called Shadrach, Mishael was called Meshach, and Azariah was called Abednego” (Daniel 1:7).

I was in unfamiliar territory, both physically and mentally. Mentally, I had no idea who “Teresa Trascritti” was.

In addition to the new name and new location, I was also a new Christian. Again, I think about how names were changed in the Bible, but in the light of Christ, the name changes were positive, not negative. In John 1:42 it says, “Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “Your name is Simon, son of John—but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter”).”

In the book of Genesis God changes the name of Abraham and Sarah: “I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham… God said to Abraham, “Regarding Sarai, your wife—her name will no longer be Sarai. From now on her name will be Sarah”” (Gen 17:5 &15, NLT).

I used to see my “forced” name change and relocation as something terrible, but now I realize that God had to rebuild me. My previous form was damaged and corrupted, but because of Christ I became a new being so it was fitting to have a new name— a new identity. In a way, I was being rebooted by God.

It has been almost 29 years since I have had my new name. I have learned so much during that time. God has formed me into the person I am today—someone who I hope is supportive of her husband, loving to her family, and appreciative to her God.

I really don’t miss the “old Teresa” anymore; in fact, I like the new one much better—“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he [she] is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (1 Cor 5:17, NKJV).

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti