Wait, That’s the Old Way!

“Wait, That’s the Old Way!” Ensign, Jan. 2001, 64

“Wait, That’s the Old Way!”

My husband and I have been married for more than 48 years. In all that time, neither of us has done a deliberately unkind thing to the other. But this does not mean that we have always agreed. One of the best things we have done for our marriage was a plan we put into effect years ago to help us stop our wearying arguments.

First, we decided to fast together and pray specifically for help. Then we agreed that to keep misunderstandings from developing into quarrels, we would stop our discussion each time one occurred and begin again. If I said something and Bill got upset, I would say, “Wait, that’s the old way.” He would stop talking, I would rephrase what I had just said, and then he would say, “That’s not what I thought you were saying. I thought you meant …” This approach gave each of us the opportunity to be sure the messages we were sending were being received the way they were intended.

It was work. Each time one of us said something and the other overreacted, we would stop and begin again. The first year we had to do this a lot, the next less, and over time even less. Now it almost never happens.

The important lesson for us was that eternal marriages don’t just happen. They have to be built on hard work just like any other worthwhile achievement. But the work is well worth the effort.—Joan B. Zizka, Sanford (Maine) Ward, Exeter New Hampshire Stake