Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Blessed Are They Who are Pleasant to Live With!

(My Parents: Two Happy People Make One Long Happy Marriage!)

(My Beloved. Alias: Most Pleasant Man on the Planet.)

When I came across the first line in this poem below, "Blessed are they are who pleasant to live with --" I immediately thought of my husband, Greg who qualifies as the Easiest, Most Pleasant Person to Live With I've ever known.

My longtime friend Shawn, who lost her husband Ron (complications during surgery) only a handful of months ago, would agree that her Beloved fit this description as well. Both of us have been married before, and in our youth we thought love equaled work. Very hard work. And the bulk of that work, to our Pollyanna minds, was in trying to cheer up someone who, frankly, preferred their melancholy.

Late in life, we married men who were "pleasant to live with" -- who took responsibility for their own joy and took difficulties in stride. Who saw the best in us and downplayed the worst. And we both had the same reaction: "Wow. Love can be easy? Really?"

As Shawn is grieving the loss of her wonderful guy, we are talking more and more about privilege to have known such Great Love. ("Amore Grande!" so says the old woman in Under the Tuscan Sun.) If we were to give young women and men advice on who to marry in order to enjoy their life to the hilt; both of us would say, "Marry a guy who makes his own sunshine. Love a person you can lean on for both comfort and joy. Marry a woman who smiles a lot, who has a reputation for kindness and joy. If you want a happy marriage, be a happy person and marry a happy partner."

Here's the poem, from the 1940's collection, Poems That Touch the Heart.

Blessed Are They

Blessed are they who are pleasant to live with --

Blessed are they who sing in the morning;

Whose faces have smiles for their early adorning;

Who come down to breakfast companioned by cheer;

Who don't dwell on troubles or entertain fear;

Whose eyes smile forth bravely; whose lips curve to say:

"Life, I salute you! Good morrow, new day!"

Blessed are they who are pleasant to live with --

Blessed are they who treat one another,

Though merely a sister, a father or brother,

With the very same courtesy they would extend

To a casual acquaintance or dearly loved friend;

Who choose for the telling encouraging things;

Who choke back the bitter, the sharp word that stings;

Who bestow love on others through the long day --

Pleasant to live with and blessed are they."

Wilhemina Stitch

In our upcoming book, This is Your Brain in Love, Dr. Earl Henslin and I have woven a red thread through the book. It is the missing link in marriage therapy. And the message is this: "Take responsibility for your own brain health. If both partners will bring their most balanced, joyful brain to the marriage, then just about any kind of marriage counseling will work for you." True! When you have two people whose brains are healthy, whose thoughts are mostly joyful and who are "pleasant to live with" in general -- helping them work through problems, glitches and issues is a walk in the park for any marriage therapist. But most therapists overlook the two wrinkled grey "elephants" in the counseling room: the brains of each partner and the level of happiness therein.

Thankfully, even those who were "Born on a Blue Day" can, with help, find sunshine. Anyone can choose to get help and experience more personal joy -- and thus, became the sort of partner who is pleasant to live with; and also be healthy enough to choose a mate whose adorning, most often, is an easy smile.

1 comment:

  1. Amen to this Blog "Sister"! :) I can TRULY relate to this one, as I have been in more than one relationship where I have thought, "If I do this, or I do that"...if I just love "him" a little more...Bend over backwards...Back off...move closer...LOL...I'm sure you get the picture! ;) I have spent so much time trying to "save" the men in my life from the depths of despair...tha I always wind up there myself. From now on, when those "Flags" start waving and I find myself playing "nurse" again...I will remember this Blog. :) Seek out someone who wants to enhance your life, as much as you do theirs!