Please allow me a bit of a preamble: Nicholas Sanford Wansley is grandson No. 3 chronologically and — pardon a grandfather’s pride — a high achiever.
After graduation from the University of Georgia, he entered the teaching profession like his dad. Also like his dad, he is a high school science teacher — he teaches International Baccalaureate physics — and is a cross country coach. This year, his girls cross country team at South Forsyth High School won the Class 7-A state championship. Nick is scheduled to receive his doctorate at the end of this year. His dad, incidentally, also has a Ph.D. Like father, like son.
Among Nick Wansley’s many achievements is his recent marriage to Lyndsay Nichols, a singer, music teacher and model who is as pretty on the inside as she is on the outside. Together they are the total package. The only thing they are missing at this point is experience.
That is where this grandfather comes in. I don’t know much about much, but I do know a bit about being married a long time. So, I penned this advice for them. Thus, ends the preamble.
To Lyndsay and Nicholas:
Grandma and I are pleased that you two have gotten married and we welcome Lyndsay to the family.
As you read this, Grandma and I are well into our 58th year of marriage. We have done a few things right and some we could have done better. Maybe what we have experienced will help you two to strengthen your own relationship.
First and foremost, love each other. All day. Every day. Easy to do at first, but after a while we find things in each other that are irritating or frustrating and if we are not careful, we can let them become bigger than they are. Sometimes, that is because we put our own feelings ahead of our mate’s. Love is about putting the other person first.
Equally important, learn to find the middle ground. It took Grandma and me a number of years to find it. Some call it “compromise.” I don’t like that word. It sounds like you are giving up something to appease the other person. You aren’t. You are telling each other, “If this is important to you, then it is important to me.”
If it is something that makes either of you uncomfortable, sit down and work it out in a mature fashion. Don’t let your egos get in the way.
Remember that there are two things we cannot change — yesterday and tomorrow. Yesterday is gone and we can’t get it back, and we aren’t even guaranteed a tomorrow. Live this day to the fullest.
Somewhere along the way, I discovered a passage in the Bible that I wish I had found a long time ago. It is Paul’s letter to the Galatians. In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul lists nine characteristics he calls “fruits of the Spirit.” They are as follows: Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness and self-control. None of these take a special talent. What they do take is commitment.
I read that passage every morning before I start my day and hope, for Grandma’s sake and others, that I will exhibit all nine. At the end of the day, I look back and realize that I missed several, usually “patience” and “self-control.”
But that doesn’t stop me from trying again the next day. I recommend that both of you make this a part of your daily ritual. (It is like physical exercise. The more you do it, the better you become at it.)
Finally, never go to bed mad. You will likely wake up mad, and your day is ruined before it starts. Instead, you might wish to end your day as did your great-grandparents. Granny insisted that the last words she and Papa say to each other before they went to sleep each night was “I love you.” That way, if something happened to either of them during the night, they would always remember the last words they had spoken to each other. I suspect she would want you two to do the same thing.
You are about to embark on a long, exciting and, at times, frustrating journey. I know. Grandma and I have been down the same road. We wish you both a long and happy marriage. And when things get tough, maybe something you have read here will make a difference. If so, it would have been worth the trip.
Love to you both. Pa