Babci’s Favorite Sayings on Marriage

by Sandy L on January 26, 2011

Money Reasons just posted an article on the Power of Spousal Teamwork that made me think of one of my favorite Babci quotes, but first a little backstory. For those who aren’t long time readers and haven’t read the stories of my mom’s crappy arranged marriage, I’ll summarize for you.  My dad was an hot tempered alcoholic. He was verbally abusive (which doesn’t leave visible marks), smoked and gambled. He was out of work  for months at a time and spent a good part of our family income on his various vices. Not only did he expect her to work 50 hours a week, but he did not lift a finger around the house to cook, clean or do laundry.  He didn’t allow my mother to get her license as a sort of power thing over her. Sometimes as she was walking home from a hard day’s work and often with a bag of groceries in her hands, he’d drive by and not even stop to pick her up and take her home.  Those kinds of random acts of cruelty were a regular occurrence in our lives and had a lasting impact.

When I got old enough to get married Babci never, ever pressured me to get married to produce grandchildren.  Her biggest fear was that I would end up marrying a similar loser who’d make my life as miserable as hers. She literally prayed to god that I would not end up with someone like my father.  She wrote her own happiness off in the hopes that I would be spared.

You can imagine, as a result, the advice she dispensed was not what you’d typically hear from a person.  Here are my favorite Babci Lines about Marriage.

“I waited 40 years to get married and I still married a loser.”

“Don’t get married only to end up being someone’s personal slave.”

“It’s better to be alone and in control of your life than with someone who makes you miserable.”

and my most favorite of all, which I think goes well with how shared responsibility for personal finances should work in relationships is:

“It’s so much more efficient to have two mules pulling a cart forward instead of one mule pulling forward and the second mule pulling you in the opposite direction.”

For a long time, I thought I would never get married and have kids. I knew too many people from broken homes and even many of the couples that were still married were miserable. I thought I’d just skip that step and not succumb to the peer pressure of marriage.

Well, I know it’s old fashioned, but in the end I did decide I wanted to get married to someone.  Luckily I’m married to that mule that is pulling the cart in much the same direction as I am, thank god.  My mom is always talking about what a golden husband I have.  He is awesome really, but admittedly, her bar is set very low.  In the end, I really don’t know why I didn’t continue the same pattern that my mom did. I think some statistic somewhere say that my odds of following in the same pattern of abuse are pretty high.

So if you’re not married yet, take a good hard look at your significant other and figure out what kind of mule they are.  Will they be pulling the cart with you, in the opposite direction, or will they jump in the cart  and expect you to pull them along for the ride. Getting through life’s challenges can be tough and having a partner where you can work as a team is invaluable.  Don’t be fooled in thinking that being in love is enough. When you’re the one who ends up doing everything to keep the house and your lives afloat, no amount of love will give you that kind of stamina. Plus, I’m sure you won’t feel very loved when the other person is wreaking havoc on your life and finances.

I’ll end with a saying that my godmother told me on marriage.

“Don’t try to find a person that’s perfect because you’ll always be disappointed.  Don’t settle either, but do your best to find a person who has flaws you can live with.”

I’m afraid my family doesn’t have too many hopeless romantics.  Do you have any favorite marriage quotes?

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole January 26, 2011 at 8:17 AM

My favorite marriage quote comes from Sweden: “The man is a slipper.” He’s something warm to come home to at night.

I’m totally a hopeless romantic. I married thinking love was enough and so far it has been. Of course, we’d been in love for 6 years before we got married so there’s been a lot of influencing each other. He calms me. He loves me enough to do his fair share of housework or more. I love him enough to make sure he doesn’t do all of it. Mostly we listen to Carol Channing’s advice ( http://www.lyricszoo.com/marlo-thomas/housework-carol-channing/ ) and do housework together.

Children, when you have a house of your own,
Make sure, when there’s house work to do,
That you don’t have to do it alone.
Little boys, little girls, when you’re big husbands and wives,
If you want all the days of your lives
To seem sunny as summer weather,
Make sure, when there’s housework to do,
That you do it together!

I am the luckiest person on the face of the planet. Love is enough when it goes both ways. :)

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Sandy L January 27, 2011 at 4:55 AM

Nicole – that is so darn sweet and it sounds like you’ve got yourself a nice fella.

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Everyday Tips January 26, 2011 at 8:29 AM

My parents were married for 52 years before my dad passed away, and they were best friends. I was glad I had that example, because so many other people (as you know) did not.

I grew up in an area where college was not really on the radar. Some of my friends went out with guys just so they had someone. I preferred to be alone than to be with someone that was a drinker or had some other ‘habit’. I had a goal, and nobody was going to pull me down so I could not attain my goal, which was to get out of that neighborhood.

I met my husband in college, and we started dating the minute we met almost. He really has been perfect for me, even though I didn’t always see it that way. One of the best things about being married so long is you just come to accept that nobody will agree with you 100 percent and that is ok. You just let things slide and only put up a fuss about the real important things, which rarely happens anymore. I don’t know what I would have done without my husband’s support all these years. Life is so much easier when you have someone to lean on that will never judge you, but just hold you up.

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Sandy L January 27, 2011 at 4:58 AM

Everyday Tips – I’m happy and sad for your at the same time. Happy you had such a great dad, but sad he’s no longer alive. I know what you mean about letting things slide. I find that I’m more like that at work too. Most people mellow out with age and don’t let the small things bother them. I’m glad you found a good person to spend your life and raise a family with. It’s definitely a benefit that I never thought about in college, is the great people you meet.

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Lindy Mint January 26, 2011 at 2:38 PM

I think you didn’t repeat your mother’s pattern because your mother is so good at imparting her wisdom!

I always come up short with sayings when you ask for them, but my favorite bit of advice to new love birds is “when it’s right, it’s right.” If there is fighting and problems from the get-go, it’s not going to last.

And that is so true about finding flaws you can live with.

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Sandy L January 27, 2011 at 5:00 AM

Lindy – I hope that’s the case. I distinctly remember thinking most of my mom’s advice was totally insane in high school and that she had no clue what she was talking about. It wasn’t until years later where I realize the reasons behind a lot of her sayings.

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Money Reasons January 26, 2011 at 4:59 PM

I really like Babci’s quote/analysis: “It’s so much more efficient to have two mules pulling a cart forward instead of one mule pulling forward and the second mule pulling you in the opposite direction.”! It’s spot on. I also like your addon about a mule riding in the cart while the other one is pulling. With one riding in the cart, you still can get to our destination, but it will take longer and the pulling mule will have to work harder (but not twice as hard because of technology -lol). All of that applied to the relationships of today…

I’m impressed with your godmother too!

As for quote about marriage, I don’t any anything original. :(

Great post, and thank for the mention.

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Sandy L January 27, 2011 at 5:04 AM

Money Reasons – I think I followed my godmother’s advice most closely. When I was dating, there always seemed to be something that drove me nuts about each person, until the one I married. His flaws didn’t really bother me. I hope there are more cart pullers than cart riders.

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Barb Friedberg January 26, 2011 at 10:43 PM

I really enjoyed this story and am happy with the ending. My husband (of many many years) always says you know your in love when you love your wifes faults. :) He is my perfect match!

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Sandy L January 27, 2011 at 5:05 AM

Barb – that’s going to be my new favorite quote. My husband just smiles when he can predict something I’ll do or say that is such a me thing to do.

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Roshawn @ Watson Inc January 26, 2011 at 11:08 PM

“When I got old enough to get married Babci never, ever pressured me to get married to produce grandchildren. ”

I’m so happy that she never pressured you! It is quickly becoming my BIGGEST pet peeve when people put pressure on others to have children. They seriously act like you are falling apart if you parent a child by 25.

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Sandy L January 27, 2011 at 5:07 AM

Roshawn – yeah, it’s one of mine too. We didn’t have kids until I was in my 30’s and my husband was 40, so we got that “advice” a lot. More so from total strangers and acquaintances than close family or friends.

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Andrew @ 101 Centavos January 27, 2011 at 7:00 AM

Babci is full of good advice. Mrs. 101 and I married in our thirties, but we’ve known each other since our teens. Lucky for us, we’re compatible mule-wise.

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jackie January 27, 2011 at 11:56 AM

Nice story :)

And I think awareness is the first step toward either doing or not doing something, so your mom making you aware played a major role.

Here is a quote I like:

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

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retirebyforty January 27, 2011 at 6:18 PM

How can you say no to love when you’re young? Love makes you blind and stupid.
I think it’s all a crabshoot really. I’m lucky the Mrs. is a good saver. Marriage is always up and down, but I think we will make it. :)
I don’t have any good marriage quote. Here’s one from my mother in law after 11 years – “he’s all right.”

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Sandy L January 28, 2011 at 6:16 AM

Andrew – LOL

Jackie – I love that poem and it’s so true. Thank you for sharing.

RB40 – that’s more like what my family is like.

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Sandy @ Journey To Our Home January 30, 2011 at 10:48 AM

I love the quote “It’s better to be alone and in control of your life than with someone who makes you miserable.”
And I totally agree with that- my parents never should have gotten married, but they did and then had 6 kids. It was a bad environment growing up. But my three little sisters have found losers just like my dad who are emotionally abusive (and sometimes physically) it is a tough cycle.

I have been married for almost 8 years, to a wonderful man. Who as Nicole said above, ‘He loves me enough to do his fair share of housework or more. I love him enough to make sure he doesn’t do all of it.’ (at least half of the time he does more housework!)

My words of wisdom/relationship advice-
Watch how he treats other people, because at some point you may be one of those other people.
i.e. when you’re in love, of course he is going to treat you special, but you may not be in love forever, and if he doesn’t treat others with respect, chances are he won’t treat you with respect after he falls out of love.
If that doesn’t make sense, sorry. But every a-hole has the ability to put on a good show for a little while.

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Sandy L January 31, 2011 at 10:14 PM

Sandy – I think this is a good trait for not only a spouse but also friends (the thing about treating how they treat other people). I especially think it holds true with cheaters and liars. Great advice Thank you.

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Ardes March 23, 2011 at 3:04 PM

“The most important thing is that the rocks in your head fit the holes in his.”

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Sandy L March 24, 2011 at 5:35 AM

Ardes – Brilliant. This might just be my new favorite saying.

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