Saturday, April 24, 2004

Marriage links for the week  

Doug at CoffeeSwirls celebrated his seventh wedding anniversary on Sunday. Congratulations, Doug!

The Iowa legislature is looking to reduce the state's divorce rate by as much as five percent with new legislation requiring premarital counseling for couples who apply for a quick wedding license. Under the recently passed bill, couples who get counseling would receive their marriage license after a three-day waiting period. Without it, couples must wait 20 days.

One researcher says that the underlying secret to a happy marriage is the ratio 5:1. Successful spouses share at least five positive interactions—such as bestowing a smile, compliment or humorous quip—to counter every scornful comment, condescending sneer or dramatic eye-rolling. I've heard others say 10:1. I strive for 20:1 just to be safe.

Part of President Bush's so-called War on Poverty is a provision of $1.5 billion over five years for marriage education among the poor. One supporter responds to critics of the measure.

Mildred and Sandoe Hanna have been married 70 years. Says 90-year-old Mildred: "It just goes by so fast, you don’t even notice."

Jennifer Lopez quote of the week: "The secret to a happy marriage is… Oh, who am I kidding?"

Friday, April 23, 2004

His and Hers VIII  

His and Hers is a question or discussion topic relating to marriage that I post every Tuesday or Wednesday (I didn't get a chance to do it this week, though). On Friday, my wife and I each write our thoughts on the topic. I invite other bloggers to do the same with their spouses as an exercise in celebrating marriage. This week's question is:

How do you like to spend your Friday evening after a long and hectic week?

Mrs. Happy's response

Relax and watch some DVDs with my husband.

Curt's response

Relax and watch some DVDs with my wife.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

So that's the word  

A couple of years ago I bought a book called They Have a Word for It. It is subtitled A Lighthearted Lexicon of Untranslatable Words & Phrases. That pretty much sums up the book. I was looking through it today and found a listing for the Yiddish word kolleh. It is a noun that means "a beautiful bride." Apparently, the word applies to all brides since all brides are beautiful to the groom, and since wedding guests are meant to see the bride through the groom's eyes. I once heard a preacher say that out of the hundreds of weddings he had performed in his life, he had seen a few grooms that needed work, but he had never once seen an ugly bride. The joy of the day seems to cause every ounce of of a bride's inner beauty to rise to the surface and transcend her appearance, however pleasing it might normally be. Though I'm not even sure how to pronounce the word, I understand the idea. After all, I married a kolleh.

I remember standing at the front of the chapel on my wedding day, watching the bridesmaids walk down the aisle, each one beautiful in her own way. But when my bride appeared, every attendee stood up and gaped in awe at her beauty. I honestly believe that even if standing for the bride weren't a cultural custom, everyone would have stood anyway. I have said before that Mrs. Happy grows more beautiful every day, and it's still true. The more I know her, the more I love her, and the more beautiful she becomes. I may be the only one who notices that, but on our wedding day she exuded a beauty that everyone could see. It transcended her physical features and elevated her grace, charm, loveliness, and force of personality to a level I wasn't sure I could survive. I did survive, though her kollehness so overwhelmed me that I cried through the entire ceremony. According to my book here, the Talmud states as a matter of doctrine that "Every bride is beautiful and graceful." As a Christian, I disagree with Jewish theology on many points. But this is one I would never argue.


And for the record, the fifth sentence on page 23 of They Have a Word for It is "Don't be surprised if future cultural historians find more significance in certain editions of Mad magazine than the events behind a political campaign."

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Indigenous flora  

Jeff made me a little homesick for Texas when he posted a photo of bluebonnets (the Texas state flower) on the Peachwater site. Wildflowers don't last very long there, but when in bloom they are more stunning than any fireworks display I've ever seen. Mrs. Happy and I took a nice walk earlier today, and she took some pictures of the flowers here. In Texas, the flowers grow in fields and by the highways. In New York, they grow on trees.

Click on the photos to see larger images.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Tired post  

Two things:

1) I can't think of anything to write today. This happens sometimes—mostly when I'm tired, and I'm sooo tired right now.

2) Doug posted a picture of his super-hero self at CoffeeSwirls in response to to picture I posted here on Saturday. Today, he followed a meme that has been making the rounds, so I'll do it too. These are the rules:

  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open the book to page 23.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.

This appeals to me because my wedding took place on the 23d day of the fifth month. It's probably a coincidence, but maybe not. Anyway, the nearest book to me at this moment is The Thurber Carnival by James Thurber. Sentence No. 5 on page 23 is this: "On the occasion of the hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary of Washington's crossing the Delaware, however, I was sent over to Trenton to report the daylong celebration." Not very exciting. In a variation on this theme, I find that the 23d sentence on page 5 is a little more rewarding: "I hunted for my Chiclets but couldn't find them."

This is infectious. The next nearest book to me is Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis. Here's sentence 5 on page 23: "One day my brother decided it would be a good thing to make a tent." And from the 23d sentence of page 5: "His <drawings> were of ships and trains and battles; mine, when not imitated from his, were of what we both called dressed animals—the anthropomorphized beasts of nursery literature."

I feel like I need to tie this in better to my overall theme of marriage. The nearest book about marriage is called One Good Year. OGY 23:3–5 (sentence 5 makes no sense out of context) is "Once a day for a year catch your LifeMate doing something that you value, admire, love, or respect. Write down in a journal how much that means to you. At the end of the year give it to your LifeMate as a gift." OGY 5:23 is "I find it hard to forgive my LifeMate for not living up to my expectations."