When Charlie and I married, we were full of excitement about sharing our lives together.

We were two individuals who had discovered joy and companionship in doing things together that we already loved doing by ourselves. We were full of anticipation about what we could accomplish together.

One is the Loneliest Number

Of course, everyday living offered a number of challenges involving separate jobs, our families, and the community around us. And perhaps, because we are each “do-it-yourself, fix-it-yourself, design-it-yourself,” kind of people, we were very comfortable with our own individuality and perfectly happy to do things in our own way, or time. Often, we struggled to find a way to accomplish a project or purpose in harmony with one another and were then surprised by the marital conflict that erupted. We’d be hurt and angry, and lonely. While the hurt and anger would fade with time, the loneliness was much more persistent and hard to live with. Almost a decade passed, and then we went on a Marriage Encounter Experience.

Two is Better than One

I heard many things while attending that Experience, but the most vivid revelation was, that we had been nurturing our “do-it-yourself-ness’ instead of our togetherness. Charlie and I are a community of two — perhaps a “little church.” Communities don’t always get along, but they always have a common goal to make their space — or home — a safe and comfortable and successful place to live in — to be.

That isn’t always easy for me. I get pretty caught up in my own business and way of doing things or wanting them done. When this idea, that together we make up a community of two, was suggested to me, it felt refreshing like a window had been opened in a stuffy room.

Together, we have a common purpose — a “do-it-together” kind of way to live our own lives, and perhaps create a difference in our world, our family, and maybe other people’s lives as well. In other words, we’ve learned how to #bethebestus!

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Written by : Melva Gray

Melva Gray, her husband, Charlie, and they're grandchildren

Melva and her husband, Charlie, live in Colorado on a small acreage in the Black Forest near Colorado Springs. They were married in June, 1969, and for their 50th anniversary, added a ground-floor master bedroom to their “build-it themselves” home that Melva designed. Melva and Charlie are currently serving as National Executive Lay Couple for Marriage Encounter - Methodist.

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