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56 YEARS OF LOVE LESSONS – HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Today’s guest blogger is Erica from Coming Up Roses.

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Happy Hump + Happy VALENTINE’S Day, friends! Are you someone who loveloveloves or despises this holiday?? J + I celebrated last night since he’s got a work meeting tonight, so I’m hungover on chocolate truffles this morning and I ain’t mad about it. 😉

This V-Day, I was trying to think of what kind of content/advice/thoughts I could put out on this THE day of lovelovelove. And I realized…I’m SO not cut out for that. But luckily, I know two people who totally are.

My Nana & Pop have been married for 56 years – they’re the living embodiment of true, selfless love. (Let’s play “how long will it take before E tears up writing”). They’re the two best people I know (note: already crying). I know my Nana is tied for CUR’s #1 fan (alongside my mama) – she’s a daily reader. A few weekends ago, J + I went up to spend the day with them, take them out to lunch, and just enjoy the day together just the four of us. ‘Twas SO STINKIN’ NICE, especially since it’s usually the whole clan hanging out and not as much 2-on-2 time like that. And it was so stinkin’ nice getting to learn so much more about them still, about their life + love. I mean…56 years.

Can you imagine that?

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

Their wedding picture – also can we talk about how GORGEOUS Nana’s dress is?!?!?!

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

We live in a day + age where divorce seems like an epidemic. Left and right, marriages fail. Couples break up. Partnerships end. 56 years? Try 5. Or 10. And it’s oh so sad + discouraging to feel like love can no longer withstand the hardships of today’s society.

My Nana & Pop give me hope.

And I think they can give hope to so many people omg, because they’ve been through some friggin’ low lows, too, and are still living a beautiful life + love together, after nearly 60 years of partnership. For some perspective, when they got married, they had odds stacked against them. First off, they got married “out of order.” In my Pop’s traditionalist Czech family, his mother expeced his older brother to be next in line to tie the knot. But Pop fell in love with Nana and wanted to marry her, so he did – against his strict mother’s wishes. They had about $5 to their name. They moved into Nana’s childhood home…where Nana’s mother still lived…and where she continued to live for the first 25 years of their marriage. Y’ALL.

Let that sink in.

Today, I don’t many folks who could fathom having an in-law live under the same roof for 25 years. Heck, some folks can’t even manage a long holiday all together before dying to be back in their own space. Beyond that, they were her caretaker’s as she aged and became sick, and they did it willingly + with joy.

No complaining. No struggle bus-ing. No resentment.

They also lived in a time where you really had to just do what ya had to do to provide for your family – it wasn’t as much of “dreamer” world as it is today. Today, we’re all so stinkin’ lucky in that we can truly wake up with a dream and make it happen. That wasn’t the case back then, largely because of resources! If you weren’t born into it, you had to make it happen, and obvi you didn’t have the iPhone to help ya do it. 😉 Pop wanted to be a State Trooper, Nana wanted to be a nurse. Neither one had the chance to do that, because real life at the time didn’t allow it. And neither one is bitter about it. They always put their love + their family first, and if that meant they couldn’t personally do something, that was A-OK. Which is so inspiring I think, especially in light of so much messaging today that’s dripping in do you-you-you.

I think in anyone in the world, my Nana & Pop truly “get” what it takes. Their life is proof of that. Their life is proof that you have zero control of the cards you’re dealt, but you have every ounce of control over how you respond + react to your hand.

SO. I had asked them to put together THEIR thoughts + “advice” that they think has contributed to being together for a true lifetime. I wanted them to be able to mull it over + think about what they can say really contributed to the fact that so many years after “I Do,” they STILL do…love AND like each other. 😉 My Nana handed me a stack of paper with her handwritten notes, which I just typed here exactly as is, unedited.

Start with Love, Patience, & Understanding! Prayer and faith!

Sometimes being quiet and keeping things and feelings to yourself and they seem to work themselves out

Were young and had to learn a lot of things, day to day. We went together for 2.5 years, but you still don’t know everything about each other. Time does that, ups and down and God helps you through them. And the blessed Mother Mary intercedes for us to God. Pray to her always!

Working together is everything and keeping your love alive! Having our children were happy days. Thanking God for healthy, beautiful children was the best news. Early days were not financially easy, but we got through them.

Proud to see our children grow up and do well in school and go on and get a good education. They all got good jobs and work hard to succeed.

Then in future years we got two beautiful grandchildren, Erica and Michael. Erica graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Marketing and Management and now has her own business (blogging and such). Now she is married to a great guy, Jamie!

Our grandson Michael will be graduating in May from Penn State, with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. We are blessed in every way and thankful to God for all the good things in our life.

Also from day one we took care of Mom and we did our best. There were a lotof things to deal with, but we got through them with God’s help and a lot of prayers! We loved her with our heart and soul! She was quite a lady in every way. She raised a big family and had nine children. Life was never easy but she did it with love.

The having, the holding, the family and raising, the working, the planning, the celebrating, the cleaning up after, the dividing and conquering, the memory making and especially the sticking by each other through all of it. And we did it with so much love! With God and the blessed Virgin Mary’s help!

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

Can we point out that Nana was one of NINE? Also, I lovelovelove her point about actually being quiet sometimes, and things seem to work themselves out. This is HARD for me, oftentimes, because I’m not quiet. Like, ever. Ha. In any argument, I’m quick to wanna talk it out or address an issue head-on. But of course I’m not always right, and there are DEF times when I think I should’ve just kept my mouth shut and it would’ve turned out better in the end. My Nana is such a *patient* woman, which is something love could use today.

Also, the power of prayer. Nana is one of the most faithful women EVER, I swear. She’s a total prayer warrior. And really, I think that’s probably why she can get through ANYTHING with the attitude that she has – because she just hands everything up to God. (The epitome of trusting in God). 

They don’t pick fights. They know when to address something versus when to let something slide in the bigger picture. Which is something I’m soooo bad at sometimes oh my gosh. 

They always knew they’d get through. They just had faith and kept truckin’ along.

I asked my mama + my Aunt Donna + Jamie to chime in with their two cents, too, about things they’ve seen slash learned through/because of Nana & Pop’s relationship over the years, since we’ve all been directly impacts by it and have seen it blossom…

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

MOM:

  • Selfless love! They always do things for each other out of care, not a sense of obligation. They. WANT. To. Nana still pours Pop’s juice every morning. I can still remember that from my childhood. And even little things like that let you know someone is caring for you.
  • They don’t keep score!
  • They don’t complain. They had to endure lots of tough stuff – very tight finances, caring for ill relatives, Pop working lots of overtime to make ends meet, living very modest lives. And their attitude was just to do what you need to do and keep going!
  • They celebrate the little things. They appreciate what they have! I’ve never heard them wishing for luxuries or complaining that they did not have them.
  • They did things for themselves. Pop was (and still is) a great handyman. He can fix pretty much anything or build a new one! He’d learn how and do it himself. Both are great cooks and bakers. They had a large vegetable garden and we grew up canning and jarring all sorts of veggies. Nana was not a seamstress making clothes from scratch, but she can mend or repair basically anything that needed it.
  • They tease each other playfully and Pop can always make Nana giggle. 😉
  • They have inside jokes! And they have certain looks that they can give each other that speak volumes.

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

DONNA:

Mom and Dad are the epitome of a marriage made in heaven. God made them amazing individuals and when He bound their hearts, a solid bond was made that could never be broken. Their commitment to God, each other, and their family is unmatched. They’re my role models, and to them, ALL blessings they truly deserve, as they glorify God every day! Their individual quirkiness, funny private looks to each other, and subtle yet grounded PDA’s are only some of their qualities that make their marriage and relationship one that everyone should strive to achieve. After about 60 years together, what better love lesson than theirs…through it all!

J:

What I’ve learned:

  • Faith is a big part of a successful marriage. Having 25 years of your marriage be with an in-law there, many of them in caretaker capacity – it can be a tremendous challenge on your relationship so faith is SO IMPORTANT.
  • Focus on family over perception. For a man to get married and spend the next two decades in his wife’s house with his mother-in-law is not considered “ideal” for our generation today, but Pop put family first over maybe his own personal ideal. You’ve gotta be selfless in your marriage.
  • The important things in a marriage. It’s not always comfortable, and we shouldn’t expect it to be.
  • They’re always aware of each other and what each other needs. Pop always talks about Nana and is looking to see what he can do for her, and vice versa.

Look at the way they look at each other. Look at it. I mean…

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

If that’s not lovelovelove, I don’t know what is. 🙂

Whatever your relationship status today, I hope you feel hope.

So much of how we experience life – so much of our story – stems from our perspective. So much of what my Nana & Pop have been through might leave some feeling less-than-stellar, throwing a pity party. Their attitude has always been to just make it work and do it all with love.

Whether you’re single, in a relationship, about to tie the knot or married for a decade, I hope that attitude rubs off on ya a bit today.

Make it work, do it all with love.

Whatever you’re doing in life – be that your relationship with your S.O., your girlfriends, the random person that sits outside the Dunkin’ Donuts on your way to work every day – do it all with love.

What are you doing this Valentine’s Day? What’s the most inspiring love story you’ve heard?

Whatever your plans are today, I hope you know + feel how loveloveloved you are.

For what it’s worth, I lovelovelove each of y’all so much and am SO grateful that you’re here. I owe so much to you, and I wouldn’t slash couldn’t do Coming Up Roses without you.

Sending you SO much lovelovelove on this Valentine’s Day + everyday.

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