Marriage Minute # 82 Bird in a Gilded Cage …from my book, Marriage Minutes, available on Amazon.com
Let’s lighten up a bit in this article, with a story from history. My wife, who is a historian, always shares stories from her research and writing, and she is a great story teller, but some of the most interesting stories come from her own family history. Meet Haslem Marshall, who was a young Sea Captain when he came ashore at Galveston in the 1840’s to build a house, near Morgan’s Point. He had decided he wanted to leave the isolation of the sea, marry, and settle down, so his search for the ideal wife began. He designed and built a wonderful house. Thinking of the ideal wife, he built a home-place that all the neighbors could admire. He had it all planned out, except for the obvious. His search for the ideal wife came to an end when the one he had chosen, turned him down. (i.e. dropped him, kicked him to the curb, cancelled his passport, quenched his ardor, gave him the “no, John” letter) He had described the elegance of his house, over the months of building it, as the gilded cage, but he lamented that he could find no canary. Devastated over this rejection, he set fire to the place, burned it to the ground, and returned to the sea. (“Good as I’ve been to you.”)
Life went on for a while and a somewhat older and much wiser Haslem Marshall came ashore, again. This time he had no elaborate expectations and he met a real person, Melinda Millsaps, a daughter of Isaac Millsaps who died at the Alamo. Her brother, Ephraim, is my wife’s ancestor. This time Haslem started with the relationship, and made the plans with her, rather than for her. They lived happily ever after, raised a family, and a farm, together. (Key word)
Now, what are the lessons of Haslem and Melinda? 1) Smart women, and smart men, don’t want to be squeezed into someone’s mold. And, it’s actually a good thing, since a person without their own personality can get really boring over time. 2) You are better off starting marriage with real people, not projects. Ever see the movie, Citizen Kane? At the end of the movie, Kane has all the characters in his life just where he wants them, but sadly, they are all statues, not people. 3) You build the home to suit the family, not the other way around. Maybe your spouse, or your child, doesn’t want to be a trophy-person. 4) It’s all right to dream, but honor each other’s dreams, share them, and dream together.