Making it Work


This is the Bridal Cup of Nuremburg. It is a wine goblet designed to allow a couple to drink from it at the same time. The lady’s skirt serves as the main cup, and when you turn it upside down to fill it up, the bowl that she’s holding over her head swivels, allowing the second drinker to share in the experience. Hubby and I got married in Jamaica, a location that was perfect for its obvious beauty, but also because my family is originally from Jamaica. In an effort to incorporate Hubby’s German background, I found and purchased this cup.  Not only does it look like a showstopper, but it has an endearing back story, too. 

Centuries ago in Nuremberg, a noble lady named Kunigunde fell in love with a goldsmith. Kunigunde’s wealthy father did not approve of this match, but she rejected all other suitors. The nobleman even imprisoned the goldsmith and watched Kunigunde pine away for her true love. The wealthy nobleman finally said he would allow his daughter to marry the goldsmith if he could make a cup from which two people could drink at the same time without spilling any wine. The skillful goldsmith, inspired by love, created his masterpiece. He sculpted a girl with a smile as beautiful as his own true love’s. Her skirt was hollowed to serve as a cup. Her raised arms served as a bucket that swivels so that it could be filled and then swung towards a second drinker. Having done the impossible, the goldsmith was finally permitted to marry the nobleman’s daughter and the Bridal Cup became a romantic and memorable wedding tradition. — from First Dance

I asked my cousin Len to tell the story at our wedding reception, and when he did, he said the couple had to “come up with a system”, to overcome obstacles and make their relationship successful. 
Readers, a marriage is built on a promise to stay. There are no guarantees of prosperity, perfect health, model children or domestic felicity each and every day until death parts you. When we make promises in other areas of our lives, we go about figuring out how, exactly, to get to the end, right? The commitment to “come up with a system” is critical if you want to turn your fledgling relationships into something your grandchildren envy. In fact, the whole reason I started reading blogs about interracial relationships was because Hubby and I were arguing a lot at one point, and I wondered if our different cultural backgrounds had something to do with it. Hoping to find some insight about it, I went looking around online. What I realized was that although some things about our upbringings did influence our marriage — it was normal! All families have different traditions, personalities and leanings that might make bringing a stranger into it somewhat challenging.

Since Hubby and I have been married less than five years, I won’t presume to give anyone advice about marriage. But I am an insightful person, and a pretty solid judge of character. I’ve learned several important lessons in the last five years.

Don’t run away from arguments. Choose your battles, and when you do argue, come up with and stick to humane rules of engagement. Momentary anger is not an excuse to be plain mean and hit below the belt. Remember, you love that person and want them to enjoy your company for years to come. (Men have an especially hard time with this one, sorry. They fervently believe that a wife’s raison d’etre is to be a stabilizing force during their inexplicable mood swings and beastly social behavior.)

‘Listen’ is an action word. It involves thinking about what your beloved has just said to you – whether at full blast or a soft tone – and making any and all reasonable changes to behavior that had them slamming their head against the wall in the first place. 

Take an anniversary night to relive your engagement and wedding. I’m not suggesting that you recreate wedding planning drama with an expensive, time-consuming recommitment ceremony. Simply look through your wedding photo albums and remember all the highlights of that day. Read all the greeting cards that came in from your friends and family congratulating you and telling you both how lucky you are. And laugh out loud – I mean beat your kitchen table – about all the things that went wrong. 

Be selective about your confidantes. Now that you’re married, restrict complaining about your relationship to either very wise single people, or other married friends. I’m very serious about this one. Your relationship is not tabloid fodder, but if you play fast and loose with the details of your money and sex problems (heaven forbid that the two are related), then your business will become so warped that by the time it comes back to you, you’ll think the speaker is recounting an episode of “Gossip Girls”. Or “Cops”.     

Keep writing the story. Stay on top of scrapbooks and photo albums. You can get a real kick out of fun times, and going back to look at your handiwork can help calm your mood on tempestuous days.


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