A Fellow Contributor's Take On Simple Marriage

About SM

Editor’s Note: Mary Ann Crossno is a fellow marriage therapist and friend. It’s great to have her input and take on growing up in marriage. I’m glad to have her contribution to SM and look forward to what’s to come. Welcome back Mary Ann.

Hello Simple Marriage Readers! Some of you may remember me from last fall and spring when I wrote several posts as a regular contributor and collaborator with Corey.
I haven’t actually fallen off the face of the earth – even though it might seem that way! Last April, my 84 year old mom had major heart surgery and I was able to spend a good bit of time being there for Mom and Dad. For the past three plus months, I’ve been designing, directing, and delegating the execution of a long-time dream project at our home of 31 years. This backyard redo included lots of plants, and I’ve spent 4-6 hours a day with plants – moving them, saving them, watering them, planning them, buying them, and caring for them!
I’m about ready to return to writing about what I know best – marriage and families. I thought since I’ve been gone so long, I would re-introduce myself to you.
Brief Bio Data
I grew up in Cajun country, South Louisiana. I’m the second of four siblings and the fifth of 39 first cousins. Most of my extended family lives within a fifty miles radius of my hometown. I started and directed a Cajun Cousins family camp that met for three days each year at a Louisiana state park for eight years, with an average attendance of around 100 cousins!
When I met Chuck, he was divorced for five years with sole custody of a 9 year old daughter and an 8 year old son, who had no contact from their biological Mom. When we married 38 years ago, these two became MY kids, – and then we added one biological son. We have an 18 year old granddaughter, a 15 year old grandson, and a 15 month old grandson.
Chuck is an electrical engineer and a pilot. He designed radio and television antennas until 1987, when his focus moved to general aviation. He designs navigation and landing aids, and runway and lighting systems for airports throughout the state of Texas.
I’m a marriage and family therapist, and a writer. I returned to college at the ripe age of 52, completed my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in four years, and started my family therapy practice in 2004.
How have we simplified marriage effectively?
Nothing about our marriage has been simple. We didn’t start simply, nor have we achieved simplicity. But we are better at it each year of our lives together. We embrace the reality that resources are limited – there’s only so much time, energy, and money available to us and we want to choose wisely how we spend those resources. That reality has more meaning to us now that we are both on the plus side of fifty.
How do you find harmony in marriage, work, blogging, fun?
For most of our marriage, we’ve had the luxury and challenge of being able to spend more time working from home than we do in our offices. This arrangement has provided us with many more hours of contact in a normal day. During our child rearing years, this was more of a challenge; now that we are empty-nesters, it is a definite luxury!
I love to cook, entertain, and dig in the dirt [garden]. We both love travel, music, fixing things, and talking about things that matter. We have closely aligned values that we hold sacred – our Christian faith, our country, work ethic, and love of learning. We make each other laugh!
What can other couples learn from your marriage?
Marriages are not equal opportunity arrangements. At different times, one partner will carry a heavier load than the other. We were, and are still committed to extending ourselves for the well-being of one another. In the early years, I carried a heavy load of parenting two step-children, an infant, running a household, and taking care of all the administrative duties of Chuck’s business. When I returned to school, Chuck ran the household, kept me technologically current, read my papers, challenged my thinking, and did it all while keeping his business going. Believing in your partner is a way of bringing out the best in your partner AND yourself!
What are your marriage dreams?
That our children and grandchildren will be able to look at our marriage as more of a “how-to” model than a “how-NOT-to” model!
Any other thing Simple Marriage readers would benefit from knowing?
Realize that your life belongs to others just as much as it belongs to you [taken from Henri Nouwen]. It’s not possible to get what you want from life without thinking of others – and if you could do just that, you’d find that without others, getting what you want would become meaningless.
We were made for relationship. We are co-creators of everything that happens in our relationship. Focus on your part of creating the relationship you long to have by doing what you know needs to be done – and by NOT doing what you know you shouldn’t do. Enjoy the ride!

Photo courtesy Pink Sherbet Photography