Today, January 30th, good friends of ours have celebrated their wedding anniversary. I am not certain the number of years, but I do know it is over thirty. That’s a lot of years for a couple to stay married in this day and age.
Their landmark event got me to thinking of how it is that some couples can stay married for an inordinate amount of time when others don’t make six months. (Kim Kardashian and basketball playing Chris, for example).
I know quite a few couples that have been married for a very long time. In the community where I live, a large group of friends and acquaintances have been married for twenty, thirty, forty years, to the same mate. We use to kid each other that it was something in the drinking water. Although we never bothered to have the water tested. It seems very unlikely that it was the cause.
It is a befuddled question with no clear cut reasons, but I think I’ve come up with some of the answers.
First I will give you all the reasons I think are not the answers for marriage longevity. I doubt it is passionate love. That might be the reason they got together in the first place, but surely not the reason they stay together. You don’t need to be married to have a passionate love, but when the passion cools it is not a reason to part. I doubt anyone can boast of eternal firey passion. Not if they’re being honest.
Physical beauty can’t be the draw. When you live together for a long time you see each other in all states, healthy, sickly, chubby, thin, balding, frizzy, with and without make-up. Physical beauty fades, although fortunately aging eyes soften the inevitable lines that appear, and blurs the flaws time marks one’s spouse with.
And it’s certainly not the children. There are times that the antics of your teenagers can drive a wedge in the best of unions. But you hang on until the hurricane has passed. The reward is grown-up children. Sometimes you are lucky enough to reap benefits for having put up with their teenage years.
These are not all the reasons you might not stay together, but I feel that I’ve made the point. So why do some people remain together for such a long time, and others don’t?
Perhaps its an enduring love, not the kind that sweeps you off your feet, but a love mingled with respect that keeps us anchored in place. A kind of love that reminds us that there is no one else in the world that we would rather live with. The sweeping off your feet came in the early days, before you were aware that life too often brings you back down to earth, hard. You truly need someone to ease the landing for you.
It’s a love that allows each partner to experience life as they wish, realizing that your life partner will be with you for all the important moments, as you will be there for them. You rarely want the same things in your mature years as you wished for when you were a young bride and groom. The couples I know have considered each other’s new desires. Sometimes after a battle royal, but that enduring love prevailed and kept them together.
We all continue to grow. Sometimes it happens at different rates. Hold on, eventually you will see things in, if not the same way, then maybe in a complimentary fashion. Compromise should be included in the marriage vows, right up there near the top of the page.
Remember Oscar Madison and Felix Unger, the odd couple? That show was a study in relationships. Each week one needed to bolster the other to help him get through a situation. Who the pillar of strength happened to be changed with each episode. Likewise, we each must take a turn on being the rock in a marriage. No one person can do it always. Life is too difficult to maneuver, and one person would get exhausted carrying themselves and another from start to finish.
It seems to me the marriages that endure are held together with Love, Respect, Patience, and a great Sense of Humor. Both people pulling together in the same direction, yet allowing others in to enhance their years on this earth.
Happy Anniversary Joel and Linda ***