Today is my parents’ 42nd wedding anniversary. As each year goes by, I’m amazed at the length of their marriage and there’s definitely no end in sight. If that’s not “enough”, my parents have also been working together in their own business for 32 years!
My dad is a very passionate and opinionated man – which has caused some conflict between us over the years but we are either best of friends, or at each other’s throats…that’s just the way it is. I’m NOT admitting that we are very similar, not at all. He has been a proud Rotarian forever and to me, exemplifies Rotary’s guidelines: “It is the truth? Will it be beneficial to all concerned? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better fellowship?”
My mom is an absolute saint and everyone loves her as soon as they meet her. She’s a beautiful (inside and out) Brit, who is passionate about gardening and Golden Retrievers. Until recently, she and another local woman in town ran the Dog Therapy program in town, training dogs (and their owners!) to go into retirement homes to visit the residents.
My family has a history of long marriages. It wasn’t until my paternal grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary that I found out it was actually my grandfather’s SECOND marriage. They had professional photos taken in their garden for their 50th anniversary and the photos captured them perfectly…they were in eachother’s arms. My grandmother was perfectly groomed and accessorized, looking at the camera with a calm smile, while my grandfather was looking at her with admiration and his hair was all wind-blown and very “crazy scientist-like” (which, he actually was!).
My maternal grandmother passed away early in life. I was always amazed that my maternal grandfather still referred to her as “my wife” whenever he spoke of her…which wasn’t often, but still…
My biological grandfather was married forever as well (not sure the actual length but I’m sure it was over 50 years too) and he spoke very fondly of his wife who passed away a few years before he did.
When my own marriage ended early 2010, I wasn’t in the frame of mind to pay much attention to my parents’ wedding anniversary last year (not even sure if I congratulated them…oops). This year however, it has caused me some reflection. Although I’m still legally married, my marriage ended after 6.5 years. How on earth have my parents made it for 42 years??!!! I actually asked my mom that last year what has made their marriage work, and her answer was “communication and respect”. Seems simple, and yet those two things weren’t in my marriage…on either party’s side (among other things, but that’s for another day). I’m still in the frame of mind of not knowing if marriage is something I will ever enter into again, but with the end of my marriage, I have developed a sense of awe and wonder about how other couples make their marriage work for so long.