It takes a spot of courage to stand up tall and a bit of derring-do to rise when you fall

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Gathering Up The Years

I have a friend I've known for three-quarters of my life. (He's 30 years older than I am in case the following numbers have you thinking I'm more advanced in years than I really am. Please. I'm holding fast to the number I'm at.) We keep in touch sporadically and I recently found out that his wife passed away a few weeks ago. A sad time. Not old enough to be done with living---still so much life left to explore.....

What has amazed me, though, are the numbers: They were together for 52 years, 47 of them married. I can hardly get around those numbers! That's a whole lotta years, folks. I know there are some scattered few who can rival such an anniversary, but not many. And I would venture that fewer and fewer are going to be able to lay such claim.

I admire what it means. You know for a certain that all those years weren't rosy, weren't all peaches and cream. There were probably bad times. Maybe even terrible times? Ups and downs. There were wonderful years and wonderful memories. Happy times. But possibly there were stretches of boring times. Years perhaps where the two individually wondered---maybe there's something more exciting out there somewhere for me. But did they go in search of such unattainable ends? Did they dump their investment when things weren't going perfect? I admire that they didn't.

I'm not saying that some marriages aren't unhealthy and damaged and even dangerous. I'm not saying that some people have no choice but to abandon ship and it's vital they do so. But I would propose that those types of marriages are the exception. Mostly, someone loses interest in keeping the love alive. Someone looks outside the lines drawn because that's more exciting and forbidden. The familiar becomes routine and boring. One partner or both start thinking only about themselves, about what they want to do for themselves, about where they individually want to go in life and do in life. It stops being a partnership. People start thinking, "I deserve more than this. I deserve the fairy tale." Good luck. If it were true, if there was a fairy tale to capture and live, there wouldn't be so many individuals on their third and fourth marriages.

I'm also not saying that many times people don't go and get married for the wrong reasons and thus wind up with something incompatible. A puzzle where the pieces aren't ever going to fit. This happens of course. You try to force a situation, you marry for this dumb reason or that spastic reason, and it's a sham. It's also a shame---a shame that something so serious and so profound has become something so trivial and temporary for so many. The feeling more and more, it seems, is: "Well, we're going to try this and see if it works." Hel-loooooo. You've already opened the door to failure.

Well, this wasn't originally going to be a soapbox about marriage (not that it's a bad soapbox, mind you)......I mostly have been thinking about what's represented by five decades of togetherness. I hope that I'm fortunate enough to live long enough to be able to claim the same prize.

4 Comments:

Blogger unca said...

Great post and well stated. Someone said, "Love is what you've been through together." This makes sense to me. It also reminds me of part of a letter that Detrich Bonhoeffer wrote to a prospective couple: "Remember it is not your love that sustains your marriage; rather, it is your marriage that sustains your love."

2:20 PM, November 10, 2005

 
Blogger jay are said...

wow. that's great. I have to think on that for awhile.

2:50 PM, November 10, 2005

 
Blogger blogball said...

This post as Unca said is so well stated and it made me think of this quote I just read a few weeks ago:

Nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes: in the sense that almost certainly (in a more perfect world, or even with a little more care in this very imperfect one) both partners might be found more suitable mates. But the real soul-mate is the one you are actually married to.

3:13 PM, November 11, 2005

 
Blogger Michelle said...

I love "UNCA"s post, its amazing.

1:44 AM, November 12, 2005

 

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