Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Marriage - Perpetual?

"The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you,
Not knowing how blind that was.
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere,
They're in each other all along."

"I do", I triumphantly stated before the priest could even finish asking the question. I was eager. This day was the culmination of four years of loving romance and wistful dreaming about the future - our love, union, happiness, success. My wedding day was magical. The biggest testimony to that is the fact that many of the photos were taken outside in a park on the coldest day in January, in New York City, but I was utterly comfortable. There was a fire in my heart that day and its warmth sufficed.

Forty one years later if I showed you a graph depicting the ups and downs of that fire, you'd get dizzy. But what I want to emphasize now is the forty one years. The divorce of a famous couple was recently announced. This, though sad, is no big news. However, they'd been married forty two years! I now realize it's never too late to reconsider your vows and that longevity is never guaranteed. Marital or relationship health is a worthy goal, but even that doesn't ensure that you'll be together 'til death. We've all known "happy" couples who suddenly announce their union's end. It's a little like hearing that a healthy, athletic, strong and vibrant young person has suddenly died of natural causes - inexplicable. So, what makes me think my marriage is exceptional and life long?

"To get divorced because love has died, is like selling your car because it's run out of gas."
Diane Sollee
One of my grandmother's favorite sayings was, (roughly translated from Spanish) "No one knows for sure what's in the pot, but the one who stirs it." I stir the pot in my marriage, so I'll propose some prophetic theories as to why it lives on.

I wish I could say that hubby and I are gifted with superior communication skills. If you knew us, you'd know to laugh here. I wish I could confidently say that our love is so powerful and harmonious that it withstands all challenges. Laugh again.

"Marriages are made in heaven. But, again, so are thunder, lightning, tornados and hail."
Husband and I criticize each other, argue about being "right", often over something so trite a five year old would not bother. We've been known to yell, put each other down, and in various
ways offend each other. This sounds like a lifetime already, yet sometimes it all takes place within the span of one day. Also, at times we've become too complacent and wound up enthralled in the proverbial rut. I hope you're not getting the impression that we're highly dysfunctional (we're not - just enough to make us normal).

These apparently negative behaviors are soon forgiven and forgotten in lieu of the predominant occurrences of wonderful moments in which we give and receive affection, praise one another, offer care and support, and practice all the great things that would lead to a description of a happy couple.

My marriage is a mix - a rich mixture of our innate human nature and the spiritual growth that living with another human affords us. It's not an easy endeavor, and perhaps that's why many marriages die, even if people go on living together. One can, after all, live together in misery. Lest I digress - back to my marriage, the mix of my life.

If I tell you that my marriage will last because we're unique, I hope you don't believe me. Every marriage or relationship is unique, like every individual. My marriage will last for many reasons, most of them mysterious and having more to do with what many call fate, than with anything I do or hubby does. But, I think one major factor is that it's just never been an option. Perhaps due to cultural, familial, ingrained religious ideas or maybe just the level and depth of our commitment - we've always chosen to resolve rather than retreat. And of course, there's that old standby, which I cannot fail to mention - like a vaporous blanket, love has always enveloped us. Though it may fold and hide temporarily, it never recedes. In our twilight years, may we still love each other, may we still enjoy the mix that life brings.

As you can imagine, I've got a lot more to say about marriage, it's challenges and blessings. I'll do so in future posts. Let me know your thoughts too.

1 comment:

  1. You have beautifully expressed your thoughts on marriage. This and other posts deserve more comments. You are a gifted writer, and it is a pleasure reading your words, and sometimes learning from them. I have learned from this post to remember what I have known for some time, but often relegate to the back of my mind, that a marriage is not what you want it to be all the time. It is, as you say, a "mix" of many emotions and actions, some that support one's spouse and some that harm one's spouse.

    A married partner often loves with joy
    And gives support to his/her spouse that’s true,
    But sometimes says those words that will annoy
    Or hurt the other badly, post "I do."