Friday, February 11

A repost from Tuesday, May 31, 2005:

How We Achieved Forty - six Years of Marriage

When people ask: "To what do you attribute your long marriage?" I usually answer "Inertia". There is more truth to that than might initially meet the eye, but it is only one of the reasons.
Firstly, when you agree to wed, you must believe that you are marrying a friend, with whom you can not only tolerate spending the rest of your life, but with whom you will be contented. Most of us 'think' that at the time, but a firm belief is required, in my opinion, which suggests that you have really thought about it before deciding to accept the proposal. It is desirable to have ideals in common, as well as similar thoughts on how to conduct your finances, religious preferences and raising your children. One should talk about these things beforehand. 
Secondly, you must be dedicated to staying married. If your idea of marriage is "Oh, well, if it doesn't work out - we'll just get a divorce", then your future will surely hold that as a prospect, if not a fact. A firm resolve to make it work is to be desired above all. 
Thirdly, compromise is the watchword for a successful relationship (marriage or otherwise). If one of you is so self-centered as to insist on always having things your way, the relationship is doomed to failure, or to a hellish existence if you stay together. (I can hear my husband laughing as he reads that - assuming I let him!). Remember that a marriage is seldom a 50-50 proposition. It is often 90-10, or 30-70, and the larger number will not always be on your side. Learn to live with that. 
Fourthly, a sense of humor is a necessity, as is a willingness to say "I am sorry" and show that you mean it. 
The caveat: All of the above flies out the window if you are being verbally or phyically abused. No one should stay in a relationship where there is not a true spirit of love, respect and compassion for the other person. Try counselling, or anger management if need be, but do not allow yourself to feel trapped in a marriage where you are not respected. If you have any idea that you have made a mistake in your choice of spouse, do not bring a child into the world expecting that to magically solve all your troubles, for it will only compound them. 
I am no expert (again, my husband is laughing!), but these are ideas that have worked for us. My husband and I were fortunate to be the children of parents who also stayed married a long time, and that certainly works in our favor. 
An additional note: Do not let this lead you to thinking it was all a bed of roses; I can assure you it was anything but! We had hard times, slammed doors, shouting matches (which happen nowadays too) and there were periods when due either to his work travel or a shared intractability, we hardly spoke to each other. But the initial vows we made were not forgotten, and we were still committed to each other and to the marriage. 
I neglected to tell you one of the more interesting aspects of it all: we met in  early January of 1964 and married in early July of 1964. We hardly knew each other, really. I don't recommend that you marry so swiftly, but since I did, I can hardly set up parameters for you, can I?


Looking to the Stars said...

Good post :) I agree with everything you have said. I have only been married 17 yrs but am looking forward to growing older with my hubby. We got a late start, he is now 50 & I am 53. And it seems like just yesterday we got married. Time flys when you're enjoying life :)

Lynn said...

A great thing - finding a spouse who will also be your best friend.

My mom and dad met in November 1947 and were married in March 1948. They were married 61 years. Up until the week he died, they used to talk and talk. I would hear them at the breakfast table when I was visiting just talking away. They were best friends, too.

Ginnie said...

I like what you wrote Judy ... except that I'd put a sense of humor much closer to the top!!

Kay Dennison said...

I think you said it all very, very well. My marriage of 28 years, which probably should have never happened, went out the window when I couldn't take abuse anymore.

Given my experiences in dating/relationship since the divorce, I am pretty certain that I will not marry again.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

WONDERFUL Post Judy...I think your points are ALL well taken---Abd proof is...the many many years you and Mr. Kenju have been married....BRAVO to you both!!!

Nancy said...

Whenever anyone asks my husband how long he has been married he usually answers,

I've had 35 happy years with Nancy and that's not bad out of 60.

We were married Sept.23,1950

Gilly said...

Congratulations! it takes a lot of effort to last that long! (As I well know, we are celebrating our 50th !)

Compromise seems to be the thing I most used!!

tiff said...

All true! TO have made it 46 years on a 6-month courtship is to be celebrated - well done!

Arkansas Patti said...

Well said Judy. Where were you when I was looking down the long aisle?
Hope you all have something special planned for this Valentines day. They say 50% of marriages end in divorce but that means 50% don't. So glad you are in the good percentile.

srp said...

Everything you say is true. You won't stay in that dizzy highly emotional state that most call love... it might last through the honeymoon but not longer than a year. Respect and thinking about the other partner before yourself is the key. You cannot save a marriage alone. For me, bringing a third party into it is the final blow and with that lack of respect.. it is over.

Fighting.. or more like gentle sparing.. keeps going and going and going. As we age that seems to be what tends to spice it up. I see that with my folks. They don't hear each other as well and have many physical ailments.. but he still worries about not being able to get out to get her a Valentine. They celebrate 60 years in June.