I wonder how the old folks are tonight

2 Jun

Tomorrow my parents are traveling to “the city” (as we metropolitan types like to call it) to celebrate 42 years of wedded bliss.  This is a marriage that has weathered all the challenges you would expect and then some.  Some of the points of contention that *I* remember (and I am sure I was not privy to most of them) were the great soccer-ball-picture-frame plan; the duck-hunting lease or purchase that my mom fondly named the “duck hole”, as in “I can’t believe you want to throw all our money down a duck hole AND invite all your hunting buddies over for breakfast at 4:00 a.m. all winter long”; the skilfull raising of two perfect children; my mom’s legal re-adoption of her maiden name after at least 20 years of marriage; wacky in-laws; friends’ divorces; grown children’s crises and heartbreak; house renovation and homebuilding tribulations; transatlantic moves; military service; numerous puppies; grandchildren; dramatic family vacations; medical school and residency; my mom’s master’s degree in history and her plan to move away from all of us to attend law school; illnesses and surgeries; bad habits; investment disasters; IRS audits; and business break-ups.

I think they have just sailed right through.  Thanks in large part to what I consider a reluctance to discuss the ugly things.  In my family, we may throw out a barb here and there, but if no one catches it, looks it over, and says “just what exactly do you mean by THAT?!?” then it never really happened. 

What do I know? I am just a child of the marriage.  I am sure that the real skeletons are still being kept from me, but I do know that they have made it look easy, and if there’s one thing I know for certain, it is that marriage for any length of time ain’t easy.  Congratulations on such a big accomplishment.  I hope you have at least 42 more great years.

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3 Responses to “I wonder how the old folks are tonight”

  1. Tricia June 2, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

    That is a HUGE accomplishment! Sometimes I wonder if marriages of our parent’s generation are stronger because they DO talk about ugly things, or because they DON’T. So much has changed, it would be interesting to see how marriages in general have changed and if that’s better, or worse. Congrats to your parents!

  2. MCM June 3, 2010 at 2:34 am #

    The key to this marriage is bridge tournaments and your mother’s mantra: “Get Over It.” We could all learn a lot from these two.

  3. dad June 9, 2010 at 3:55 am #

    OK, I’ll rise to the bait. Bridge tournaments? not sure about their relevance. The mantra may be a more salient ingredient. I believe the key necessary element is that
    BOTH spouses must be seriously intentional about the integrity and importance of the marriage, and stubborn. Surely one spouse can’t make it happen. It involves mutual fundamental promises and optimism and adhering to the essential, central matter. Recognize extraneous matters for their superfluity.

    A basically cheerful personality is helpful (an understatement).

    Well, this is a start….

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