I was once asked, ‘What’s your greatest accomplishment? What are you most proud of?”
My immediate response was, “my marriage”. The person asking the question responded, “Wow, your face really lights up when you say that.”
I never really looked at my marriage as an “accomplishment”, but in the grand scheme of things, compared to what some other people experience in marriage, we have been very lucky and blessed that ours seems to have been relatively effortless. It’s not that there have never been bumps in the road and rough patches where you look at one another and think quietly but smarmily to yourself, ”GAWD, I can’t stand that you are breathing the same air as me.” That is the reality of what happens when you live with someone. A person can not share a bed and a bathroom with the same person seven days a week for years and expect to always think they are the best thing to come along since unlimited texting. We’re only human. And let’s be honest, only one of us is scrubbing the toilet and shower!
There is some personal sacrifice in every relationship and a great marriage is no exception. The ‘rough’ patches were brief and ended up being the glue that we didn’t know we needed at the time. Stuff happens, time might heal, but moving forward as a team and a united front is one of hallmarks of our marriage. It hasn’t been hard.
We were children when we got married. At 18 what could we possibly have known what life had ahead for us? What did we know about real life? When it’s said, “ignorance is bliss” I think it was our ignorance that became our bliss.
On another occasion, a friend whose marriage was coming apart and soon ended asked, “Don’t you wonder just how long it’s going to last?” Well, no, it never really crossed my mind that being married was on some kind of time clock.
Without knowing it early on, we nurtured our marriage like a family member. We ‘took care’ of each other and each other’s feelings. We were blessed with good health for the first thirty years and when illness paid us a couple visits, we took turns in stepping up and taking over the other’s role of caretaker, without pause.
Marriage is never a 50/50 proposition. If you’re lucky it can be 60/40. Sometimes, you get the 60. Sometimes, you give the 60. Then there are the times when it is 90/10, hopefully those times are few and far between, but it happens. Nobody is exempt.
With our 41st anniversary right under our noses, we both expressed that saying we’re married for forty-one years sounds a lot longer than it feels.