Sunday, August 20, 2017

50 years together

Some good friends invited us to be part of their celebration of their 50 year marriage. If you glance at them too quickly, you might mistake them for a couple of around 20 or 25 years together.  Most of us who have been married for quite a while are surprised at the audacity we all show when coupling up with a partner in our 20's.  

We say "Til Death do us part" but we say many things.  We say that I promise to love and obey her.  As a relative said, young people don't know what they are getting into.  Very true, but think about it.  We liked each other very much, we found comfort and joy in each other's company.  We took on ourselves the mantle of a married couple and we did that joyfully.  But who knew what was ahead?  Literally, nobody.

I lost my temper repeatedly over small things.  We had very little money.  We had not really figured out what expenses we would have or probably have. We didn't figure on the need for insurance of various kinds.  We knew we were not of the same religion.  Neither sets of our parents were all that thrilled with the relationship we were building.

We both had a good amount of experience of dating and that probably helped quite a bit in knowing if we had really found someone we liked.  We had another tool that has been quite helpful: a natural practice of re-making the partnership every day, every month, every year.  

A basic faith in ourselves and each other has opened the door to real communication, honest exchange.  The large amount of evidence that self knowledge matters supports the idea that we could each recognize our own feelings and needs, fears and hopes and talk about them clearly enough that our partner understood.  There was the time, after days of driving together as a lone couple, that we simply got too fed up.  We tabulated the spats and the irritations and it was clear. The only thing to do, the only thing that offered release and relief was divorce.  At around 11 AM, we faced the truth and agreed to divorce.  By 5 PM the same day, we had had time to really face the future without the other.  We each saw bleak and bad days ahead.  We scratched that divorce business and haven't tried that again.  We are now working on our 2nd 50 years together.  

I will say that having each other gets more valuable all the time.

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