Yes. Will It Last Forever? Maybe…
A few years ago, our Nephew proposed to his lady love. We were delighted and I sent him this letter:
First of all, congratulations! You have taken so many small and huge steps in your progression to manhood and maturity. We have all vicariously enjoyed your many triumphs and rarely had to commiserate on any tragedies. Your latest life step–proposing to your Lady–takes you to a whole new level.
My crystal ball, into which I am gazing, (which looks remarkably like an iPad) shows me your future.
I see work and career. Long hours and longer meetings.
Transitions and transfers and traveling. Money earned and money spent.
Those are the things that will populate your future life.
What will FILL your life is your love for and with your Lady.
I see romantic evenings and rocky times.
Fussing and kissing, hollering and Hallelujah-ing!
Heart filling wonder as well as soul sucking worry.
Debts and doubts demolished by hard work and team work.
In other words, the normal and expected ups and down of married life.
The biggest mistake I made as a newlywed was thinking Hubby “completed” me.
That me plus him equalled one whole person.
Now remember, I was young and inexperienced and so in love I couldn’t think straight.
It took me years to figure out that we both got a better deal when TWO whole and fully actualized people formed a marriage.
You and your Lady will not suffer that temporary delusion–so shows my crystal ball.
You two, already being accounting geniuses, know the math.
One Person plus one Person equals a million probabilities and potential futures.
My crystal ball isn’t big or powerful enough to see them all.
But your Love for each other is.
So, my best Auntie advice–not that you asked for it– is this:
Trust in God.
Trust in each other.
Trust in Love.
It has worked for over 40 years for Hubby and I. We trust it will work for you and your Lady.
This weekend Hubby and I celebrate our 45th Anniversary. Could someone have predicted when we met 50 years ago that we would still be married? I can guarantee you that MOST of our friends and family doubted we would make it through our first year together!
We were both still college students. To support ourselves, we had FIVE part time jobs between the two of us. We were living in married student housing and on welfare. We were stressed and scared and had few life skills, other than being good students.
I knew how to boil water and cook scrambled eggs. Of course being on welfare we only received powdered eggs and milk.
He knew how to grill hamburgers, but we were only given Spam and canned chicken. We would go Home to our parents if we wanted “chew meat” occasionally.
We fought. Often. I cried. Frequently. We experienced all the ups and downs I predicted above for our dear Nephew and his Lady. So, what kept us together during those hard times?
Love. Faith. Trust. And a crystal ball.
After my first date with the boy who would become my Hubby, I called my High School Best Friend and told her, “He’s the one I am going to marry.” “How can you know that?” she asked. “I just know it in my heart and in my soul. We are meant for each other in this life time.”
I held onto that knowingness during those hard times. That feeling that went all the way through me to the center of the earth that said, He is the one for you. Did I fight that knowingness? You bet! I tested it. I taunted it. I threatened it I would leave him and never come back. Again, family and friends can testify ours was not an Ozzie and Harriet placid marriage. Ours was more like a Roseanne and Dan all-you-can-argue-marriage, with lots of sarcasm on the side.
And then we grew up. Together. That was our big advantage. We met as kids and matured into adults, together. Our other advantage was that each of our parents modeled for us what a long, stable, loving marriage looked like. Over 60 years for both, before each lost a spouse. Some days they acted like Ozzie and Harriet and some days like Roseanne and Dan. But at the end of each day, they were still in love with each other.
So, is a marriage only successful if it lasts forever? I don’t know if longevity is the most important criterion.
Maybe the questions to ask are:
Do you give each other the space and support to grow and become who and what you want to be?
Can you listen, even when you disagree, with an open heart and give advice, only when asked?
Are you present for the joyful times and even more present for the sad and scary times?
Do you have each others’ back and are you willing to be honest with each other?
There are probably a million other questions you could ask to evaluate whether or not a marriage will be successful.
Get some pre-marriage counseling. Get some marriage counseling when things get rocky–because they are going to get rocky.
Life is rocky and Love doesn’t make the rocks go away.
But Love does make the rocks easier to crawl over,
especially if you are doing it together.