Conversation with a veteran, a marriage veteran.

Met a 98 year old woman today who was married for 60 years.

MARRIAGE RATE: 6.5 per 1,000 population

DIVORCE RATE: 2.9 per 1,000 population

*https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/marriage-divorce.htm

 

Me: “Wow, that is unheard of these days. What age did you get married?”

Her: ” I was just out of high school, so 18.”

“So if your husband passed away in 2010, then you were married for 60 years!! That is incredible but maybe not so unusual for your generation.”

“Not really, back then when you got married, that was it. You had no other choice so you only thought of making it work or working with it”..chuckle.

“Now it’s one thing to be married for a long time, but were you happily married?”

“Now that’s the thing about marriage. You are not always going to be happily married. You make it work.”

“That’s very different from today. Today, it’s “I deserve better”, “Oh my, I made a bad choice”….too much second guessing, too many escape options”

Disclaimer:  I divorced and remarried.  I am happily married.  However what I know now, may have saved my first marriage and avoided much inconvenience for my children.  I was married the first time for 15 years and now happily married to a beautiful and diligent wife, herself a divorcee.  We were engaged for over 7 years before we officially tied the knot.  Talk about caution!  

The legacy of marriage

First the cold reality of a happy marriage:

  • For better or worse but not forever
  • Expect unhappy moments
  • Don’t entertain “other options”
  • It’s worth it in the end, i.e. your legacy
  • Physical abuse is a deal breaker

Your Legacy

Most seasoned married people, happily married, meaning in a marriage that they would prefer to stay in due to a level of sustained enjoyment, would tell you that they experienced periods of unhappiness where they may have even hated their spouse. It takes time to truly understand each other and not take issues personally. You will have fights. You will want to leave. However, if things don’t improve, it is time to have a third party be involved.

Someone, a woman of many married years, in her intuitive wisdom, said, “A woman looks for love and a man looks for respect, in a relationship” This doesn’t mean that the woman doesn’t need respect or the man doesn’t need love. It means this is their respective priorities in terms of needs and expectations.

Of course this is not to condone divorce, but only as a last resort when love has been extinguished or there’s physical abuse involved. There are also cases where destructive patterns do not get cured but then there is the issue of how long should the other spouse wait. It should certainly be at least a year if it’s not related to infidelity. In other words improvement may not be immediate or in the very short term.

All of this is based upon studying marriages that lasted and the couples are happy.

A successful marriage fosters and yields a great legacy normally, the effect of which is felt by generations to come. In the same manner broken marriage may inflict damages that have a cascading effect on subsequent generations.

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