40 Years with One Person
My parents have been married for 40 years. And they still like each other. They don’t just love each other, but they actually like each other. They like spending time together. They think each others jokes are funny. They respect each other, and they encourage each other. Still. After 40 years.
Last night we celebrated at their place with an intimate party for 60 or so of their closest friends. Many bubbles were drunk, and much sugar consumed. It was a great evening.
As my lil bro put so well (if I don’t say so myself since I told him what to say), my parents set an example for us of what marriage should be. The standard is high.But what makes it so good?? It’s not just chemistry. It can’t be. I’m an optimistic realist so I must distill their success into tangible parts:
1. They have compatible senses of humour. They laugh at each other’s (bad) jokes.
2. They respect each other’s skills and abilities. They worked closely together in the same office for about 30 years.
3. They encourage each other’s pursuits, both leisure and professional (my dad still works full-time).
4. They enjoy leisure time together. I know that my mom would often like to sit and read with a cup of coffee, but when my dad asks if she wants to go for a cycle, she usually goes along.
5. They enjoy separate interests, though I’ve noticed this is less true as they get older. My mom now plays golf with her ladies, and my dad is becoming better at bridge.
6. They travel in the same social circle. I’ve read about this before. Marriages are often more successful if you don’t have completely separate friends from your spouse. So, when my dad goes for his annual week of golf with the guys in Florida, my mom hangs with the wives at home. When they get together as couples, it’s with those same great friends (as you can note from the number at the party, there are plenty of friends to choose from – and that’s with many unable to attend due to busy summer wedding and social calendars).
7. They travel away from home together often. As a child, I remember that at least once, if not twice a year, my parents would leave us with friends, family or a sitter and take off for a week or a long weekend. Sometimes, it would be to some far off place, but most often then, it was to a friend’s cottage or beach house. Nowadays, they spend around 6 weeks over the course of the year in far off destinations.
8. They are a team. My bro and I have tried to divide and conquer. It hasn’t worked that well.
So, as I sit with my boys (they’re watching a Sunday morning cartoon), and wait for my husband to wake up on this Father’s Day, I wonder -and hope- that I will enjoy a similar party in 33 more years. So far, so good.