My parents have been happily married for thirty-four years. (N’s have too). They have a great partnership that was unquestionably solid as a rock for us girls as we grew up despite my father often having to be in far-away and dangerous places. I don’t think I ever really heard an argument between them, not ever. They have their little niggles and irritations (usually based around Papa getting deaf and Mama getting blind!) but they don’t shout at each other or bitch about each other. Really not ever.
Yet, although they couldn’t have set a better example to me, I don’t hold them as a blueprint for my own relationship with N. They are them and we are us. Likewise for N; he’s proud of how in-love his parents still are but he doesn’t want to be them. Every relationship is as unique as its individual parts. What is right for them might not make sense to us, with our own particular upbringing, baggage and, let’s not forget, era.
One thing I do think N and I have, for which we certainly have our parents to thank, is a lack of cynicism regarding the institution of marriage. Relationships can last forever; they need hard work, a solid base, support and room to breath but they do work – we have the proof! I feel this belief, especially in this day and age, is a great lesson and a precious gift. I know there are a million different reasons why a couple split up and often it may be for the best, but I also think sometimes it’s the easy route. No that’s wrong, sorry. Not the easy route, but that we’re taught it is the next step when things get hard rather than being taught that true life-long-love is worth fighting for and working hard for.
These ponderings have been prompted by a link posted by one of A Cup of Jo’s guest bloggers in her "Secrets to a Happy Marriage" series. I was so moved by the author’s strength and honesty. It’s easy to look at long and happy marriages with rose tinted glasses but I’m sure every success story has a lot of hard work, individually and as a team, behind it. It’s not sexy and it’s not conventionally romantic but the rewards are so great and that’s what I want to model our marriage on.
No source for these pics as I've had them saved for ages. And yes the last one may be a bit gratuitous but Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were known as having the longest marriage in Hollywood. Bogard and Bacall is just such a romantic story although I don't doubt they had to work very hard. And as for Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn - well they may never have married but they're my favourites; they just radiate love, respect and fun.