Yes, yes they have.
Sorry I have been off the grid. Last Monday I flew to Tampa, Fl to complete the planning and execution of the second biggest event I have planned in my life (the first was a surprise party for my mom when I was 11 or 12). I spent that week in a whirlwind and, when I got back to NYC this Tuesday, I spent this week sleeping, sorting through mail and emptying the dishwasher.
My parents have been married for 50 years. Yeah, FIFTY. It hasn’t been easy. As Janet (one of the speakers at their party) said, there isn’t some MIRACLE. There isn’t a perfect formula. It has been bloody and dirty and hard work. When I was a kid, I thought everyone had parents who stayed married forever and loved their siblings and got along and played stupid games. Turns out we are the weird family. I do want to talk about it, though. I am not a marriage expert (the woman who spoke WAS a marriage counselor), but it seems (and Janet confirmed it) that what keeps her in business is a lack of wanting to try. We want things to be easy, of course we do, but relationships are never simple. We work at many relationships…family, friends, but why are we less willing to work at that one relationship? Jonathan has a friend who was married for 4 months before he left because “its not supposed to be this hard”. When did life at all every get easy?
My parents work. Therapy, together and separate. Attempted better communication (in some ways they are just products of their decade), unity in how they raise and discipline their kids.
50 years later my dad still drives my mom NUTS because he constantly flips channels on the tv and so she won’t watch tv with him. My mother’s inability to move at any speed faster than a snail annoys my dad. They don’t sugarcoat it with other people, either. They don’t PRETEND like their marriage is perfect. and it that way, they have made it perfect. A perfectly crazy, angry, silly, fun journey.
My parents taught me a lot with their marriage: tolerance and understanding, as well as speaking your mind and living your life. They also admitted mistakes, and encouraged us to do the same. My mom wishes she had sat around less, waiting for my dad to be adventerous. She also wishes she had been older when she got married and even older when she had kids. Not regrets, she just wishes she had a little more adventure. But she is very satisfied and happy with her life. (My dad would say he regrets nothing, but, you know, he’s a guy).
The other thing about my parents is that they haven’t stayed together “for the kids” or because they were comfortable…my mom admits that she loves my dad more now than she ever has…even though he annoys her more. They are genuinely affectionate with each other, with us, with the grandkids.
Anyway, I hope Jonathan and I are like this in 50 years. I imagine, to some degree, we will be. I love him more every day, and I am prepared for the hard stuff. We are lucky, though, because we do talk more than my parents do, I know that for sure.
It was a good event. Exhausting, but good. I promise I will blog again more next week…besides, I haven’t complained yet today about wedding planning! I have SO MUCH to catch up on!