The 40 Year Old Marriage
Thank you for reading, commenting on and sharing my last post, "What Would Cleopatra Say?" with your friends, which I'm happy to say now has close to 800 page views through various outlets. The biggest turnout so far has been on Blogher.com, a publishing network for women bloggers with a collective 26 million total readers. Amazing!!
I'm also happy to share that since posting that piece, this Cleopatra hasn't checked his Facebook page. Not once. I hit on something meaningful with that metaphor for myself and others. One of my friends made Cleopatra the screen saver on her phone. As my online habits changed, my offline habits did as well. I feel like I've emptied most of my mental sock drawer.
I was at my parents' 40th Wedding Anniversary dinner last night at Union Square Cafe with my brother and extended family. I swear that all I kept thinking is how blessed I am. I arrived about half an hour early and parked myself at the bar with my Harold Pinter plays collection in one hand and a seltzer w/ cranberry in the other. When my parents arrived, I was just struck by how attractive they look. I mean, really, really beautiful but it's not just that they're physically attractive and very well put together, which they are, it's that they have something radiating from within that is obvious -- it's LOVE and gratitude.
The 40 Year Old Marriage is not the most common occurrence in the US, at least statistically speaking, where half of all marriages end in divorce. Thinking about in tact marriages, it's always questionable whether the couple is happy or faithful. I've always wondered why certain couples stay together in the absence of a working, healthy and functional relationship. To me the most important thing is deep respect and reverence for one another. At times I felt concern about the state of play between my parents but now their bond seems stronger than ever. They seem happily married.
My parents are very different people in many ways. Mom is very careful and measured while dad's a bit more daring. Mom's happiness is found curled up with her knitting or a great novel, while dad's is taking names on the tennis court (usually opponents 15 years his junior, he's very good), watching sports, or reading all the papers to catch up on politics and world affairs. My mom was born to shop. She can spend hours going through stores, making decisions, decorating the house, upgrading her wardrobe...she loooooooves fashion. My father is more inclined to make a beeline for the simplest, stylish black or navy blue blazer, crisp white shirt (last night he worked the simple yet elegant navy blue vertical stripes to very positive effect) and a great pair of loafers. Simple. My mother likes to socialize a lot while I'd say my father is very content with spending time on his own.
Where they are very similar is in their senses of humor. They are both incredibly funny people who happen to appreciate and laugh at a lot of the same things, including themselves and yes, each other. They are both filled with a deep, huge, major and massive love for me and my brother. It's hard to describe.
I've learned from their marriage about the value of persistence in making things better over time, becoming even more appreciative of life's finer things together, and worrying little about whether the relationship is ideal to anybody other than themselves. They have high standards. I know both take a lot of pride in their marriage.
My parents, especially my mom, kept marveling last night at the number. 40 years. 40 years! Omg, has it really been that long? Does that make me __ years old!? My mother has us rolling when she said, I really don't see us like those couples on the end of "When Harry Met Sally" and by that she meant old. She doesn't see herself or my father as old. They never did and I don't think they ever will. They focus on the youth and vitality in themselves and each other. It shows! They each seem 15 years younger than their age.
Since you brought it up, mom, here are the various segments from WHMS in a single montage. Enjoy! :) While you may not seem near these folks in age, I think you've caught up to them in spirit. Ah, you crazy kids...
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M: "I rode up 9 extra floors to keep talking to her."
W: "9 extra floors."
Now that's love.
Have a beautiful day!!