On Sunday, September 30, 2012, my parents will have been married for 40 years.
That’s a really, really long time. And really: a super-human feat these days!
So in honour of their Outstanding Achievement in the Marital Arts category, I thought I would list what I have learned from their marriage.
1. You aren’t always going to like each other.
And really, why should you? I’ve had friends for 15, 20, 30+ years and there are always times when I don’t like them. I’m sure there are times when they don’t like me. We are human beings, and as such we can be fickle. The test of time, the feat of a relationship, is whether or not you can find common ground again.
2. What other people think of your marriage is totally irrelevant.
Man do we love to have opinions. About things that have exactly zero bearing on our own lives! That we have no business forming opinions on! The fact is: no one knows what’s going on inside a marriage other than the 2 people involved in it. Sure, one of those people may share their side of what’s happening, and you may feel compelled to support that person, and that’s fine and well and good. We all need support sometimes. We all need a safe place to vent about what’s happening and to regroup and forge ahead. Support, however, does not mean telling that person what to do, and expecting them to do it.
3. It is wonderful to know that no matter what, someone will always have your back.
My Mom taught me and my siblings – by example – about one of the most important things in the world: unconditional love. The power of this cannot possibly be overstated. There is no feeling in the world like that of true, unconditional love. No matter what I’ve ever done or said or implied or anything, my parents forgave me and accepted me back into the fold. I share this powerful gift with everyone in my life, I try to live up to the example my Mom and Dad gave me. I try to give the same thing to them. I hope I’m succeeding.
4. You don’t have to agree all the time.
I’ve heard it said that when you compromise, no one ends up happy. On that, I call bullshit. Because really: no one can have their way all the time. Sometimes we get what we want, sometimes our partner gets what they want. A relationship is all about give and take, and if one person is always giving, invariably the other is always taking, and then resentment forms. Sometimes, you have to give. Sometimes you will outright disagree with your partner, but like I said above, you know you will always have your partners back. It’s a great thing when you know who will always be riding shot-gun in this road trip called life!
5. Hardships really can bring you closer.
If you’ve been around here for a while, you know that 10 years ago my brother died. Many people would retreat and fall apart and leave everything that reminded them of this terrible occurrence behind them; my parents are still together. It has been far from easy. There were times where each of them wanted – I’m sure – to walk away from everything and start over somewhere else where no one knew their story. The things is though, who we are is the sum of our experiences and our responses to them. What is amazing to me is that in the face of one of the greatest tragedies of their lives, over time, my parents have healed and through the process become better people, and better partners to each other.
I could go on and on: my parents have taught me a lot. But blogs about lists is MOMD’s thing. I’ll finish up with one final thought: Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad. I love you both, and dream of my own marriage lasting just as long as yours.