The Secret to a Long Marriage

This past weekend, we celebrated my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary.

Do a little math, and you’ll realize they were married in the summer of ’69, man. Like when Woodstock was raging. And Bryan Adams was rockin’ out in his garage and kissing his girlfriend on the porch. Of course, my folks were doing no such raging or rockin’ out. They were recent college grads, very practical and responsible, and definitely NOT hippies. (This always disappointed me, but what can you do?)

When we were sitting outside in my brother’s backyard after a celebratory dinner, enjoying the fruits of their labor (i.e., watching their four grandchildren playing), I asked them how they managed to stay together for so long in a time when half of all couples don’t.

Mom said it was due to their unfailing commitment to staying together, as well as a constant willingness to compromise — on both sides. “You’ll resent it if you’re the one compromising and the other person isn’t,” she said.

Dad added that from the very beginning, they agreed not to end a date (or a day, once they were married) mad at each other. They tried to work out whatever argument or issue they had quickly, rather than let it fester.

Hmm. Well, I don’t see a bestselling book coming out of this discussion. Nothing earth-shattering about their “secret.” But it reminded me that successful, long-term marriage is like any other lasting, worthwhile success in life. You have to just keep on keeping on, even when it’s hard. And be flexible, because the world around us is constantly changing. You could apply that to lots of things: weight loss, parenting, work.

And if you do it as well as my parents have all these years with each other, you just might have something worth talking about in 40 years.

5 thoughts on “The Secret to a Long Marriage

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is a very timely post for me. My husband and I have been bickering a lot lately about various things – and essentially it comes to both of us wanting things our own way. We both need to take a sip of compromise, as well as choosing battles. Marriage is not always easy and you have to work at it. I know I tend to lose sight of that sometimes when things seem to be going well for a long stretch.

    Thanks for your post to remind me that it is a work in progress!

  2. Anonymous says:

    timely for me, as well.
    anything important and worth doing takes hard work. if you didn't put effort in at your job you'd get fired. if you didn't work hard and put effort in w your kids, someone would come and take them away from you. always have to work hard to keep your relationship moving forward. sometimes its good to be reminded what's really important!
    great post!

  3. Overwhelmed Mom says:

    lol, I also have been disappointed that my parents weren't hippies in the 60's!! Great post- I've been frustrated lately on several levels and this helped me put it into perspective. Thanks

  4. Barbara Francis says:

    We just celebrated 35 years of marriage…and we were hippies! Why has it worked…we seek to understand, we try to love well, and commit to a life style of forgiveness.
    Love your post!

  5. Kim Moldofsky says:

    What a milestone! And sage advice, even if it doesn't sound like a best-seller.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.