Last week we celebrated our 48th anniversary. We had a wonderful day together. As we went through the day we happened to mention on occasion that it was our 48th anniversary. We were surprised by the response. Many saw that number as unbelievable and unachievable. We didn’t think so. All four of my sisters and their husbands reached 50+ years of marriage. Bob’s parents did so as well. When we were kids growing up, fifty years of marriage was astounding as well, mostly because people didn’t live that long. The response to us seemed to speak more to the reality of marriage today. Many people don’t make it because of divorce. There was a time, even among celebrities, that fifty years of marriage made the headlines. Bob and Delores Hope were married sixty nine years. Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward for fifty years. George and Barbara Bush have been married sixty nine years and Jimmy and Roselyn Carter for sixty eight years. In Hollywood today Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson at twenty-six years, Ozzie and Sharon Osbourne at thirty-two years. Bono and his wife Ali Hewson are at thirty years of marriage. What also makes the news today is the fifty-five hour marriage of Britney Spears and Jason Alexander. Tom Green and Drew Barrymore’s five months marriage. Who can forget the much hyped and super expensive 72 day marriage of Kim Kardasian and Kris Humphries. We don’t find our 48 years all that remarkable considering that each week at our parish our pastor begins the liturgy by welcoming visitors or newcomers and then those with birthdays and anniversaries. In recent weeks there have been a couple married for sixty five and another sixty two.
What makes the difference today? We kicked around a lot of ideas. Perhaps it is a lack of commitment or the inability to work things through. Maybe it is the desire of having things be mine or about me and not ours or us. Perhaps there are more pressures in today’s society and more demands, and yet many still stay together.
Just six days after our anniversary and as we have talked about it an article popped up on my web browser that contained many of the things we talked about. The full article can be seen at Marriage Secrets Of Highly Successful Couples By Victor M. Parachin for YourTango.com. To summarize, just in case you don’t have time to read it. First he says that marriage must be the number one priority in each other’s lives. Mr. Parachin then adds that successful couples “know the ingredients that are necessary to keep each other content, happy, healthy and satisfied. To put it simply, philosopher Paul Tillich observed, “Any deep relationship to another human being requires watchfulness and nourishment.” He uses the word successful to describe couples who stay together and adds the following characteristics of those couples.
- Successful couples enjoy each other.
- Successful couples fight skillfully.
- Successful couples seek and offer forgiveness.
- Successful couples are in it for the long haul.
- Successful couples are positive about each other.
- Successful couples learn and grow together.
- Successful couples never stop dating.
- Successful couples bring to each other joy.
- Successful couples adhere to the 60/40 rule.
- Successful couples have shared values.
A longer explanation for each of these can be found in his article. Each year we try to reflect back on our last year and all our years together. We would have to say that this article summarizes our life together. We could expand on each of those qualities in our years together, but, as always, our story is less important than your own. Can you find these qualities in your happy and successful life together? Are their things that were missed? Take a little time, if not today, perhaps on your anniversary, to see why you are still together and together happily. Our dream for us is that we just might make 65 or perhaps even 75 years together. It isn’t an anomaly today, it is the reality and a very good one for many of us.
Thoughts and comments are appreciated.
Note: Next week we will be in Haiti, presenting Bob’s Divergent Thinking seminar. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayer. We will try to post from Haiti next Wed and Bob will be blogging almost daily about the progress of the seminar at DivergentHaiti.com
Today’s scripture readings, reflection and prayer:
Bob & Rita’s book: Forever and Day: An Invitation to Create a Marriage That Lasts a Lifetime is available on Amazon.com or by contacting us. Also available for Kindle and Nook. Make a retreat with your spouse, at home, on your time. Readings, relationship tips, questions for discussion.