I met a couple the other night at work who had been married 71 years. Can you believe that? That's almost 3 times my age. When I asked them how they stayed together for so long, they said something that's pretty basic: "We get along." Simple as that. They ordered the same dish and sat side by side, both in their 90s. In our 20s and 30s, it can be hard to imagine being with one person for 5 years, let along 71. What happens when it gets boring? What if you stop having sex? What if sex gets boring? Or worse, what if someone (or both people) cheats? Marriage is tough. I don't think a lot of people quite realize that. I don't think I do! I've only been married for not even 9 months, so I am still in the honeymoon phase. But I do think there's a misconception about marriage. It's idealized in our society and that's a reason why we have such a high divorce rate. When the going gets rough, we get going. We don't want to suffer or be unhappy, so we break up and find another person who can make us laugh, looks good naked, and makes a decent living. We forget that there will be years, (yes YEARS) of hardship. There will be times when you absolutely hate the person lying next to you. There might even be times when your trust is shattered and you don't know if you can ever trust that person again. But what it all boils down to (in my humble opinion) is two things:
1. Do you still love each other and like spending time together?
2. Do you both want to make it work?
Tom needed Jerry, Bonnie needed Clyde, heck even chips need salsa and peanut butter needs jelly. One is not enough to save a marriage, you both need to want it. And it takes work sometimes. It isn't always flowers and hot sex. It's baby vomit and dog poop. It's being incredibly hungry but still taking the time to make your hubby dinner before you sit down after a 12hr shift. It's working 3 jobs so you can afford to take your wife on vacation. It's sacrifice sometimes. But it's also knowing that you have someone who will love you and support you no matter what. You could be jobless, unshaven (girls too), depressed or simply boring and your spouse will have your back. That's love, that's marriage, that's a long-term relationship. And that my friends, is not easy. Do I know what I'm talking about? A little. I take advice from people who have been married much, much longer than myself. Like that couple who'd been together 71 years. They like being together. To spend that many years with someone and still want to sit next to them and hold their hand? I want that. Don't we all?