Did you ever look at those couples that have been together, 40, 50, 60 years and wonder what makes them so special? Did you ever say to yourself “Oh, it was a different time, they didn’t get divorced,” or “he must have been awesome in bed.”…or how about “They settled and got stuck with eachother.” I can tell you that every thought you had, was right, but what you failed to do was ask…ask them how it was a different time and how they stayed together when the marriage was at it’s worst. You failed to ask was it all just the sex and if it was how did it always seem fresh, you failed to ask if the settling was with one another or they settled on the other person’s perspective, and if getting stuck with eachother was in fact what they wanted.
When I was doing my volunteer service with the elderly in various nursing homes…and I mean various; All Jewish, Private Pay, State Run and Veteran’s Homes, I never hesitated to ask. I never hesitated to ask those men and women who’s loved one had passed, those still together and those actually living together in the home, how did they do it? Why? What? I was curious, especially since my integrity was what drove me. I mention my integrity because I believe in giving my word and keeping to it as much as possible (certainly selective at times, hey, I’m only human) and when I give my word it is backed by the only real thing I have control over, my integrity…so for better or worse was supposed to mean something…and it caused great internal conflict in me because I know my marriage was a farce, and I knew nothing I did would keep it together, even the sacrifice of self happiness…but I’m divorced now, so we see how that turned out, but my integrity is what put me into the believing of so many marital myths.
Anyway…the reasons the various couples and individuals has was; They loved their spouse. They didn’t get divorced because it was just a matter of fixing problems, forgiving and moving on, there were always bigger threats looming. Sex was great because they loved each other and what was kept in the bedroom was a kept there, it was taboo in society but allowed between husband and wife, inhibitions were limited because that was your spouse. And settling…well some people answered, yes, you settled, sometimes you had to settle that no matter how right you were, your spouse’s feelings were more important because being sad was not a way to live…and being stuck…when I asked that question the responses I got were more often than not, I got stuck with the woman/man I love…I wouldn’t want to be stuck anywhere else.
So why do so many marriages fail. Aside from those longer lasting unions that try (or at least one person tries)…most marriage fail because marriage no longer has the value it once had. It is an antiquated institution, a means of securing various finances, securing a home…it is a business proposition as opposed to a testament of ultimate love. Some people find it a status symbol, a means of being taken care of, a notion of security… No wonder people get married on a whim in Vegas and then are divorced a year later… look at television, how many shows are now competitions to be ‘hitched’? The bachelor, the bachelorette, the real housewives of something…I mean marriage is now as replaceable as a smart phone! What the fuck happened?
I admit, I got married for all the wrong reasons, I know I did and I am not saying that because of a failed marriage, I knew it on my wedding day, I knew it a year later, it was my dirty little secret, and I knew it. There is no however or but, I fucked up and never should have gotten married because I was only doing it as a consumer…that’s right, I treated marriage like any other product. However, still the question is “how do marriages outlast the product warranty?”
I have already noted above what the old folks did, so let me tell you what works…
What they said…They worked it out, they fought through the hard moments, they didn’t give up, sometimes they gave in for the greater good, they were open with eachother, they were fighters not just between themselves but as a unit… they worked at the marriage from the heart…not because of integrity, not because of vows, not because society said so, but those really in love, did it because they loved one another. If they didn’t marry for sex, if the weren’t part of some pre-arranged marriage, if it wasn’t a union of kingdoms… they all started the same…they loved the person they were with. If it wasn’t really love, if it was a momentary infatuation, well…that’s how consumerism works…but if they truly love/loved the one they were with, then they fought to keep that marriage together.
What’s this have to do with Mony and me? Well, we both agree on these facts, we both believe that marriage is truly a testament to love, the differences of our youth is that today in our arguments we fight not to fight but we fight to the solution, to the resolution…we don’t argue to convince a point of view is right, we fight to get to the resolve. Mony and I have had arguments where it was ‘you said’, ‘you did’, ‘I feel’, ‘I want’….but even after all the you’s and I’s…we don’t stop until we’re at a “what can we do to fix it”. We have had a couple of fights that lasted for a few hours, where we were both pretty hurt about something, pretty pissed, hang ups, no answers, loud “WHAT!” but every one of those from the first to the most recent is forgotten…the why’s aren’t there, there is no score card, no tally, no record, but what’s left behind is the solution and the action to fixing what was wrong…you see, Mony and I aren’t products of the 40s or 50s, even the 60s are merely history to us…so it isn’t some value we were taught by moms and dads…it is something that the world has taught us…along with the lesson of consumerism…we both value marriage for what is should be, a testament to love, not an institution. So 50 years from now I will be the one in the wheelchair telling some young wise ass how I stayed married for so long to the same woman.