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Like all of you, I'm a number of things to a number of people...Navy wife, homeschooling mama, educated woman and aspiring writer. Read my thoughts on all of it here. Please feel free to leave your thoughts on all of it too!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

How Long is Really Long?

Several months ago I read a comment on facebook where a friend of a friend mentioned that she'd been married "a long, LONG time."  I was curious how long she'd been married, so I asked.  Six years.  That's all.  In my mind that didn't seem like a long, LONG time. 

Scott came home from work a week or so ago and told me how someone asked how long we'd been married.  He told them we'd just celebrated our tenth anniversary.  Their comment?  "Wow.  Good for you guys.  Isn't that a long time for submariners*?"  Really?

I've heard the same thing all of you have, about 50% of marriages ending in divorce.  And I know people who have gotten divorced.  But is marriage really in such trouble that single digit anniversaries should enjoy extra emphasis on their length?  Is being in the military such a strain that a decade deserves a 'wow'?  Maybe.

Don't get me wrong.  I do think being married for six or ten years deserves a little pat on the back and some celebration.  I think every anniversary is special and wonderful.  I love marriage and being married.  On the other hand, though, why can't we celebrate it without making it seem like we've done something noteworthy by staying married.  It's not like we held really still while getting a shot.  We're talking about marriage! 

It should probably also be noted that I have some pretty incredible examples of marriage to look to.

For starters, there are our parents.  My Mom and Dad celebrated their 40th anniversary in April.

Mom and Dad Foote (my parents)
 In December Scott's Mom and Stepdad will have been married for 31 years.
Mom and Dad Nourse (Scott's parents)

And just days ago, we wished Mom and Dad Gebel a happy 30th anniversary.
Mom and Dad Gebel (Scott's parents)
Now, none of their marriages have been "perfect," whatever that means.  But, they've all withstood the test of time.  Obviously there was one marriage that didn't.  Scott's Mom and Dad divorced after a few years, but both have succeeded in their second marriages...beating the statistical odds. 

And our grandparents have really set the bar high.  Grandma and Grandpa Fladie will celebrate 51 years just after ringing in the new year. 

Grandma and Grandpa Fladie (Scott's grandparents-Stepmom's side)
My Dad's parents around 46 years when my grandmother passed away.  This picture is from their 40th anniversary party! 
Grandma and Grandpa Foote (my grandparents-Dad's side)
Grandma and Grandpa Gebel were married for more than 40 years when Grandpa passed. 
Grandma and Grandpa Gebel (Scott's grandparents-Dad's side)
Grandpa Goff passed away somewhere near 50 years of marriage to Grandma Goff.
Grandma and Grandpa Goff (Scott's grandparent's-Mom's side)
And my Mom's parents were married for 65 years when Grandma Kral passed away.
Grandma and Grandpa Kral (my grandparents-mom's side)
Without knowing any of these people, you know that they fought sometimes and other times were completely in sync with each other.  Each of these seven marriages, along with many others I know, are examples of long marriages, marriages that really deserve a wow!

Now, at our wedding we did that little thing where all the married couples danced and the couple who was married the longest was left last on the dance floor and asked to give advice to the newlyweds.  Grandma and Grandpa Kral were the ones who supplied us with some great advice, "Keep on kissing and you'll be married for hundreds of years, like us."

Scott and I
So, in the grand scheme of hundreds of years, how long is long?  And how does one have a marriage that lasts for a long, LONG time?

These are great questions...and I'm no expert (after all ten years is barely a drop in the bucket when there are hundreds of years to go) but in the next few weeks I'm going to look at a few key things I think make marriages good, healthy, happy, and long lasting.  Hopefully you'll tune back in to see if you agree. 

Until then...just keep kissing...



*After considering this comment for a while, it occurs to me that the guy who said it may not have been commenting on marriage as much as originally thought.  On a submarine there are around 160 guys.  Probably a third of them are single and many of the married ones are pretty young, meaning that they haven't likely been married all that long.  I would estimate that only 15 or 20 guys on any one sub even have the potential of being married for double digits.  In that light, perhaps we have been married a long time in the world of submariners.

3 comments:

"Say What?" said...

I've been married to my submariner for almost 21 years. It's a common joke for my husband at work that he's still on his "starter wife". Yes, that's how the world views marriage.
Your blog is right on target. All marriages have difficulties at times and are completely in sync at times. We were married very young, but I feel there's something so special about growing up together, and now we look forward to growing old together.

BTW...I enjoy your blog.

Mary Teresa said...

I feel like I should have amention for my 2 1/2 years married to my man. No? Not a long time? my bad! You guys have some big examples to meet! Get on it!

Annie said...

lol...Mary I thought about it...But then I'd have to include Jody and Doug, Jared and Kate...and what about our numerous aunts and uncles...it's a slippery slope! You know you're an example that I look to and an inspiration in my life...never an oversight.