by Helen DePrima
Anyone who claims unsullied bliss in a long marriage is
either a saint or a liar – just my opinion. Approaching our fifty-third
anniversary in August, I’ve finally concluded that a successful marriage
consists of two imperfect people doing their best to create something a little
better than one living alone. After the excitement of starting a new life
together wears off, the hard work begins. My husband-to-be and I had been
inseparable for three years at the University of Colorado and then toughed it
through two years of separation while I finished nursing school half a
continent away. Even so, we still had a lot of getting-to-know-you to
accomplish once the wedding gifts were stowed and the thank-you notes
Carl, bless his Sicilian heart, is bossy and impatient,
while I’m lazy and willful. His good points: his utter devotion to family and
his over-the-top work ethic during his veterinary career which survives in
retirement as he plants and maintains a huge vegetable garden while doing most
of the housework when I’m less than able. My virtues (I do have a few): an even
temper, the ability to see both sides of an issue, and pride in not being a
quitter. Still, surviving as a couple has often been a matter of sheer
cussedness, of hanging onto the hope of better times ahead. Maybe, because I
grew up with my grandparents, I absorbed their Depression-era philosophy of
mending and making do rather than discarding in favor of newer and better.
I never got to see my parents’ marriage in action -- my
mother died when I was tiny – but I was always instinctively aware of my
grandparents’ devotion until their deaths in their eighties, less than a year
apart. She would scold and he would sigh, but love was always close to the
surface in a touch, in words of endearment or in small kindnesses. My
grandfather always saw her as the beautiful 18-year-old from Indianapolis who
defied her parents to elope with the son of a Kentucky potato farmer.
So, my best wishes to all brides, new and old – hanging in
is worth the effort. I think.
“A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short.” - Andre Maurois
I was an almost-June bride, since we got married on May 29 in order to take advantage of the Memorial Day weekend. We worked the Friday before we married and Duane would go back to work the Tuesday after. My dress was a light blue mini that cost $14.99, my shoes came off the clearance rack and were a half-size too small, and I was so excited.
At twenty and twenty-two, I was a single mother long before it was fashionable and he'd just returned from Vietnam to the job he'd had before he was drafted and that they didn't want to give back to him. If we hadn't received money as wedding gifts, we wouldn't have been able to afford to spend even our wedding night in a motel.
When I look back on that, I'm surprised that we did. We had rented a furnished apartment to start our marriage in--I don't know why we didn't just go there. We could have used the $10.50 we spent at the Curlee Motel on groceries.
I don't remember much about being a bride. Even then, it was all about the marriage. We were products of unhappy ones and were determined to make ours better, to make the joy last, to keep talking even when talking hurt. Forty-nine years in, we have done that. Mostly.
Except for when we haven't. And those times have probably done as much to strengthen the relationship as the good days. It is the bad days that make me love reading (and writing) stories about marriages that are resurrected from the fields of pain where they sometimes find themselves. It's why I love reading about "seasoned" protagonists, because we have a really good handle on what it takes to achieve a "mostly" Happily Ever After.
I join Helen in sending best wishes to all the beautiful June brides--or brides of any other month, too. I hope each of you gets her own Mostly Happily Ever After. Make the joy last. Keep talking.
Though I'm a long long way from being a bride, and never was a June one, I was heartened by the insight and wisdom of your posts, ladies. We need this kind of encouragement more than ever, during these times, whether we're brides or seasoned veterans of marriage. Isolation and pandemics are tough tough on any couple. Thanks so much!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Janice. I'm sure we both have come by our "wisdom" the hard way--which is sometimes best.Delete
I just told Claire I love her comments--I also love yours. I wait for them on every post!Delete
Glad you enjoyed our thoughts on the subject, Janice. Often, when times get tough, it helps to look back down the long road and remember we've gotten through rough times before.Delete
A GREAT SPELL CASTER (DR. EMU) THAT HELP ME BRING BACK MY EX GIRLFRIEND.Delete
Am so happy to testify about a great spell caster that helped me when all hope was lost for me to unite with my ex-girlfriend that I love so much. I had a girlfriend that love me so much but something terrible happen to our relationship one afternoon when her friend that was always trying to get to me was trying to force me to make love to her just because she was been jealous of her friend that i was dating and on the scene my girlfriend just walk in and she thought we had something special doing together, i tried to explain things to her that her friend always do this whenever she is not with me and i always refuse her but i never told her because i did not want the both of them to be enemies to each other but she never believed me. She broke up with me and I tried times without numbers to make her believe me but she never believed me until one day i heard about the DR. EMU and I emailed him and he replied to me so kindly and helped me get back my lovely relationship that was already gone for two months.
Email him at: Emutemple@gmail.com
Call or Whats-app him: +2347012841542
What a lovely post! I really enjoy reading wisdom from people like you two, who have made long marriages work. My own parents divorced, and I had no idea how to make a relationship work. My husband and I have been together ten years and I love our marriage. It hasn't been easy, life has thrown some hurdles our way, but we have grown and learned and hung in there in the hard times. Ten years in and we are more committed to each other than ever. Being together constantly during the pandemic, trying to work out of our little house, has actually brought us closer than before and we've (mostly) enjoyed it! Thanks again for your stories and encouragement.ReplyDelete
I don't think anyone knows--going in--what's going to make a relationship work, because they're all so different, aren't they? Being committed, though, is sooo important. Duane & I have laughed because even on the days we don't like each other overmuch, we like our marriage, too. Thanks, Claire--I always love your comments.Delete
I can't imagine how many couples and families are surviving through this enforced togetherness. Not a huge adjustment for Carl and me after fourteen years of retirement and the fact that we have so many projects we work on both together and individually. I spent the early spring building my own private hiking trail through the nearby woods, easy on my damaged feet and contagion-free. Now we're deep into the gardening season with both our veggies plus my flowers and herbs. And now sewing masks for the Navajo Nation, hard hit by COVID-19.Delete
June is a beautiful time to get married, as everything is coming up hopeful. Here's to all the June brides making do right now - Love in the Time of Corona, eh. I like your advice to keep talking. It is so important. I would add to extend grace. Extend so much grace. Because you'll need it too:-)ReplyDelete
Oh, perfect! Giving grace is so necessary. 2020 will definitely be a year to remember, won't it?Delete
Maybe it's frivolous of me, but I value the comic relief offered to offset the sorrow of this time. Yesterday, I saw a post predicting the popular names for the upcoming crop of Corona babies will be Scott and Charmin.Delete
What a wonderful post. I'm teary eyed.ReplyDelete
Marriage is probably the hardest job a couple will ever have. And it is a job(in a sense). It's never 50-50, but always 100%, although sometimes one will have to give 150% when the other can't muster even 50. :-) You both are a testament to what marriage is all about.Delete
It's so hard and so worthwhile. But not always. I'm afraid that some people (especially ones from our generation, maybe) stay married because they think not being able to is failure. Sometimes, it just doesn't work.Delete
Patricia, I have a hard time with not being able to keep up with my end of the chores. Right now, I'm limping from task to task, snarling when I have to ask for help. My chosen epitaph is supposed to be, "Yes, I can!" Except when I can't.Delete
Congratulations to both of you--you worked hard to create these relationships. You deserve to celebrate!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Virginia. I wonder if a lot of weddings would ever take place if the young couple knew the work involved to make a marriage succeed. Fortunately, no one young and in love ever listens.Delete
Lol. It's a good thing, too. Marriage might become an obsolete institution!Delete
I love hearing about long and happy marriages. I was twenty-one and he was twenty-two when we married, thirty-eight years ago. That seems so young, looking back, but at the time we'd just graduated from college and felt ready to start our lives. This summer, my daughter will be married to a wonderful man, and my hope is that someday they'll have stories like this.ReplyDelete
Like you, we were fresh out of college and ready to take on the world. We packed all our possessions into a second-hand '63 Beetle and headed out I-70 for Colorado with no jobs lined up, no address. At that age, it seemed a wonderful adventure. And crazy as I am, I'd do it again right now.Delete
Our kids' marriages are long by now, and I love hearing their stories, too. I am so grateful for them, for the kids mine brought home to us, and the grandkids who are all so different. I guess it's just a grateful kind of day!Delete
Those are beautiful stories. Thank you so much for sharing them. So many real wedding stories aren't shared any more, and I think these genuine stories that share the love, the commitment, and the simplicity of the meaning bring home what a wedding should be about. My husband and I were both still in college. We married on Saturday, and he attended class that next Monday. When the professor called roll, everyone assumed I'd left him at the altar! I love stories where you can appreciate the beauty of them and then smile when they remind you of something happy about your own day.ReplyDelete
They are my favorite kind of stories, too. I love yours, and thank you for sharing it with us. While I appreciate beautiful weddings as much as the next person, that's kind of visual, isn't it? I like reading and feeling the stories of people who were there--and still are.Delete
Hi Tanya! Thanks for sharing your story. Our wedding was on a tight schedule as well: I finished nursing school in New York on a Thursday, flew down to Kentucky on Friday, and got married on Saturday. A two-day honeymoon in French Lick, Indiana and then drove a thousand miles to Colorado in just a few days for me to take my nursing boards or wait six months for the next opportunity. Amazing what seems like a lark at that age!Delete
Thank you for your candid overview of what marriage is truly about. I haven’t been married as long as either of you, but I’m coming up on 26 years and that’s nothing to sneeze at. I believe a good marriage is made up of two very good forgivers. Congratulations to the both of you for long, enduring marriages. ( :ReplyDelete
Thank you, Laurie, and congratulations on 26 years. You're right, too--forgiving is a necessary ingredient, isn't it?Delete