The other night at work, I met a couple who were celebrating their 48th wedding anniversary. They warmed my heart. I listened to their story; how they met, how many children they have, where they have lived and finally settled. I marvelled at the trials and tribulations they have faced, fought and overcome with sheer determination. I laughed as they playfully argued throughout the meal with glints in their eyes. I smiled at their youthfulness when they spoke about their plans for the next twenty years together, and when they mentioned that so many of their friends and people their age are divorced, I asked them what their secret was.
Their answer was simple. Be your own person. Don’t get lost in loving the other person so much that you lose your individuality and uniqueness. Don’t be afraid to be selfish with your hobbies as everyone needs their own space. Be honest always, laugh all you can and love each other unequivocally!
This couple reminded me a lot of my own grandparents, who would have celebrated 69 years of marriage next month if my grandfather was still alive. In September 1995, they celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary – 50 years of marriage! At the tender age of seven, I didn’t understand the real significance of this milestone. I remember how important I felt when I had to read a prayer of the faithful during the mass. I remember how girly I felt in my shiny pink dress and how much fun I had playing with my cousins who were visiting from London, Luxembourg & New York for the occasion! I remember the black and white photographs from their actual wedding day. I remember feeling very nervous as I watched my older cousins put their index fingers back and forth through the flame of a candle (I was terrified they were going to burn themselves!). And I remember posing for HUNDREDS of photographs in the church, in the restaurant, in the gardens, EVERYWHERE!
The main thing I remember is feeling very much a part of something important, even if I didn’t understand what that something was. And 19 years later, I feel it even more. I am a small part of something much bigger than me, an amazing family. A family that is a result of two strong, loving, hardworking people with core values that have been passed down through the generations. A couple of weeks ago, I spent two hours trawling through old photographs and reminiscing with some aunts, uncles & cousins that I don’t get to see very often as we all live in different countries. While our lives are very different, we all share the same wonderful experiences and it was hilarious to listen to everyone discuss their memories from the same occasion!
The thing we got the most giggles from was the fashion. Uncles with giant moustaches, aunts with huge shoulder pads, and cousins with bowl haircuts!!! What were they thinking?! And can we please take a moment to appreciate my ever so shiny pink dress? 90s kid formal fashion at it’s best!!!
What do you think is the secret to a long lasting marriage?