Time & Marriage

Two of my favorite people celebrated their wedding anniversary yesterday. I’ve been thinking about marriage since seeing their picture.

A few days ago, I got a letter from a friend who told me his wife had died. I couldn’t read the rest of the letter. I put it back in the envelope and put it in the dark hole on my desk. He wrote:

“On New Year’s Eve she said, ‘This is the year when we’ll celebrate our 60th Wedding Anniversary.’ Then without a sound, she fell into my arms unconscious and was gone.’”

I was shaken–I couldn’t cry—could hardly think. I wandered about saying, “Oh, God!”

Carole’s sister thinks we either like old magazines or have a better recycle plan than she does. She handed me a fist full of old Time magazines. Is there a larger contradiction than an out of date Time magazine?

Time, June 13, 2016—“How to Stay Married,” by Bellinda Luscombe. It is one of the articles I’ve read about marriage and staying married successfully. Divorce has generally been declining with one exception: among people 50 and older. Divorce among that age group has doubled in the past two decades. Ms. Luscombe explains why and gives stats. The article is well worth the trouble searching for and reading.

Lisa Grunwald says, “What does a modern marriage promise that historical unions didn’t? The ultimate dream: a partner who sees what you really are and not only accepts, but improves it. ‘The promise you make is not just to be faithful and true and to stay married, but to try and bring out the best in each other.’”

Lifetime monogamy, as Luscombe reminds us, is not a natural state. “But natural and worthwhile are not the same things.”

One of the reasons the article is so helpful and very well written with practical suggestions is the writer quotes some of my favorite marriage counselors and researchers. John Gottman, Gary Chapman and Mark Twain:

“To get the full value of joy, you must have somebody to divide it with.” (Mark Twain.)

But that does not mean marriage is for everyone. We have a friend who gets nauseated at the suggestion she ride along with us to a wedding. She is not sickened by the thought of marriage generally—just the thought of being married. We have many acquaintances who are happily unmarried. So I write this for those who are married and want to make it work.

“Aim to find someone you know you’ll love even during the periods when you don’t like him or her so much. And then, cross your fingers. Just pick out a good one and get lucky.” (Grunwald).

Congratulations to those who celebrate another year. I pray God will walk with the grieving. May God’s peace and full outpouring of all that is needed and desired find its way to those who are living through the darkness of divorce.

The article—read it.

©2017 D. Dean Benton   (dean@deanbenton.org)

My latest book, The Whales are Singing, has chapters and paragraphs about marriage. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/697597

Thanks for stopping by.

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