Today is our 32nd wedding anniversary.
I awoke humming the song from the musical “The King and I”… Hello young lovers wherever you are…I hope your troubles are few…All my good wishes go with you tonight…I’ve had a love like you.
Hello, young lovers.
Who are you young people starting out in the world with stars in your eyes and dreams bigger than your heart?
Who are you young people ready to begin your own marriages, your own partnerships, your own friendships?
Are there any words of advice that I could offer, that might guide you on your way? Or would my words be only flotsam and jetsam because you must learn these things on your own, in your own special way?
Every relationship is unique. Every relationship offers different challenges and gifts. You can’t generalize. You can’t say: Do this. Do that. And you’ll be married 50 years and get Golden Anniversary wishes from your grandchildren. No. It’s much more complicated than that.
What has helped strengthen our relationship? What keeps us still married to this day, 32 years later?
I would guess:
~~The ability to communicate. I know this is the biggest cliché in the Universe, but it’s true. Without an ability to express our feelings, our deepest hopes and desires, our deepest fears–a partnership may have trouble surviving. We have to be able to express ourselves, to share the most intimate parts of ourselves, to verbalize that which is sometimes difficult to speak.
~~We must have the ability to compromise. We never give or get 100%. We must be able to surrender when necessary, to allow the other to be right, even when we think he/she may be wrong. We must be able to dance between different beliefs, to uplift the other at times and let our own egos subside. We must learn the rhythm of this partnership game, when to let go and when to demand more.
~~It’s a daily thing, this dance. Some days it’s a polka. Other days a romantic waltz. Other days a do-your-own thing rock ‘n roll wagging of hips. We must develop an inner ear to blend together our own individual needs with our giving.
~~One of the things that has strengthened our marriage has been our individuality. Some marriages grow strong in togetherness. In shared times. Our marriage seems to grow strong in allowing each other lots of independence. We are such independent souls.
We love to travel separately, to go hither and yon, often apart. Yet we also love to come together and share of our separate adventures. We nurture our independence with one another.
OK, let’s get concrete. Barry loves boating. I saved and scrimped and bought him the boat of his dreams. I love traveling. He doesn’t, quite as much. Or he can’t leave his job as easily as I can. But he supports and encourages my travelin’ dreams and sends me on my way with a hug and kiss.
What more could I want in a partner of 32 years?
Young lovers, wherever you are…
I think your first responsibility is to find your joy within. That may sound crazy. But I believe that when we connect with our inner joy…it then flows effortlessly into the other beings who share our lives.
So don’t neglect yourselves in a relationship. Find your inner joy, your inner connection with Spirit, your inner peace and contentment. If you don’t find this first of all, you may blame your partner for not supplying this basic foundation.
If we look outside ourselves for fulfillment…it’s much harder to find.
I asked my mama this afternoon (who has been married fifty-four years): “Hey, Mom, what advice would you have for newlyweds or people contemplating marriage or partnership?”
She said, “Successful marriage doesn’t just happen–you have to work to make it happen.”
I would agree.
I would agree with that assessment in all relationships. Love burns bright and strong in the beginning of a relationship; it changes as the years change. We all change–every day. Every month, every year, we’re a different person with new likes and dislikes.
The sweet slow kindling of a relationship thirty-two years later is like a fire that warms but does not burn. It brightens but does not blind. It inspires but does not snuff out at the slightest wind.
Thank you, Barry, for these 32 precious years.