North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

July 13, 2012

Long-lasting marriages are still possible

By Danielle Pelkey
North Jefferson News

COMMENTARY — In this edition of The North Jefferson News there is a society item in which a couple is celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary. When I took the announcement in the office, I told the gentleman that I had never seen a couple who had been married that long, and he said that most people don’t even live that long. After he walked out, I couldn’t get the idea of 70 years of marriage out of my mind.

It seems like we live in a world where marriage is just a suggestion and not a vow. We are so quick to walk in and out of marriage in America without any good reason to do so.

I’m not sure if it’s a matter of getting married too flippantly or getting divorced too flippantly, but either way you toss that coin, it has a sad ending.

Since Iā€ˆbegan to write this column, I met one other couple that is celebrating 70 years of marital bliss. The wife is in an assisted-living facility and the husband was stopping by McDonald’s after visiting with the love of his life. His eyes teared up as he spoke of his love for his bride of so many years. It was obvious that even though the years had taken their toll on the couple, their love was as strong as it had ever been.

To have a marriage like that must take an incredible amount of commitment, understanding, forgiveness and respect for one another. Those are all things that our society seems to have put on the back burner. We are committed only to the things that bring us joy or satisfaction, but the first time a matter takes actual work, we start to look for the exit signs.

To have any lasting relationships, we have to stop looking for the exit signs and start digging in our heels to make the relationship work. This is not only needed in our marriages, but also in our churches, friendships and working environments. If more people would fight to keep things together, instead of jumping ship as soon as the water gets rough, we would have a much more stable society and people would have more comfort and peace, knowing that their worlds weren’t turning upside down as soon as matters started going off the script.

If you’ve been married for a long period of time, congratulations on making the conscious decision to stick out the good and the bad, pretty and ugly, rich and poor. If more people lived this way, our families would be a stronger unit. And when you have a strong family, life just seems to feel better.