Last night, I was kindly invited by my lovely neighbor, to the avant-premiere of Hope Springs, a movie with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones. Comedy & drama. Basically a story about a married couple, entering their 32nd year of marriage. The couple’s life has stopped moving in any direction. Heading no where. Kay enrolls their couple in an one-week-couple-therapy session in a cozy city in Main. The movie showed how difficult it can be to get out of a rhythm, how hard it is to brake the ice (in the movie the nose!), and how little effort it takes to make things alive again. Small steps leading to reconciliation provided of course that both parties are still emotionally available and willing at some point to find their love again.
A friend of ours while trying to make his rocky marriage work, found himself writing a 100 page document searching answers and solutions, through a journey towards spiritual enlightenment, conversations with a cleric, readings from universal philosophers and thinkers… Ultimately, his marriage did not hold, despite guidance, support and the willing to make it succeed. So, what is the secret of a long, harmonious, happy & lovely marriage?
I don’t think a successful marriage has an universal “how to” list. But there are some basic milestones and values that makes the marriage last longer while keeping the couple happy and fulfilled. My personal advice to anyone is firstly that people Do Not Change. They are what they are and they will maybe compromise on some issues, but you cannot change the other so that he or she becomes a person who perfectly fits your needs, desires and wants. It would be much easier to look further and try to find a partner that has, from the beginning all those attributes! An A person will never become a B person. My father for example has always slept late and loved to snooze in the mornings, which have driven my mother insane for the last 44 years! She is an early riser and an early sleeper!
The second advice I would give, based on what I have learned through my 11 year old marriage, is that we are two independent human beings, building a life together, loving and caring for each other, but keeping some space, some privacy and some dreams for our selves. As Gibran Khalil Gibran said:
“But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.”
Are we destined to live together for 50 years? That is also another question to be asked.
I guess we can if WE want and decide to. We can make it work if we need to. It is up to US, the husband and the wife.
But, at the end of the day, when you are 80, old and grumpy and look back ; you will see a series of ups and downs, of challenges, hurdles, tragedies & joys.. It would be nice to have someone sitting beside us and sharing those memories…
this one is for my BIBI….