My parents got married when they were in their early twenties. They have now been married for 26 years and have been together for well over 30. They have been together longer than they have not been together, and I sometimes wonder what knowing that, means to them A love that began at the end of high school has carried them through to a life in their fifties.
I have always viewed my parents in the first place as two very opposite people. My dad is goofy and very technically smart, he is laid-back; a man with faults that are easily forgotten and forgiven. My mom is kind and quiet, she is stubborn but her faults are quite few in general. Their love is built on a foundation of not only romantic love, but Catholic love, and a love of family & friends.. From my parent’s marriage, I have learned a great many things about love and commitment.
I think that love is the easy part and that commitment is where things get complicated. And what I often find in unhappy relationships, is not that the couple do not love each other, it is that their commitment to each other was never right for one person or both people to begin with. I think the ugly truth is all the people we will fall in love with, we shouldn’t necessarily commit to.
My parents, unlike a lot of people, have never pressured me about relationships. Never asking “any boys in your life?” when I was single and always accepting whoever or whatever walks into my front door holding my hand. Perhaps it is because they knew I would grow up to be a woman who makes good decisions. Maybe they know that when you come from a home like the one they created, you know that it isn’t just love that makes a commitment last a lifetime, it is the “other stuff.” The messy, ugly, boring stuff is what lasting commitments are made of. And in all of that, still finding a sense of humor with the other person.
I think my parents know that I know what love is because I have seen the idea of love that I want- through them. No love is perfect. Sometimes love hands you distance, love hands you arguments, love hands you different hobbies but love also hands you hugs, love hands you someone to believe in, and love hands you the reason to be a better person.
The truth is a love that lasts a lifetime is difficult to build. My parents are not the same people they were when they met or when they married. And in the end, the ultimate lesson I learned from them about love and commitment is this:
The foundations on which your love rests upon, matter. But what matters most, is finding someone who will take the leap of faith (sometimes a blind leap) to not just love who you are and who you might become, but someone who commits to building a life with you, without knowing what the future might hold. Someone who would walk the miles to see you and someone who will never stop “fighting” to be with you. Because who you are when you commit to that person, won’t be who you are thirty, forty, and fifty years from now.
I’d like to finish this blog with a quote from my mom:
“Happy 26th Anniversary to my best friend. So many adjectives to describe our 26 years together… Here are 26 : exciting, frightening, loving, challenging, dedicated, romantic, sweet, honesty, compassion, patience, devotion, laughter, hugs, kisses, trust, children, togetherness, fairness, forever, fun, sharing, tearful, warmth, affection, respect and friendship.”
So my readers, remember to love generously and choose wisely.