This weekend marks the thirtieth wedding anniversary for my wife and I, which many consider quite a milestone, particularly in an age where 40-50% of first time marriages end in divorce. We've already had a lot of people congratulate my wife and myself on this achievement as if we had just swum across the English Channel. Frankly though, we don't understand what the hubbub is all about. After all, this is what we signed up for and we're in it for the long haul. As an aside, I tend to appreciate anniversaries more so than birthdays as I, at least, had something to say about getting married.
My wife is one of three sisters, all of whom have been married for over thirty years and I have always wondered why we've all stayed together for so long. Politically and religiously the families were all quite different, but this didn't seem to impede our relationships. Although we all met and married in Cincinnati, our parents came from different parts of the country and had different interests. There were no professional similarities between the fathers either, as there are none between the brothers-in-law. Most of our parents all knew each other and socialized but were not considered intimate friends. No, the answer must be elsewhere.
All of the parents had been deeply committed to their spouses and were there until "death do us part." Two sets of the parents even celebrated fifty years together, another major milestone. Come to think of it, most of our close friends have all been married for over thirty years as well. One might conclude that the concept of marriage as an institution was indelibly impressed on us by the examples set by our parents, and reinforced by the people we gravitated towards, a sort of a "birds of a feather" phenomenon.
The sisters are all uniquely different. They may have their highs and their lows, but they still remain committed to each other. Interestingly, their husbands all get along rather well and enjoy each other's company. Whenever my wife and I return to Cincinnati we all get together and have a great time. While the girls get together and do their thing, the boys will sit down and share a cigar, a drink, and talk politics, work, kids, and whatever else is on our minds. We've developed quite a kinship.
If I were to attribute anything to the longevity of our marriages I would have to believe it has something to do with how we were all raised by our parents. My wife's parents tried to instill proper ethics and discipline into their daughters, and I would like to believe their husbands' parents did likewise. I see us all as being rather responsible people who pay their taxes, take their work seriously and try to lead honorable lives. But I think a lot of people would accuse us of possessing archaic beliefs and are now out of touch with the mainstream. This may be so, but what we've learned from our parents we will hopefully pass on to our offspring. I just hope our own kids can make it to 30 and beyond and, like us, beat the odds.
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at email@example.com
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