Forty-four years of marriage. That is what my parents celebrated yesterday. I am pretty sure it’s both their first and last marriage; looks like this one is gonna stick. I invited them over tonight for dinner, wanting to recognize their commitment to pursue the hardest, most challenging relationship on Earth. Couples everywhere in America give up on Holy Matrimony way too soon. Others wait until the children are grown and then call it quits. Many stay married but live separate lives. Many stay married but live separate lives and date other people, sometimes of the same sex. Some couples skip divorce and go straight to trying to kill one another. My parents fit none of these marital descriptions.
These two are a great fit because they alike in many ways. They both come from Italian Immigrant families who remained married regardless of how miserable they may have been. Both agree on a traditional marital agreement. Dad works. Mom spends the money. Both enjoy gambling so they get away to Las Vegas and The Chumash Casino, in the name of love. Neither of these two can handle mastering any kind of technology. From HDTV’s, cell phones, laptop computers and IPOD’s they insist that they just don’t get it. From what I can tell, they are right. My father has owned a successful company for 40 years, but that old dinosaur refuses to buy a business computer .Technology scares him, as does reading any sort of directions to figure things out. Mom is the same way. Both are comfortable with their generation’s simple ways and they detest change. Both love being around immediate family and adore their two grandsons. These two love the movies, going to the theater every weekend. Neither loves to travel or read, but both love to eat out. Well, just eat, in or out.
Differences are a good thing and these two have plenty. Mom loves to shop and spend money; Dad refuses to shop and likes to save. Mom is a devoted Catholic; I don’t know what Dad is. Mom loves to attend funerals and weddings. My dad, not so much. Mother lives to entertain, my dad lives for sports and playing cards. Mom is patient, Dad has been a patient; having two heart attacks. He is always in a rush; he walks faster, eats faster and gets angry faster than mom. Mom loves to share anything with anybody while Dad is more cautious. My mother can spend days to weeks with her only sister. My dad could never do that with mom’s sister or his own, for that matter. Smoking is dad’s bad habit, it makes my mother sick. Dad tends to wear a uniform of sorts; shorts and a T-shirt, every day. Really.Every day. Mom spices her wardrobe up, but never, ever wears shorts and a T-shirt. They march to different beats of the same song.
They share some common interests, but can still do their own thing. They share friends, yet both have their own buddies outside of their marriage. They share the occasional hug and kiss and the occasional argument. They still share a bed and bank account. They are comfortable doing things separately and it always results in one missing the other. They still share some sort of connection after 44 years, although I don’t understand it. I am thankful that in a world of divorce and quick splits these two have managed to stay together and drive each other crazy.