Recipe for a long, happy marriage
Good recipes for a long, happy marriage can be hard to come by. Some recipes whip up perfect wedded bliss, while other recipes call for too much salt ruining the whole batch.
My parent’s recipe for their 55 years of marriage has always been easy to follow with no fancy ingredients. They took a large chipped bowl (called “home”) , threw in 5 rambunctious kids, a teaspoon of patience, a tablespoon of forgiveness, a dose of hard times (well they couldn’t make it look too easy) and a heaping cup of respect all mixed together with a dash of humour!
There is not one ingredient that makes their marriage so rich and full, but if I had to choose one, it would be communication. They are constantly chatting with each other, asking each other questions and still genuinely interested in the answers after five decades. And if you pull up a chair to their kitchen table, you’d witness their easy back-and-forth banter which is like two people singing in perfect harmony. It’s infectious and fills the air with warmth and this warmth has managed to keep out the cold, all the winters of their marriage.
Growing up I was often annoyed to be woken very early in the morning by my parents chatting about how they slept or what the weather forecast was going to be. When visiting home now as an adult, I find it comforting to be woken by their early morning chats. There’s rarely been silence in their marriage – their marriage has simply been one long conversation.
After fifty years you can imagine it’s not all sunshine and roses. From the small annoyances of snoring, missing toothpaste caps, not asking for directions (sorry Dad!) to the worst experience a parent can endure – the death of a child. So it makes it all the more meaningful to see my parents zip past one anniversary after another, still smiling, still standing proudly side-by-side.
We all want to be heard and acknowledged, especially by our family. It’s gratifying and we flourish when we have the attention of a loved one. My parents have learned the most important marriage skill – to listen with their hearts.
“Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation.” ~ Oscar Wilde
My parent’s marriage has been built on a foundation of love; but the bricks-and-mortar that rest on that foundation is good old-fashioned conversation. No iPhones, no email, no texting for them. Just two people being in the same room, sharing their thoughts and opinions, their laughter, and their love.
I think it’s safe to say after 55 years of marriage they’ve found the recipe for a successful marriage; an extra helping of conversation. The proof’s in the pudding…