The Choice to Stay Together

File0017Yesterday was my parents’ 37th anniversary, so I wanted to celebrate the occasion with a little post in honor of them.

In particular, I want to honor the choice that they’ve made to stay together after all these years. As an outsider to marriage, I don’t know for sure if this is true, but my sense is that marriage is a series of choices to stay together or not stay together.

Sure, you swear to stay together forever, but that promise is only as strong as the people who examine that promise time and time again. It’s only as strong as the choice you make to continue to say yes to one another.

I’ve have the impression that my parents have chosen to say yes to one another many times over the years. They said yes when they moved to Seattle together, and they said yes again when they moved back to Virginia. They said yes when they had me and my sister and brother. They said yes throughout their careers, their ups and downs, their downfalls and successes. And they said yes today.

At least, I assume they did. I better call home. 🙂

Anyway, as someone who hasn’t learned to say yes in that way yet, I think it’s pretty cool to witness my parents doing that. Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad.

3 thoughts on “The Choice to Stay Together”

  1. Congrats to your parents. Yes, it’s to keep saying yes. It’s to keep the other person’s happiness in mind pretty much all the time. It’s about considering your partner’s feelings all the time. It’s about not keeping score or competing. It’s about not being petty about petty things. It’s about not being aggravating or shitty to your partner. It’s about being mature about the relationship. Speaking from lots of lousy experiences and one particularly good one, I can say that if you’re with the right one, you’re not nervous about being married. When you’re a rock solid couple, the relationship will naturally fall to both of you wanting to be married. It’s not just for the sake of getting married. You truly can’t live without the other person and don’t want to! It’s all natural and normal and wonderful.

    • Thanks for your comment, Sarah. I particularly like the point about keeping the other person’s happiness in mind. That seems like another key choice that married people have to make every day. I wonder how much of that is either there or not. Like, I think sometimes we’re surprised when we act in a way that reveals that we really do put someone else’s happiness in front of our own–it just happens, and we’re like, wow, I think I love that person (whether it’s platonic, familial, or romantic love).

      • You’re welcome, Jameyh.

        You simply must keep the other person’s happiness in mind if it’s going to be a success. Otherwise there is animosity and tension and pride bubbling all the time. Pay attention to what you say to the other person. Did you care at all about their feelings when you said what you said? I know many women like to disregard their husband as if he’s too stupid to have an opinion or perhaps they just have no intention of listening to him anyway so why let him have a voice. Men don’t care much for emasculation and embarrassment. Treat them poorly for long enough and even the good ones will one day they’ll find their balls and their voice and leave. It’s even worse if your kids grow up watching the interactions.

        It takes some practice to learn how to consider the other’s feelings both with actions and words. Some of it is putting yourself in the other’s shoes (how would you like it if you cleaned the kitchen as a surprise only to get your head bit off or have some comment about how you didn’t do it right?) Even if it wasn’t done the way you would do it, you still should thank that person and give them a big hug and be glad they felt like contributing. Otherwise they don’t do anything helpful for fear of retribution and you run around like a martyr doing all the chores because your perfectionism won’t allow the other person to help. You really do catch more flies with honey. I used vinegar for many years and didn’t wake up til well into my 30’s.


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