The Culture of a Marriage

I’ve known very well many couples who have been married to each other for over 50 years and many couples who are very sweet to each other; those two characteristics do not always go together. As one of my own relatives said, “What’s to celebrate about being married to him for 50 years?”

The culture of some marriages is to argue, to disagree, to fight verbally. “We break up to make up,” as the song goes, and for a few people that seems to work. Not us. We like our disagreements to be resolved quickly and fairly. We understand that one of us must have a better position than the other and we just have to figure out which it is. (The fact that it’s usually me does not always go over well….) Often we simply agree that it doesn’t matter.

But there are some pleasant accommodations that come with a marriage that’s lasted almost 46 years, as ours has. And here’s an example.

Tuesday we each had morning appointments. Steve left before I did. I knew I wanted a few items from the grocery store, so I looked in the refrigerator to see what he needed. Often I’ll tell him I’m going, but I didn’t call him since he was at his appointment and I thought he’d be out all day.

When I got home, Steve had been there a few minutes and was leaving again. As I started putting away what I’d bought, I had to laugh. I put a half gallon of skim milk beside another new skim milk, a quart of half & half beside another new one, and my two bananas joined four that hadn’t been in the fruit basket earlier that morning. Each of us had gotten a few different items as well, but there were noticeable duplications because we each thought the other wouldn’t have time to go to the store.

But here’s what I think is so funny: neither of us has mentioned it! I’m sure he saw the extra bananas and by the next morning the extra milks. But why bother to discuss it? There was a time in our lives that one of us would have said, “Why didn’t you tell me….and saved one of us some time?” But no longer.

Yes, being semi-retired may be part of it, but mainly it’s that we’ve reached an understanding. There’s no use complaining about—or even discussing—something that can’t be changed. Grace and mercy are so much easier to live with than condemnation.

But we’d both agree that there’s a lesson to be learned here. I’m sure the next time either of us stops to pick up some groceries, we’ll call the other one first!

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