At times I think of people who have had starter marriages. It always seems a sad term to be used in our society. But the fact remains there are far too many of them–those first marriages that last five years or less and ends without the couple having any children together. I guess we should be glad no children were created as that would just add to the sadness of the divorce.
Coming from a home where marriage was meant to last, (my parents would have celebrated 60 years together at the time of mom’s passing) and coming from my own personal experience of a relationship/marriage going on 20 years, there is strong recognition that the totality of events that unite two people makes for the best path to happiness.
I know of what I write as James and I have spent more time together than most couples ever will. Other than when he was in front of a college classroom (about 8 hours a week) our days have been spent together. Just this weekend we mentioned that the idea of being bored is something we have never experienced as a couple.
This weekend I read an interview in The New York Times with Bob Newhart. He was asked about how to make marriages last.
You and Ginny have been married for 56 years. Incredible in this town.
It is and it isn’t. Among comedians it’s not unusual. Buddy Hackett, Jack Benny, George Burns, Alan King, they all had long marriages. That’s why I think laughter is the secret to longevity of relationships. If you can laugh you can get through it.
I can completely–100% echo–Newhart’s statement. Laughter is so much a key to life and healthy spousal relationships.
I recall many years back very late at night James and I got into one of our laughing jigs. We were talking about some event or other and the giggling started. The laughing grew louder. The old lady who then lived in the upstairs condo started pounding on the floor to stop any sign of merriment. Failing that she then started slamming doors. Which only made our laughter the richer.
Smiles and laughs take place in this home soon after waking up and continues well into the night. I often ask James if “anyone else on this street is laughing like this?” We tend to think not. We also know that loving the simple things in life is the key to being content and happy. From loving the fireflies in summer as darkness sets in, to the long walks and country drives I think couples miss so much by not laughing along the path of life together.
As young couples prepare for marriage and attend counseling classes, I would suggest the religious figure in charge of the meetings devote time to the need for laughter every day. That should not be a new concept or one hard to understand. But clearly, with the high rate of divorce from starter marriages, it is a lesson needing to be learned.
And so it goes.