Marital Bliss Forged Through Toil
Two stories of marriage involving well-known persons appeared in national headlines the same week in January.
When I saw the news about Bezos, I felt the same kind of sadness as I did almost a decade ago, when former Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, called it quits after 40 years.
Both times I wondered: How could you invest all that time, pain, adjustment, and effort in something for so long, and then say, “Sayonara?” Discussing Bezos’ split soon after the news with a grandson who works at Amazon, I commented, “To me, it doesn’t matter how much money you make or how much you’re worth if your marriage goes south.”
No Easy Explanations
Of course, having known more than one couple whose marriages fell apart after more than 20 years, I am aware there are no easy explanations for such dissolutions.
I know people who are divorced who didn’t want to be. Yet because their spouse went off the deep end in one way or another, they are no longer married.
That’s why I hope the forthcoming marriage of Tebow and Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters is one of those that lasts.
Every time some well-known power couple’s marriage dissolves, another couple not known much beyond their Facebook friend list thinks, “Why should we bother?”
Well, for one, because there is nothing better than having a history together. I say that on the cusp of my 40th anniversary, which arrives in 10 days.
There has been more than one time when I sensed doubts over whether it would last. As with any couple, we endured our mutual spats and disagreements that occur whenever two completely different people try to merge into one household.
Things That Don’t Really Matter
Once one ventures into marriage, you discover a series of things that don’t really matter—be that looks, money, fashion, or family background.
Getting down to the nitty gritty of daily life with another flawed human being is a challenge requiring love, patience, and putting one’s own desires in second place if you have any hope of the match enduring.
I remember the time more than a decade into marriage that I experienced a fit of pique and frustration. Emotion bubbling up inside, I thought, “If anything happens to this marriage, I’ll never do this again!”
I can’t say I’ve changed my views any on that topic. Still, I’m glad I didn’t yield to the temporary anger.
It’s why I tell every young couple when I have the chance: “Sometime in the next five years you will think, ‘Why in the world did I do this?’ When that happens, relax. You’re normal. The feeling will pass. Just keep going.”
My parents were married for 42 years before my mother died of cancer. My wife’s parents lasted almost 60 years before her father’s death.
Years after their passing, we deeply appreciate the legacy they left us—examples of forgiveness, patience, effort, and endurance.
No matter what your history, though, the decision to make a marriage is work is solely up to you and your spouse. After 40 years, I can assure you the effort to continue will be worth it.