I am going to get a little personal and a lot philosophical with this post . It is about the state of marriage and my personal experiences with it.
First of all I was forty years old when I got married for the first and only time. During those years, I thought I was destined to be a “single” guy all my life. My Aspie traits were just not conducive to the dating scene, so about this time I was pretty much done with dating. Too many first or second dates only. There was just too much frustration involved in the whole process.
I was a on-again/off-again Catholic during those years, who remembered the words of St. Paul about marriage. He basically said “get married if you must, but it is better to remain single.” It had something about a wife taking time away from praising the Lord. I took those words on faith and convinced myself I was better off without a spouse.
I also read the statistics that almost a third of marriages are broken within five years. My two brothers had already been married twice and my mother was married four times, so I joked that my family had used up all the allowed marriages.
But as often happens, just when I resolved to never marry it hit me in the face. My future wife asked me out on a date to a 1985 company Christmas party and we were married the following April. That four month stretch was very surreal. It was as if someone else was occupying my body.
Skipping forward thirty-three years, I ask myself if I would do the same thing?
But before I give you my answer to that I want to tell you that my Aspie traits demand that I be brutally honest and that fact seem to be taking charge of me in these senior years. Brutal honesty has gotten me in trouble more times than I can remember. So, my honest answer to the above question is:
I don’t know…
One of the difficulties with marriage that last for a long term is that the two people often grow apart in significantly ways. In some ways that makes marriage feel like a stifling thing, especially in our retirement years.
- One person loves to travel and the other hates it.
- One person loves philosophical discussions and the other thinks all that is baloney.
- One person loves change and the other embraces stasis.
- Even many of the once common interests gradually disappear.
How do you maintain a joyful life given those differences? Yes, we had a lot of pleasant shared experiences, but does that tilt the scale?
But then I also look back and wonder if I would have survived this long without someone to help me cope with the difficulties in life. If I had gone deaf alone would I have fallen deeply into depression and maybe suffered the consequences of that dreadful condition. I think the reasons for this post is because of a recent suicide of a nephew in his early forties. He seemed to constantly be trying to find himself and just couldn’t accomplish that. Would that have been me thirty years ago? I really don’t know.
Of course there have been many good times in these thirty-three years. Sometimes it is too easy to forget that when difficulties or differences arise. I know that the divorce rate among seniors is the highest of most any other age group. I kinda think it is mainly because of the two people growing apart.
6 thoughts on “Wedded Bliss??”
I think many marriages fail because of the inability of the partners to laugh at themselves.
Yeah I can see where that would be a problem. I laugh at myself even when there is no one around. 🙂
You can maintain a joyful life if you are both willing to compromise. It really isn’t that hard. Do something your spouse likes even if you don’t just because it makes them happy. And they do the same for you.
Thanks for the thoughts, Donna. My wife is an extreme homebody so she doesn’t see the need to be away from her usual surrounding for more than a week or so a year. Whereas I am an adventurer, I need to go places where I have never been. One factor in this personal journey is that my wife is 80 and I am 72 so the age difference is now catching up to us.
One solution I have found is that throughout the warm weather months I take numerous two to three day trip around the midwest in my homemade RV. That seems to work pretty well for us. But I still dream of living in the Southwest and traveling abroad, and she still dreams of doing the same thing around our now twenty year homestead day after day after day.
I don’t think 8 years is a big age difference. Many people in their 80’s love to travel. Is there anyplace at all she would like to go? Is her health good? If she is healthy and just doesn’t want to go there is nothing wrong with taking a trip by yourself. Lots of couples take separate vacations because they have different interests. At least she is willing to go away for a week.