“Respect one another.”
“Give each other some space.”
“Trust, understanding and patience.”
The question? “To what do you attribute a long, successful marriage?”
A few years ago, veteran newsman Walter Cronkite was asked about his 60-year marriage to his wife, Betsy. He noted, “We didn’t argue a great deal … neither of us seemed to have the temperament to have to win the argument. We just dropped it when it got too hot.”
Betty agreed, saying, “I always thought that sulking was the answer. It is quieter for everybody … .”
I personally like Odgen Nash’s take on wedded bliss:
“To keep your marriage brimming,
With love in the wedding cup:
Whenever you’re wrong admit it;
Whenever you’re right, shut up.”
These days, “The Wedding” is the topic of conversation for our family. We’re little more than a month away from the wedding of our first grandchild to marry, Jackson. His and his beloved Amanda’s ceremony is scheduled for June 18, a date set more than a year ago. Now, we’re hoping the need for social distancing and face masks will abate within the next month.
Jackson and Amanda are very well suited for each other, but surely all brides and grooms believe that same thing when they tie the knot. In the end, it really isn’t always easy to put a finger on why some people survive years and years together, and others simply don’t.
I have always told our two kids that I believe opposites may attract, but they rarely stay married. Those who know the Houses best would ask, “Then how do you two make it work? We don’t know of any two people more opposite!”
And they would be right.
For example, my husband, Carl, loves snow. Me? I don’t care if I ever see another flake of the white stuff. In truth, I tend to believe that I was born in the wrong geography. Somehow, I got plopped into western Nebraska while my real parents were living in a beach house in Malibu.
But if I was born in the wrong geography, Carl was born in the wrong century. His favorite movies are anything about the Old West with John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart or Joel McCrea. He calls it a “simpler time” – all that riding horses and living off the land. I kind of like modern conveniences like running water and refrigerators.
We have other differences too. I like to travel; he likes the 30-mile radius of Cody. I like to read; he must be “doing something.” I like sitcoms; he thinks they’re stupid. He’s outdoorsy; I’m a pale nerd at my computer.
So, just what is the secret of staying married almost 49 years? Even opposites must have something they like to do together. For us, it’s getting ice cream on a summer night or taking a drive in the mountains or anything to do with our grandkids.
Actually, what the ol’ philosopher Anonymous said about marriage is probably right on target. “A good marriage is like a casserole: Only those responsible for it really know what goes in it.”
For Jackson and Amanda, I think they have all the right ingredients for a happy future together.