The secret to a happy 40 year marriage- apparently it is all about friendship (who knew?)

I’m at the pool, at this magical place known as Plantation on Crystal River watching my son do his quadruple flip when I can’t help noticing this really great looking older couple sitting a few feet away from me. They are both silver haired, in fairly athletic shape and I notice they are holding hands and gazing into each others eyes. Of course writing a blog like Married my sugar daddy I felt compelled to ask them if they were married.

They proceeded to tell me  they are married 40 years ( as the husband stroked the small of his wife’s back – yes I MELTED). So  I asked them what their secret was, and they told me “We are really great friends”.

So is friendship the secret sauce to a lasting marriage? The truth is I am  fascinated by the institution of marriage- the ability to live, breath and exist in the same space for so many years with the same person and find your happily ever after. As kids we are spoon-fed ridiculous fairy tales some of which were conjured up by a man named Disney (who I might add was never married himself which begs the question- who the hell was he to tell anybody what happily ever after was supposed to be?!) and so many of us have a cockeyed view of what marriage and happily ever after is truly supposed to look like.

While I can’t speak for my husband , who I hope is not living out his years married to me in quiet desperation, I can say that my version of happily ever after at 25 and the one I now hold dear at 39 are vastly different. I think part of entering into this marriage contract is realizing that as a person there is a really good chance you will develop and grow- which no doubt will change your perspective on everything on life including your marriage. When I married my husband, he was a 40-year old double board certified practicing physician.

Fourteen years later he has decided to hang up his stethoscope for good. Has his decision impacted what I perceived to be my happily ever after?  In a way yes- not having that financial security which I thought was a given and was part of the happily ever after picture I’d painted at 25 was initially disconcerting. But his decision and his need to grow and evolve and find his passion have also inspired me to dig deep and resurrect my goals that kind of took a backseat to his career. I think, half the battles of maintaining your happily ever after in a marriage is realizing that it is FLUID, and that in a marriage as life throws you those unexpected curve balls- you will need to adjust your attitude and plan accordingly- and yes, your version of happily ever after. And sometimes, when you least expect it, that happily ever after while perhaps not Walt Disney’s version, can be almost as magical.

I look at this couple who I’m sure had their share of marital issues and yet 40 years later they are still together…so tell me- have you had to redefine your version of happily ever since you got married?

Comments

  1. says

    Yes it is! I’m so happy I married my best friend (almost 10 years ago :)). I just posted a note to you gals on Love Project Marriage. Now sure if you guys are still blogging there.

  2. says

    My husband and I have been together now for 45 years — and will be married 39 years in May. It’s true — and it’s a great post, Melissa. The truth is that EVERYTHING is fluid – change is the ONLY constant and learning to live with someone with that as truth is beautiful and sometimes irritating as hell! LOL

  3. says

    The mystery of marriage …
    My parents have been married 48 years, he calls her Dollface, they bicker like teens but couldn’t live without eachother. My husbands father is now on his third wife … and mine appears to be following suit having left recently, because he would like something different.
    I thought we would be friends til the end of time …
    Maybe I should have listened to Walt, skipped college and married the first prince who came along ;)

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