I read the other day that if a divorce is going to occur, it will happen at the six and a half year mark. I wondered what was so mystical about this time period and then it hit me…its the marital warranty running out. Everyone knows a car’s warranty expires after 3 years, your air conditioner after 10 years and marriage at the seventy-eight-month mark.
At the end of this time, its as good or bad as it is going to get. A wife has cooked 5,108 meals, you’ve met all of the relatives (even the ones that missed the wedding). Its when you stop becoming ‘company visiting’ and the courtesy that comes with that has faded. You’re husband’s feet smell, the wife leaves the toothpaste in the sink, you don’t hide the occasional gas expulsion, and walking through the living room on a Saturday night and telling your significant other to “Get it on your mind” is considered foreplay.
Children have usually entered the picture at this mark also. They must be watered, fed, educated, clothed, maintained and disciplined.
The goodbye kiss in the morning is one step above getting your Red Cross Recertification for CPR.
At this point, marriage feels like a game of tug-a-war and you are just hoping that both of you keep holding on.
I read about a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary the other day. Maude and John had this advice. “We’ve hauled water to cattle, dealt with no heat, made a chair into a Christmas Tree, raised and educated a family of ten, and watched one of our children die.”
Thirty words for a lifetime of married life.
And then I started wondering; Were there other moments? Did they paint a room every weekend for 6 months in a house they were trying to make into a home? Did they argue about whether the toilet paper should be put on to pull over or under? Did they toast “No Baby this month” or cry over negative pregnancy test?
Did she smile when he started to tell a story because she knew they were going to be there awhile? Did he act like the snoring every night didn’t bother him? Did they worry about the future and what would happen if the other decided not to come home?
Did they really love each other through sickness and health, richer and poorer and for better and worse? How about morning sickness, weight gain, sarcasm, hot flashes, and fevers?
Were they just holding on?
They had to be doing more than just holding on when their child died or when he lost his job or when she was laying in the hospital bed.
Did he ever know she hated peppers but put them in the chicken spaghetti because he liked them? Did she know he hated it when she moved the seat in his truck?
And ten children…how did they do that? That’s a lot of colicky nights, crooked teeth, “Can I’s”, volleyball games, doors slammed, laundry and “How will we pay for college?” questions.
Fifty years…30 words…But a whole lot of holding on!