As a partner in a long-term marriage (30 years), I often wonder what makes our relationship work. This morning, watching TV while I worked out, I saw an interview with Bette Midler, one of my all-time favorite performers. She and her husband have been married for 23 years. Bette was asked if there was a time when she felt they had consciously decided to make their marriage last and Bette responded (and I’m going to paraphrase here) that she did think that at some point there was a realization that there was something bigger at work than the day-to-day irritations; something bigger to work toward. As I listened to this interview, it occurred to me that looking at the marriage itself as a separate entity is perhaps one of the keys to long term success. There aren’t just two people in a relationship, the relationship itself is a partner and the goal is for both people in the relationship to work toward nurturing that third partner. Sure, my spouse and I have a few issues with each other, but those little day-to-day problems are nothing compared to the greater good of the life, the marriage we have created together. I don’t recall a time when we made a conscious decision that we would make our marriage work, but we certainly realize, with hindsight, that making it work has been a priority for many years. As I look around at friends and family who have successful long term marriages, I see others who have also set their marriage as a priority, others who make the effort to set aside problems and irritations – some big, some small – to create a relationship that nurtures both people as well as the union itself. Perhaps that’s what makes the dweam of tru wov in mawage possible.
(For anyone who doesn't know Buttercup and Westley, the last line is a Princess Bride reference – rent it today.)