My grandparents on both sides were married for more than 50 years. In fact, my mother’s parents were married for more than 70 years having eloped as teenagers. I think most of those years were happy ones for both couples who worked together to build lives they were proud of. My father’s parents were farmers. They worked the land together and ended up owning a couple of hundred East Texas acres part of which they had at one time sharecropped. It would never have occurred to any of my grandparents to get divorced.
Other couples I’ve known who were together that long weren’t happy a lot of the time but it would never have occurred to them to get divorced. Divorce was a rare thing in their generation and when it happened the stigma, especially for women, was enormous.
With the socially acceptable choices we now have to remain single as long as we want and to get out of unhappy relationships, I wonder how many of my generation will be in a relationship for that long. I wonder how many of my children’s generation will do it.
We also have more options as to what our relationships look like. Many kinds of relationships are acceptable today that weren’t acceptable even a few years ago. I’m thinking of openly gay couples, inter racial couples, couples with big age differences, couples who elect to live together without getting married, etc.
We have new ways to connect with people, too. We used to be largely limited to people in our geographical area but the internet has certainly changed that.
While it’s good to have these choices, it also makes us more responsible for the quality and longevity of our relationships than we were a generation ago.
Falling in love is exciting. Those first few months can be intoxicating. Full of hope for a happy future, people start making plans for a life together. What happens after the ‘new’ wears off? Can that initial happiness be sustained over a long period of time? The answer to that question is a resounding YES for the couples who’s stories are featured here. They have all been together for at least ten years and are still very much in love and happy together. I’ve really enjoyed gathering the stories and I think there may be something to be learned from them. The couples sharing what they’ve learned in this blog have been together at least ten years and consider themselves happy in their relationships.
If you would like to participate in this project, send me an email.
jackie at jackiegaston.com