Tuesday, July 17, 2012

After All These Years

Every Sunday in the NY Times Styles Section, nestled amongst the wedding announcements, is a column called "Vows," where one of the newlywed couples are profiled. After writing it for twenty years, Lois Smith Brady checked up on six of the marriages she had covered.
Love may be blind, but marriage can blindside you. That is one lesson that I have taken away from decades of writing the Vows column . . . The good news is that among the couples who remain together, no one sounded bored or worn out, the way long-married couples are supposed to sound. Marriage has always been portrayed as the downside of weddings. Weddings are glamorous and usually involve weight loss; marriage is dull and involves weight gain. Every bride and bridegroom is beautiful; every husband and wife is exhausted. At a wedding everything is new. And later, is anything new? 

Yes, it turns out. The intact couples I spoke to described their marriages as full of ongoing surprises, challenges and unexpected turns, in some cases hairpin curves — survivable ones. 

The way people look at marriage, and live it, has changed over the years. It’s like farming, once considered drudgery and hard work, but now seen as a soulful utopian adventure.
Marriage certainly involves more effort now than it used to. Once a couple spent the whole day trying to eek out an existence, leaving not much time for chit-chat; now the freedom of supermarkets and technology offer a couple non-stop face time, or countless distractions.

With the ease our contemporary surroundings provide for us, there will also be difficulties; the leisurely life in some areas provide issues to be tackled in others. 

Of the last couple to be profiled, Susan Hawe and Marc Parent:
How do they stay so happy? “If I were to boil it down to one thing, Susan stayed nice and I stayed funny,” Mr. Parent said. “If you can stay kind and keep a sense of humor, man, you can get through anything.”
Kindness and laughter. Sounds good.    


tesyaa said...

I've been reading a little history and it seems that the happiest, most devoted, most fun-loving couple in history were Harry & Bess Truman. Not only that, but their only child, Margaret, adored both of them. You can visit their home in Independence, MO. I'm dreaming of ditching the kids and taking my sister-in-law on a road trip to Independence...

Princess Lea said...

When you said their only daughter adored them, I thought of the play "On Golden Pond," about an older couple who were so absorbed in each other that their own child felt like an outsider in her own family. So the fact that Margaret didn't is very nice.

I'm not leaving the house until the weather gets down to 75!

Sporadic Intelligence said...

Speaking of presidents, Ronald and Nancy Reagan were said to have the greatest love affair (Read the book I Love You, Ronnie for confirmation). They however reportedly had the problem you mention PL, they were so close that their children felt left out (mostly Patty and Ron)

Princess Lea said...

Either husbands complaint their wives are too absorbed in their children, or children are left out in the cold.

Shvil hazahav!

BTW, Mazel tov, SI!

Anonymous said...

Interesting read. Also, to me it was an update of sorts on one of the couples, since I remember reading a book called Turning Stones by Marc Parent quite some time ago (probably close to 15 years ago, so I bet it's out of print) which had a chapter that was about his being the stay-at-home dad for their two little kids and the challenges therein. It's nice to see it worked out for them, so many years later.

Princess Lea said...

It was terrible when she was sick . . . but they made it!