In my family I have been raised to love and respect my grandparents above all. They are the wisdom and the glue of my little family and are respected by many inside and out of it. I feel incredibly grateful to have them in my life. They have always been my foundation and safe place, the people I can turn to without fail to listen first and pass their advice with calmness and conviction. This is the relationship bond that I have mentioned before is the only bond I have ever felt unconditional love from. I can screw up beyond badly and I know they will welcome me back with loving arms and work with me to fix the past or situations that have arisen.
They truly are a couple with whom I can very safely say have made each other better people for staying together throughout all the hardships of married life. This year they celebrate their 56th wedding anniversary. Which leads me into the reason for this post; today I was talking to them and my grandmother mentioned that her eldest sister and her husband will be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary next month and that this was something I will never get to experience. I laughed and said there is still time if I live into my hundreds, which got a giggle out of us both. But I could tell there was a lament in her voice when making the comment.
My grandfather and grandmother, were raised to work through all of life’s difficulties together, as a couple. I know there were times that they were not sure they could make it through, but here today, as both are in great health in their 70’s they are a testament to that way of thinking. I rarely seek advice from just one of them, it is usually together that I get the most important lessons, guidance and perspective, with everything but relationships. The lament in my grandmothers voice is not solely focused on me, as each one of their offspring and their offspring's offspring have faced challenges when it comes to relationships. I know it must be hard to comprehend that it is a generational change of mentality that leads to divorce and breakups, especially knowing a lot of the battles that the two of them had and persevered through. You would never even think to see either of them give up on anything or anyone.
I recognize that there are a lot of lessons to be learned from such a strong and unbreakable union. I often wonder if having an open union can ever hope to be this strong or even possibly stronger. I am confident that whatever choice and lifestyle I make there will be love and support from them. In saying that though I am going to maintain my stance of don’t ask don’t tell with regards to relationships and religion. I am an open book when it comes to these two subjects, but I have a funny feeling that as these two areas are so far outside of the box and their ways of thinking it may never get asked.
For them, strength of a relationship is determined by sticking through thick and thin with your partner. I would argue that today's standards have changed to put the priority on the individuals happiness. If the thick and thin is too much to bare then it is now reasonable to go it alone, seeking inner strength versus that of your partner. We have evolved to this mentality for a reason, whatever that may be, so exploration of inner strength and individuality is taking the front seat to the aforementioned long and lasting marriages. In saying that though we must recognize the strengths and reasoning behind the previous generations rational that we may learn with education. I love my grandparents dearly and am so happy to have such a stable example of long term commitment with which to grow and learn from in my own exploration.