Sunday, August 07, 2016

Marriage: A tribute

We once asked my grandmother what she believed was the secret to a long, happy marriage. My grandparents were then married sixty years. They went on to enjoy a further eight years of bliss, before passing away this year, within a short three months of each other.

Hollywood sells love as an emotional tsunami and marriage as its natural consequence. Airbrushed on-screen couples who fall in love in a flash and then ride off into a passionate flawless forever have become the fantasy models of many modern couples. Ever hear a groom croon in his wedding speech how he “can’t wait to spend the rest of his life with his bride”? Couples gush how they each “complete each other” and imagine that their rose-tinted view of themselves will endure. 

Sadly, when things don’t pan out in HD glossy technicolour, too many couples rush to the divorce courts, intern in therapy and mould a new “me” to market to their next prospective partner.

My grandparents lived in a different matrix. They were wholly different to each other. She was educated, dignified and prudent, and would update her Oxford dictionary for kicks. He was street-smart, a maverick, who shot from the hip- and he couldn’t spell. No, they did not always see eye to eye. Yes, she did roll her eyes at his intrepid escapades. Of course, they loved each other, deeply.

But theirs wasn’t a gushing public romance, nor was it today’s popular quid pro quo approach of “fulfilling my needs”.

My gran’s secret to a successful marriage was simple: “When you stand under the chupah, you need to realize you’re in it for the long haul.”

Thank G-d, I was blessed to grow up watching a couple who knew that for a relationship to work, you each have to work. Hard. Couples would do well to trade in Silver Screen romance for such real- life role models.