Keep Your Promises

I have been married for over 53 years, so I am always prepared for people to ask: “What is the secret to a long marriage?” No one has asked yet but when we celebrate our 75th Anniversary at age 97, journalists will be legally and ethically required to pose the question. The answer is different for each person and it changes over time. When I was young, I told everyone that my wife Mollie was a free spirit and planned to run off some day and disappear. I hoped this notion would take root in the collective consciousness of family and friends and help me avoid being the primary suspect if she turned up missing. After the dawn of the Century of Constant Surveillance, going missing became more difficult because we have tracking devices embedded in our hands and cameras recording our every movement. We cannot be erased from social media even if we die.

As the years together add up, I have begun considering whether long marriages require two people with rigid belief systems who stubbornly resist change no matter how strong the case is for flexibility. Or perhaps the secret is merely two people who can never admit mistakes or who are too boring and lazy to change old habits. Mollie is inspecting my draft and wondering why I am trying to annoy those who do not have long marriages and insult the ones who do. We make a great team. She keeps our marriage alive by asking provocative questions like that. And I provide the rigidity by ignoring them.

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80 thoughts on “Keep Your Promises

  1. How wonderful on so many years! Congratulations! This post made me giggle (sadly, my marriages didn’t last,…it’s all good now and I’m fine!) I could write a book on why…lol. My parents will celebrate 59 years in June. I’ve learned a lot from them!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Lol. Congratulations! Whatever the secret to your long marriage is – I’m sure Mollie is too smart to ask and you’re too cautious to show that you don’t know. Perfect harmony – loveable couple. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Good job, Mollie, on 53 years. Just kidding. Even though I only have 43 years of experience in the matter I do know that each person has to be ready to give 110% at any time. When they ask my wife that question she says, “You have to be willing to forgive.” Anyway, I expect an invite to your 75th.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. My marriage – two stubborn people who are too lazy to look for a new partner to do the things the other person does (like grocery shopping or removing spiders or cleaning the toilet or gassing up the car) AND not enough money to maintain two households in the style we have become accustomed to.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I truly cannot imagine being married to anyone for 53 years — that’s not to say I haven’t been married. Once I was married for 12 years. We liked each other and did ok day-by-day. He cheated on me, and I had lost interest in him, so it ended, but we’re still friends. I can see we could have hung together with some outside help which he got after he left me and met someone else. He understood how our marriage had ended. I think the two people in the couple need to value that commitment very highly for a marriage to last.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I used to think a sense of humor was essential, and indeed, it doesn’t hurt a relationship if both can laugh at the absurdity of what couples quarrel about. But at this stage in life, I value a mate who can fix things over making me laugh. I’m pretty good at making myself laugh.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am sure you bring the laughter to relationships. I wish I had not invested in fancy college degrees for my three boys. I need a plumber, an electrician, and an auto mechanic. And it would have been nice if they married a doctor or an heiress.

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  7. Being too busy hanging on to do much more than duct tape and superglue is essential. A friend of mine said β€œMarriage was a great idea when the average life span was 35.” β€œSo how have you managed to make it 60 years?” β€œI quit having birthdays.”

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Wow! You folks are taking this “till death do you part” thing seriously. Congratulations, my friend. I would have thought she would have left you years ago. But it would seem the two of you are a perfect match. Good to be reading you again, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As the years together add up, I have begun considering why I am still married to a man that constantly speaks for and about me. Isn’t that mansplaining? Will we indeed be together for our 55th anniversary, much less our 75th?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mollie, let me explain that mansplaining is specifically talking down to a woman, not the generic patronizing, arrogant, and domineering behaviors you are describing. Complete cures for all these afflictions are extremely rare but a good and patient woman can provoke improvements if given a couple of decades to work with.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You two could offer the world quite an enjoyable and relatable “Reality Show.” The tricky part would be What to Call “IT.” The Real Stamp on Marriage? The STAMPede Show? Just throwing those out there….

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Patriarchy – Why hasn’t the dishwasher been emptied, she doesn’t need another glass of wine, etc.
        Mansplaining – Women should learn the following phrases

        Give me the goddam remote
        I’ll drive
        Are the clothes in the green bucket clean or dirty?
        Remember to hang my blue sweater
        No, I need this $2 to tip the air pressure checker guy at Discount Tire
        I left the frozen tamales, tater tots, taquitos and pizza rolls on the counter
        Pick me up some La Crema while you’re out
        I thought you were going to wash the dog towels
        I took the chip box off the fridge and used it for a planter because you were going to stop buying potato chips

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I can say as our 40th anniversary approaches later this year it really has been humor which has kept us together. The ability to laugh together, as well as the ability to laugh at ourselves. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we do take each other very seriously. Congrats to you and Mollie, and that 75th isn’t that far away!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. 53 years is such a huge milestone!! Yes you guys make a great team, and I think finding Mollie for you, you for Mollie is the gift from the God and reward of you two being good peopleπŸ‘

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I think many people get stuck in routines and fear being alone more than fear a bad marriage and so put up with it, of course not all are like that, some simply make for a good partnership between two people – nicely done to you both for well over fifty years of tolerating each others quirkiness πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  13. You crack me up. “whether long marriages require two people with rigid belief systems who stubbornly resist change no matter how strong the case is for flexibility. ” LOL. You should come to see the Asian immigrant community here, which is filled with cases like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Congratulations Geoff and Mollie! I don’t know how people survive a lifetime together now days. There are just so many options that go right down to core beliefs and values. It’s a challenge. You guys have done good! πŸ’ž

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  15. Congratulations – you both have 20 years on us, so we have our work cut out for us on this end.

    Our secret, as two eldest children, is that we have both been too stubborn to admit that we made a mistake, so we have agreed that we were both right to recognize the other’s brilliance.

    And after he bought a 115 year old house, one son now agrees with me that he should have become a plumber.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Congratulations for succeeding as oldest children. Our difficulty with that same arrangement is that we both think we are the boss. So we enjoy bickering with each other which makes people around us uncomfortable.

      Liked by 1 person

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