Awe, persistence, and delight.



I am quite fortunate to come from a family of lengthy marriages. My paternal grandparents were very much in love until the very end when my grandfather passed away from cancer. A few summers ago, I spent some time with my grandmother and she showed me a picture of my grandfather. He had passed years before and she told me how she missed him and how she would never understand why he had chosen her. But she felt lucky that he had.

My maternal grandparents have been married for sixty years now. Between countries and cultures and languages, they remain together. When I'm home, I can spend hours with them, just listening to stories of their early years together. Luckily for me, my grandfather is not one to spare any detail. This past visit, we had only made it to the early 1950s by the end of the afternoon so I brought him lunch the next day to hear more. I don't believe we made it out of the 1960s. I adore my grandparents and their never-ending arguments. They simply cannot agree on who my uncle's doctor was in the 1950s and will most likely argue it out for years to come. But it's astounding to realize that they have all those years of details and history that no one else knows or remembers. And I cannot imagine one of them without the other.

And my own parents' marriage I admire to the utmost. There's this mutual agreement that they are just fine the way they are. Well aware of each others' faults and limits, they not only accept those faults, but they find them endearing. When I read a description of my personality following an exam for work, I quickly phoned my dad to share it with him. The extent to which it described my mother was uncanny. He laughed as I read and tossed in his own examples. While the profile was actually a bit harsh in its description of anxiety, my father's tone was anything but. With a laugh and an "Oh yes, that is most certainly you, your mother and your grandfather," he affirmed the results without the slightest tone of judgment. 

Adrian and I have been married just over three and a half years. One of the joys of marriage is if we don't have it all figured out quite yet, that's perfectly fine because there are many more years ahead to continue working at it. In the years to come, I'd like to take a bit of all of these marriages I admire and integrate them into my own. That awe that Adrian could have picked me. That persistence of togetherness across countries and cultures and languages. That utter acceptance and, better, delight in each other's limits.

Yes. Awe, persistence, and delight. I'd like my marriage to be marked by awe, persistence, and delight.

6 comments:

  1. Lovely piece! You're so lucky to have so many beautiful examples of strong and happy marriages. My own parent's marriage wasn't so great (it ended in divorce), but I too am grateful for the example of loving grandparents who were in love and working hard on their marriage and fidelity and love for each until the end.

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  2. I love this!!! and the quote is awesome!

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  3. Thank you! I happened upon that quote the other day when I was reading and I loved it.

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  4. Growing up, I didn't realize how rare it was to be surrounded by so many strong marriages but as an adult, I definitely recognize what a gift that is. It is so encouraging to be able to look at marriages and to see what has made them work all these years.

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  5. oh YAY I love this! it's both frustrating and wonderful to see bits of my father or mother in myself (and bits of my MIL or FIL in Jon) and to wonder how that will affect our marriage in 10, 20, 30 years - we bring so much of our past and our heritage to our relationships, like you say, and it's kind of awesome in the old fashioned sense of the word to think of it like that!

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  6. This is so beautiful and encouraging, Emily. And I love those three characteristics you highlighted. Precious!

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