About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

M is for MARRIAGE - "I do!" or "I don't!"

These days, I often wonder what it's like to be happily married for 40+ years.  My sisters and I didn't have great role models as parents and our mother encouraged us to become educated so we would have a career to fall back on "in case something happens to [your] husband."  She had been told by her mother that she had "made her bed so now sleep in it."  She had no "out" because divorce was unthinkable in those days.  So we grew up thinking our future was supposed to be marriage and kids. However, we were in that generation when women were starting to realize that there was more to life than just that.  All three of us finally ended up making our own lives and trying to make them as happy as we could on our own. My older sister divorced and never remarried, my younger sister was in a 10-year common-law relationship with an alcoholic until she ended up kicking him out, and I've been widowed after a tumultuous marriage and currently am (permanently) separated.

You know the phrase "for better or for worse"?  Well, which is better - marriage to the same man until you die OR being single (perhaps childless, too)?  Or is there a happy medium somewhere along the way?  I imagine it depends on your circumstances.  If you had great role models in your parents, the odds are you would have a happy marriage.  But what if your husband turned out to be an abuser, an alcoholic, or squandered the money away, putting the entire family into debt?  How much is forgivable and when and where do you draw the line and separate?

If you didn't have great role models in your parents, are you predetermined to fail at marriage?  How do you learn what a good relationship is like and how you should respond in times of difficulty?  My first husband and I went to counseling more than once.  The first time was before we had children and the counselor looked at me and ask if I was a masochist because my husband was never going to grow up.  But I loved him!  So we stayed together and I tried harder.  After we had two children, we ended up at counseling again, where I was told to have a drink ready for him when he came home from work and keep the children away until dinnertime. I actually tried that!  Today I would have told both the counselor and my husband to go take a leap!  But it worked for a while, until it got so bad that my husband would continue drinking until he passed out and I fed the children and put them to bed.  Then I'd spend the rest of the evening staring at the TV. 

After he died, I worked to support myself and my children, doing the best I could under the circumstances.  I never looked at another man until they were grown up and had flown the coop.  One was already married and had had her first child, too.  Then when I met and married someone else, I got nothing but grief from my kids.  That marriage failed disastrously but not because of them.

I'm now single and enjoying life with my precious English Labrador Tegan.  But back to my question at the beginning of this post - what is it like to be married to the same person for forever?  Do friends come and go or do they maintain a circle of good friends for all those years?

I discovered a new sitcom on Netflix that some of you may have heard of - "Grace and Frankie" - about two women whose husbands fall in love with each other and divorce their wives so they can get married.  It stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, two women in their 70s who struggle to deal with their circumstances.  I have been laughing my way through this and it's been making me feel quite a lot better about my lot in life.  One line that really resonated with me was when Grace (Jane Fonda) states how hard it is to make new friends when you're almost history yourself!  But she perseveres and her character's personality adapts and finds joy in her life, as does Frankie (Lily Tomlin). 

So I guess turning 70 isn't so scary now as I know I'm a survivor.  The future is unknown to us all and we all have to make the best of whatever our lives have become.  I have plans for the future and if those plans include someone else, so be it.  If I have to fly solo for the rest of time, so be it. I know I can now count on my "virtual friends" to listen as I share my excitement for each new adventure and to enjoy the tales of my adventures yet to come.

 This is the current love of my life.  You can see how much she adores playing Frisbee!
Thanks to marvelous Roger, our magnanimous administrator and to modest Denise Nesbitt, the creator of ABC Wednesday many moons ago!  Also thanks to the merry band of assistants who manage to take time each week to visit the multitudinous contributors!  Without them, Roger and I would be feeling miserable at the mountainous number of visits we'd have to make. Finally, as we are now about halfway through Round 20, remember that when Round 21 begins, the marvelous Melody will take over the management of being administrator with her own magnetic charm, assisted by two of her friends.  Please get in touch with her if you are interested in joining the team to keep the workload to a minimum


Roger Owen Green said...

As someone whose parents were married for 50 years, and am unsure whether that was best for my mother, I hear you. I was married before; in May, it'll be 18 years with Carol, and I wouldn't have thunk it possible, as they say.

Melody Steenkamp said...

Hi Leslie... I think, every person for him/herself has to find out if the relationship they are in, works or doesn't.

My parents have been married for almost 54 years till my father died, 1,5 years ago. As a little child, and every time since, many times I asked my father why he did not leave that 'very ugly word' behind and start fresh with me and my brother. Like your parents, divorce was unthinkable. The same story goes for my hubbies parents, they were married for 46 years untill my father-in-law died. (my father was 78, my father-in-law 62)

Hubbie and me are married for 33 years now... we have had our difficulties, ofcourse which couple doesn't at some point in time or another, ... but we've chosen to fight for it (and each other) because the love still was there and big enough... in case of that love being gone, divorce is the only (and best) choice one can make, I think.

Still it always is something that hurts ans causes lots of pain... whilst on the other hand I do find it important that every person has the obligation (and right) to be happy and fight for himself instead of fitting in his whole life to another persons thoughts/demands how his partner should be.

I hope you are happy, I am praying for it!

Have a nice ABC-day / -week
♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (abc-w-team)

Trubes said...

Hi Leslie,
Good and interesting post, sorry you've had bad luck with your men, but at least you have your girls and also your two lovely grandchildren...But I don't think there is a man on this earth that could steal his way int your affections as the adorable Princess Tegan has, she's a cracker, and those eyes. oh oh oh !
My first husband was a very heavy drinker, totally irresponsible in every way, and his life was dominated by an overbearing Mother, who just wouldn't let go of her beloved son. Shame, as was he was a clever guy and could have done well without his mother's interference. he worked in the wrong business, in the brewing industry as an industrial chemist, then head brewer of a major beer brewing corporation...he would roll home drunk, frequently, most of the time he was a pleasant drunk, but dare I say anything he could turn very nasty, so for a quiet life, and the sake of the children, I kept the peace. Eventually I cracked, the rest is history! I had been divorced for less than a year and whoosh! my young Prince aka Ian,
came along and swept me off my feet..you know the rest and you have met my him, we will be celebrating our 30th wedding Anniversary in October, this year...Maybe time to party again xx I don't think parents set the standards at all just a different generation that had to go through WW2 so probably stuck together more.
It is good to share your life with somebody special, but it has to be right... Who knows Leslie, it could be third time lucky for you, if that's what you want, best ask Tegan,
Love Di xx
ABCW team.

Photo Cache said...

I married late, because I was afraid I'd be too immature to be married and sustain being married.


Arnoldo L. Romero, MLA said...

That's an interesting question you pose about being "married to the same person for forever." My paternal grandfather died in his 50's, and my grandmother never remarried. My maternal grandmother died in her mid 30's, so my paternal grandfather married again. He was with my step-grandmother until the day he died. My father died in his mid 50's, and my mother never has remarried. Therefore, I can say I was blessed to have parents and grandparents whom were happily married until death did them apart. I've been married for over 26 years, and although we do bicker, we are happily married. There are things we enjoy doing together, but there are also things we enjoy doing on our own. (Like me and my artwork.) We're both overall homebodies, so that helps. We also didn't marry until we were 30 and 31, so we had had our fun... especially me, LOL! I don't know if that answers your question. Blessings!

Murthy K v v s said...

Marriage is a thing where lot of issues involved.Inside and outside.Your writing skills are exceptional.

LindyLou Mac said...

Calling by from ABC Wednesday. Marriage a difficult subject, I just know that I was happily married for over 40 years and if David was still alive it would have been 45 years this month!

Rajesh said...

Earlier for a marriage to last for long time the couple made adjustments and compromises. Now people look for easy way out with divorce.

Hildred said...

My husband and I were married for 67 years when he died. We were married twelve days after he returned from overseas, and had had little time to get to know each other before his embarkation to the U.K. and WW 2. When we were married the words of advice the Canon who married us offered were to "bear and forebear", and they were short enough and to the point so we never forgot them. There was a lot of chemistry there but we both did a lot of forbearing and had a happy marriage. Different times, different goals...

ellen b said...

I appreciated your honesty in expressing your experience and thoughts about marriage. My mother died on my parents 70th wedding anniversary. There were lots of struggles raising 8 kids with a carpenter's income but their trust in God carried them along. Dear and I have been married for 42 years and we have an agreement that the one who decides to walk out the door will get shot in the back by the other one. Oops did I just type that? Marriage is not easy. I'm glad that you have overcome and persevered through your experiences.

Joy said...

I married too young, it lasted about fifteen years, I should have got out earlier! My parents had a long and happy marriage but as you say maybe it was different times. Glad you are enjoying life as it comes with your adorable companion.