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!