From North America
by Peary Perry
is not all wine and roses,
sometimes its vinegar and weeds."
young lady standing in front of me at the ATM machine was shifting nervously from
one foot to the other. She was obviously waiting for her male companion to finish
his transaction. |
While I'm waiting, I attempt to make light hearted conversation
by telling her …"Surely you're not cashing a check, let him pay your way…that's
what dating is all about…" She looks back at me and smiles with a look in her
eyes of age way beyond her years.
She tells me…"It's sad to say, but it
doesn't work that way anymore, today it's a fifty-fifty world we live in" and
with that she and the guy hop in their car and drive off. I give her a wave and
she smiles and waves back, lost in thought.
wife and I are on our way out of town to an anniversary party given in honor of
some friends of ours who have been married for forty years. During the drive I
begin to think about the differences our society has gone through in those forty
years from then until now.
What the young lady said to me is probably
true; today's relationships are all too often viewed as being fifty-fifty, when
in reality they need to be one hundred and ten to hundred and ten. In fact each
side has to contribute one hundred and ten to one hundred and ten percent if it
has a chance to work for any length of time.
Our society has adopted the
same attitudes toward relationships as we have to fast food. Hurry, hurry, hurry…
if we don't like it...we'll go someplace different. We have become an instant
gratification nation committed to the premise of total personal happiness without
any long term commitments. We have become a disposable society. If this doesn't
work, so what? I can always get another one. Our media pounds us with daily doses
of 'you can have it now…' and 'have it your way'. We are bombarded with more information
than we need about the lifestyles of the rich and famous who move from one relationship
to another in the wink of an eye. Today's true love is tomorrow's court combatant.
It makes you wonder if we are becoming a world incapable of true love. Is it possible
for the youth of today to ever really know the meaning of love without understanding
what goes with it? Even more important, what is required of both parties?
wife and I attended the party and had a great time, later on that evening we were
in our hotel room talking about what it is that keeps people together for long
periods of time. We summed it up in three words, concern, communication and commitment.
Having attended a wedding the week before we were able to think about what we
heard in the wedding ceremony and then look forward into the future to see if
the kids we saw married last weekend will stay together as long as our anniversary
friends this weekend. The wedding vows tell us that we are to be together "in
sickness and in health". That's concern for one another. When people are dating,
the nasty aspects of life rarely come into play. People who have been married
know what 'sickness and in health' means'. It means fevers, vomit, hospitals,
worries along with joy and happiness…all rolled into one. If you have children
it means worrying when they get sick or hurt and crying in relief because the
doctor comes out and tells you they'll be ok. It means holding hands and staying
in there when one of you is facing death or a long term recovery from an illness.
We hear the words…'for better or for worse' when people stand up to get married.
That takes communication. For a marriage to survive, both parties must be honest
and truthful with one another. If you're broke, then you're broke…get on with
your life and figure out how you can survive. If you're scared, and who isn't
from time to time? Then admit it to one another and think about those words you
spoke…marriage isn't just about the good times, it's about the bad as well. I
sometimes think we are the closest when the tough times come around. Relationships
have to have a strong sense of communication to weather the storms of life if
they are going to survive. You can't have flowers without the rain.
final word is commitment. In the marriage vows the phrase is expressed as 'till
death do we part.' That's commitment. That's long term commitment, not just for
week, month or a year, but for life. To look someone in the eye and verbally express
in front of other witnesses that you will love and honor this person till death
do you part takes a lot of willingness to commit to making a marriage work.
long time married friends are an example and an inspiration to us that we should
respect and admire. Marriage is not all wine and roses, sometimes its vinegar
and weeds. But for it to work, as it has for our friends, then we must enter into
relationships with one another for the long haul and an eye on the goal, years
and years away, not just for tomorrow.
John and Carol…good job, well done.
© Peary Perry
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