Here I am at my Grandparents’ house in an Undisclosed Location. (a clue: it’s in the USA). They live in a town that’s about the closest to the ideal of Small Town Americana that I’ve experienced. There’s the Methodist Church, the Lutheran Church and the Catholic Church and all of the parishioners at all of them know each other. They’re all great friends. They have Bridge Club and an old fashioned Main Street that still operates (although they did put in one of those hideous new-fangled water-towers). It’s really a pleasant place to be, if a little quiet and sleepy at times. Really, the only thing to disturb the peace is the somewhat harmonic sound of crickets and cicadas.
Here’s the thing. My Grandpa built his own house and they still live in it. They both do. I want to talk a little bit about the Glory of Married Life and no, I don’t know this from being unmarried and just now twenty. I get it from some great examples and the one I just noticed, almost for the first time, was my Grandparents.
As I said, my Grandpa built the house that my Grandparents still live in. Not only that, but he tells me he did it without drawing plans. He was a carpenter by trade, I guess, which explains a lot, but I think it’s telling that someone was able to build his house from scratch. He was a man of industry and skill and he had polio. As much as I’d like to rant about the lack of whatever we lack nowadays, I’d instead like to talk about Marriage.
A lot of people think that marriage is impossible, and if not impossible at least impermanent. Yet, my grandparents have been married for….62 years now and counting. That’s a lot of years. I don’t know how they did it because I haven’t interviewed them, but from observing them, this is what I gleaned:
1) They know each other’s sense of humor and love it. (and when it does irritate, they understand that this is something the other finds funny and is not offended) I think it really says a lot if two people can quietly but snarkily mock each other and love each other for it. I certainly hope I find someone who will not Flip Out when I lovingly tease her.
2) And this is related, they know when to just let a comment pass. It almost seems like selective hearing loss, but I’d say it’s a lot more helpful than hearing it, getting all up in arms and starting a debate. Or maybe it just is hearing loss, but I’ve heard enough of it to think otherwise.
3) They let each other do what they need to do. Not that either of them are like running a country, but my grandma cleans and cooks and runs errands and grandpa helps in any way he can. They both need rest and they both give each other the time they need.
4) They know how to reprimand each other lovingly. I don’t know if I’ll ever have this skill, but hopefully I will.
5) They both demand respect, just like royalty. And although I know this the grandson’s perspective, they must have gotten practice with each other.
I hope one of these days to be married, but until that time when I find “a suitable partner” (I’m sorry, isn’t that just terribly social-sciencey of the New American Bible?) I will continue to look at models like my grandparents and try to grow in the virtues necessary for marriage.
(Photo: Not my Grandparents, not taken by me.)
(Title of Post: Reference to a Song written by Me which, speaking about certain types of love, says “A white heart is when you’re old”)