As I write today, my 92 year-old grandfather is in a hospital after having a possible stroke. While I’m very worried about him, I worry perhaps more for my grandma. After almost 70 years of marriage, this has to be extremely difficult for her. They have been through every “thick and thin” marriages go through. And though they argue and get frustrated with each other, the one thing that is absolutely certain is that they love each other. I took some pictures of them around Thanksgiving and told my grandma, “act like you love each other” jokingly to get them less anxious for their photo session. She looked at me very seriously and said, “Well, we do love each other.” I know, Grandma, I know. I know because after 70 years, the frustrating little stuff is just the little stuff and being together matters much more than that ever will.
I firmly believe that every committed relationship is miraculous. When two people actually choose to live together despite different histories, different opinions, biases, and with all our human imperfections, how can this be short of anything miraculous? Especially when it is sometimes so difficult to find the one you love enough to choose to overlook all those imperfections……or at least that’s how it starts. Then, for some reason, somewhere down the road, we let the small stuff get to us and the imperfections become bigger than the person we love.
This is when we all need to take a step back and realize the miracle we are in. And we can either destroy the miraculous concept of two imperfect people choosing to be together despite their faults, or we can choose to see more clearly what is a “little thing” and what really matters.
A friend of mine shared an article here about a women who realizes how she was creating an almost hostile atmosphere for her husband by focusing on little mistakes that he made. My friend made the following comment with regard to the article, and I quote with her permission, “I have a lot of flaws and am not the perfect wife, but losing a spouse affected my perspective greatly, left me with some regrets, and changed the way I approach my marriage and treat my husband.”
We never know when we may lose the opportunity to love. That is why we must love always. And, that love must be unconditional.
This is why I love working with couples. I love helping them to see that the “stuff” they brought in is often little stuff that can be hammered out with some good skill practice and they can let the small things go. Most of us in committed relationships are in them because we want the good things that come from good relationships: companionship, friendship, intimacy, and all the other good stuff. And the good stuff really is good stuff. So, take a look at your relationship. Are you letting the little stuff get in the way of the good stuff? I know I do. Everyone does. However, the difference between many failing relationships and successful ones is whether you focus on the little negative stuff or you let it go.
This weekend, let go of the things that really won’t matter in the end. Try to see your partner as the person you love most. And, give a little more love and attention. Remember that 70 years doesn’t happen over night. It happens every day. And that truly is the miracle.
Until next time,