My grandparents were together for 50 some years until my grandmother passed. My mother, who loves to live in a world of fantasy, claims they were happy. No doubt they loved each other, but I also know of the skeletons in the closet she so hard tries to hide; my grandfather had other children out of wedlock; one of them a woman the same age as my mother. I know he left the family for years and when he was ready to come back my grandmother took him back. Did she have a choice? I like to remind my mother when she talks about the "old days" and how marriages lasted, that most of the family friends I remember as I was growing up were either the "other woman" or had affairs themselves or lived unhappy marriages where their husbands openly had another woman. I remember a friend of the family walking her husband every Friday to the bus station where he would take a bus to see his mistress. It was disguised with fishing or some ludicrous excuse, but the wife and all knew where he was going. It was part of their routine.
Was that a happy marriage? It all depends on what you are looking for.
Financial stability, social status, maintaining an image, it’s all important and makes up for a big chunk of what a person looks for in a marriage. Is it enough to sustain all areas of it?
It is for some people.
I am not advocating throwing the towel the instant a hurdle appears on the path of a relationship. There will be ups and downs in every relationship. They are needed to appreciate the good times. I am talking about knowing the difference between settling for less and embracing contentment.
Occasionally I meet a couple who have been together for 40 years and are truly happy. Those cases are, regretfully, rare. For the most part, I see what I saw when I was growing up. Couples that settle for stability, caught up in the façade of a life that doesn’t fulfill them and I realize then not much has changed since then.