As I continue in the third year of my new life as a single person, there is a nagging question I keep asking myself:
What is the magic ingredient for a happy lifelong marriage?
It is obvious that I don’t know the answer or where to purchase this wonderful elixir or sparkly pixie dust. But I know many people who have, and who are now celebrating 40, 45, 50, and more anniversaries. I am amazed, and, I have to admit, a bit envious. I contemplate this as I observe my brothers and sister, cousins, and friends who have already celebrated one or more of these milestone years.
As the youngest of four, I am definitely not cut from the same cookie cutter as my siblings. Both of my brothers married their high school sweethearts, and are now enjoying retirement together, secure in their relationships and in a lifetime of memories. My sister married a little later, at the ripe old age of 25, and she and her husband are creeping up on their golden day in a couple of years. I, on the other hand, have had the exclusive opportunity in our family to have two marriages – both long term according to some standards. One was for 24 years, and the second for 19 years. When I said my vows to become a married woman, I fully expected each union would be for the rest of my life. Things didn’t quite turn out the way I had dreamed.
I have several friends who are also still married to their one and only spouse. One in particular speaks of his wife as his beautiful bride. Another displayed a photo on Facebook of his wife, taken early in their marriage, with the caption that she is the love of his life. And yet another speaks of her husband as her best friend, companion, and soulmate. And most recently, a client where I work said to me that he married the girl of his dreams.
And now, here I sit, scratching my head, wondering if there is something inherently defective with me that I am not enjoying my golden years with my adoring husband beside me, or if I totally missed the boat somewhere, and Mr. Forever is out there wondering the same thing as I am. There is no answer to my bewilderment, of which I am fully aware.
I applaud all those couples who found each other, stuck by each other through thick and thin, flourished through richer and poorer, remained constant in sickness and in health, and never let go of the other’s hand. This has not happened for me – yet – and the years ahead of me are shrinking.
There may not be a magic potion or glittery fairy dust, and it’s ok with me. I guess my life is just taking its own unique path, and I am content with who I am and where I am. I suppose I just can’t help but wonder about these things when they are in my face so often. Who knows, maybe some of these people I admire and envy are looking at me and asking themselves, “What is the magic potion for Jennie?”
I guess anything is possible.