Upon being given the assignment to interview a couple on their opinions as to what makes their marriage successful, I had first thought to look to my employer. A family friend, whose home is full of laughter and lighthearted banter, had appeared to me as the best person to talk to. But as the deadline approached and I didn't have time to meet with her and her husband, I turned to a couple that might be able to give me a deeper insight. Married for 43 years, my grandparents had much to say.
I approached my grandmother first with the assignment, and when I got both my grandparents in the room she started off with all the ideas. “You have to love someone, but you have to be friends too.” She then added that it’s helpful to have the same interests. “Since we retired, we like politics." When I asked “what else,” she replied, “lets see... We do things for each other without being asked. There are some things that are gender oriented but hey, we can do whatever.” At one point in the discussion, she commented, “I love sitting here and trying to think.” Other small things that were mentioned were that “having kids and a family” can help to keep a marriage strong, as well as having “enough money to not worry about things.” She elaborated that they aren’t rich, but are able to live comfortable due to years of both her and my grandfather working. My grandmother concluded with “be willing to compromise, even when you’re stubborn.”
When I asked my grandfather, he had a witty answer at the ready with a laugh. “Let me say [that] if we really knew, we'd copyright it and we'd be millionaires." A lot of what he had to say went off of my grandmother’s ideas. On politics he added with a smile, “fortunately, we're on the same side.” At one point he added, “respect each other and each others opinions.” He concluded his points with have a “good sense of humor, [and] be able to laugh at yourself.”
I loved talking with my grandparents, as they tend to complete each others sentences and ideas. I think that their marriage has lasted so long not only because they raised four girls and get to help with raising six grandchildren, but because they had a perfect relationship of their own to look upon. My great-grandparents celebrated almost 71 years of marriage, being shy of only two days when my great-grandmother passed away last year. I think that if there was a handbook that was copyrighted with ideas on “what makes a marriage successful?” it would have friendship as the key point. As my grandmother said, being friends is extremely important. I agree because I see that it builds trust, communication, understanding, and love... everything else will follow as it should. As I grow older and start to build a serious relationship of my own, I will be sure to keep in mind everything that my grandparents said. I know that when the time comes I’ll find a husband and relationship that will be just as strong as both my grandparents and my great-grandparents.