Being a nurse, I come into contact with a lot of elderly people who have had long-lasting, loving relationships. When I meet these people I always ask the same question, "So whats the secret?" Whats the secret to a long, loving relationship? Whether these people have been married for 20 years or 50 years, or if their spouse is alive or has already passed on...they all have something beautiful and unique to say.
I ask this question because I feel like something is wrong with relationships today. I feel like as a 24 year old woman in this society, I, too, don't have a lot of respect for marriage. I ask this question because I want to learn what it takes to have the kind of relationship that someone one day will ask me, "So whats the secret?" Even though I had an amazing role model for marriage, that is my parents marriage, I still have lost faith in marriage. We don't seem to have the same respect for our significant others that those of past generations have. It seems people just give up and think divorce is the sure fire way to fix everything. But is it really just a problem for todays generation? Is it because women today are finally able to support themselves and a family without the help of a man? Were our grandmothers or mothers miserable but couldn't divorce because of the financial strain it would cause? I hope not. I hope they stayed together because they loved each other and worked through the hard times so they could get back to the good times.
One of my favorite patients was an elderly man whose wife had passed away a few years back. He was very friendly and charismatic, but also seemed so lonely. He told me of he and his wife's adventures in France during the war. He told me what an amazing and independent woman she was. So I asked him, "So whats the secret?" He proceeded to tell me they had made a promise before they got married to never fight about money. "Money or lack there of can cause a lot of problems" he told me. I completely understood. I understand what it is to be stressed about money and if you point blame at each other or fight about who spent what, it will just get petty. So if you're reading this and you're in a relationship, married, or just dating around...take this man's advice. Promise never to fight about money.
Please share your "So whats the secret?" stories. Or if you're one of those lucky people who have a long lasting marriage, please share your secret.
I look forward to sharing what my patients have to say.