No examples of note
Of all the examples of I could learn of my parents and close relations, some mentors, others benefactors, mostly successful and respected people, I cannot quite remember if any set an example of a happy married life.
All that I seem to know about people living happily ever after, apparently comes from fairy tales, princes and princesses with no talk of the squabbles, the arguments, the pain, the tears and the break-ups and the not so break-ups.
How it affects us
Somehow, it is the not so break-ups that are probably the worst, where observers, usually the children live under a tension cloud of knowing something is wrong without being taken into confidence of the problems and the friction.
We are told that they are involved in a sacrificial life of being together for our sakes, yet through what we see, hear and feel, we are left worse off, bereft of the necessary tools to start rewarding relationships of our own later in life either out of fear or foreboding.
Divorce never really came into the picture, rather it was a kind of desertion of the most cruel kind, the spouse of the youth when the man was still being made, is supplanted by another, probably younger and more beautiful in a bizarre rediscovery of virility and excitement. Much acrimony is left in the wake of such activities, yet by the force of tradition or of resignation, we find ourselves accepting the unacceptable and thereby perpetuate and tolerate the reprehensible.
Doing it over again and again
Which brings me to the legend of Burt Bacharach who at 87 performed at Glastonbury in 2015 and was interviewed recently where he talked about his 4 marriages.
Each marriage lasted 5, 15, 9 years respectively and the current one is in its 22nd year, which gives a married lifetime of 51 years. It goes without saying that he has had time to reflect and in his words, he said, “He never meant to hurt anyone.”
However, more profoundly is the advice he had for his two youngest children, to the man of 22, he had this to say, “Do not to stay in a marriage that isn’t working. Whatever it costs and however much emotional damage it might cause, you have to get out, because you only have one life.”
To his daughter, he said, “Don’t get knocked up in college.”
It goes without saying that whilst he does regret the break-ups and divorces, the hurt, the pain and much else including the unfortunate suicide of a child, on the possibility of having a marriage that could have lasted 62 years, 50 years or 33 years all off which ended somewhat unhappily, he seems to have now had a good 22 years of marriage.
In other words, if it is not working, it really is not working – get out of it and find something else that might well work. You only have one life and you can have a happy one too.