A friend of mine lost her husband to cancer recently. She had been with him for 35 years. More than half her life. I had never met her husband and only knew what she told me about him. As I sat there in the church with a crowd of family and friends I realized that I was probably the only person there who had never actually met her husband, I was there to support my friend. Listening to the eulogy, all the funny stories, the acts of kindness, the praise being showered upon him by co-workers and friends alike about what a great guy he was. I really wished I had met him.
A few weeks later I spent the afternoon golfing and lunching with my friend. I was a little nervous about what sort of emotional state she might be in and how the afternoon might go. It turns out that for as much as she loved her husband she really didn’t like him very much. 35 years together and much of it was spent living separate lives, together. He didn’t like to travel, she did. He was a homebody, she liked to go out, he had few close friends, she has more than she can count, and so many other things. They did not have children and therefore they had the ability to come and go as they pleased. I didn’t really understand how two people could be married yet spend so little time together enjoying their lives. It almost seemed as though they were happier when they weren’t together. This worked for them, no need for a divorce because they were happy with the way things were, mostly. I know my girlfriend had wished they had spent more time together, especially now that he’s gone, but all the shoulda, woulda, couldas doesn’t change the fact that they loved each other in their own way.
I can’t imagine a marriage in which I lived a completely separate life from my partner. I think it would be a lonely existence. But in the end I suppose that in a small way it made it easier when he was gone. She was so used to not being with him that when he passed her life really didn’t change much. As sad as that may seem she was always happy. So I guess we all define marriage in our own way, what one couple does may not necessarily be understood by another, but it doesn’t matter, who are we to judge. You cannot define marriage anymore than you can define happiness. I would not have been happy in her marriage but I can guarantee she would not have been happy in mine.
“Do not judge lest ye be judged”