I wanted to share a story. Before Wizard and I got married, we were required by his church to go through their version of pre-martial counseling. What that turned out to be was several evenings with an older, and presumably successfully married, couple.
We were assigned a couple named Bill and Maureen.
At the time I was barely 20 and Wizard was 28. We knew everything already, of course. But we respectfully humored our “elders.” Over six weeks, Bill and Maureen graciously hosted us in their home and led us in discussions. They taught that a successful marriage was built on The Three C’s, which were communicate, communicate, communicate.
Wizard and I “graduated,” and while we truly liked them and found them quite interesting, we didn’t think we really needed any guidance. And yet, those “lessons” stuck with us over decades of our marriage. No matter how good or bad things got, we always remembered The Three C’s. We also kept in touch with Bill and Maureen, occassionally visiting them. Every year we’d get a Christmas card from them with updates about whatever adventure they’d had that year. They had a largish family, traveled when they could and seemed genuine in every way possible.
As each year passed, Wizard and I came to respect their advice, and appreciate their efforts with us, all the more. Without even realizing it, we were trying to follow their example.
Then the day before our anniversary this last weekend, we were both sitting in the garage on a break when I got a phone call. It was Bill and Maureen’s daughter sharing with us that her parents had passed away. I told their daughter how much of an impact they’d had on our lives, and she told me something truly startling: After 65 years of marriage, one of her parents passed, and one day later, the other passed. They hadn’t been sick at all.
And now they are together in eternity.
So when Wizard and I went to dinner to celebrate our anniversary, our waiter asked us the secret to a long marriage. Wizard and I looked at one another and answered, “Communicate, communicate, communicate.”
Then we raised our water glasses in a toast of gratitude to Bill and Maureen.