Meet me under the mistletoe, 60 years from now.

On the road again…

The following two days of our trip were spent in Sedona, AZ, to visit Taylor’s adorable grandparents, Jean & John. I love these two because they are the perfect, epitomic example of grandparents. I mean it, just think of every characteristic you have ever known any grandma or grandpa to have or would imagine them having, and there they are. They are endearingly old-fashioned, their eyes glaze over with pride when they talk about their grandkids, and you’ve never met two people more excited about card games.

Not to mention that they are the best walking, talking advertisement for true love I’ve ever seen. At one point Jean sat down at the dinner table, and without warning, John got up, walked over to her, and gave her a big smooch on the lips… you ready for this? Because she had just sat down under the mistletoe. She blushed and giggled like a schoolgirl, and it made me so happy I had the urge to burst into applause. I must have looked like a kid at the circus, wide-eyed and gawking at them with a big grin on my face.

Look, there they are! Awwww… (along with my incredibly
handsome boyfriend, if I do say so myself…)
When my parents got together, each of them had been married and divorced once before. Taylor’s parents split up when he was just a baby, and each parent went on to remarry (in one case, twice). Each of the people they remarried had also previously been married and divorced. Between the two of us, we are products of parents and step-parents who have (collectively) been divorced six times.
This isn’t even surprising anymore, in fact it’s become the absolute norm… so much so that when I see a couple like Jean & John – who have been married for just north of 60 years – I feel like I should erect a statue in their honor, give them some kind of medal or ceremony, and parade them through the streets with fanfare and confetti. It’s not so much to just stay married that long, albeit an achievement in itself, but to stay in love that long? To still walk hand-in-hand, still snuggle together when you sit next to each other on the couch, and still fight playfully over who gets to tell a story? Now that’s something to be proud of.
When asked about his successful second marriage, Will Smith once said in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, “What I found is divorce just can’t be an option. It’s really that simple. And I think that’s the problem… there are so many options. So a huge part of the success for [Jada] and I is that we just removed the other options… We’re like, ‘Listen, we’re going to be together one way or the other, so we might as well try to be happy.’”
Now, Will’s later marriage troubles momentarily set aside, I still think this is good advice. I take it to mean: If you go into marriage considering divorce a viable possibility down the road, even just a tiny bit in the wayyy way back of your mind, you will get divorced. Period. Because the only couples who are capable of staying together are the ones who look at it as a strictly permanent measure, and take “’til death do us part” as a literal declaration, not just a general guideline.
I can vaguely akin this to my mother who, when I was little, needed us to hide every scrap of chocolate from her at all times. She was such a bona-fide chocoholic that if she could even guess where to find that chocolaty goodness, she flat-out would not be able to control herself. Halloween candy, Valentine’s Day truffles, Christmas cookies, you name it… She demanded that they be put FAR FAR away from her sight and mind, or else we could expect to wake up to a bunch of empty wrappers the next morning. Whereas if we promised to keep it far from her grasp and conscious awareness, she was perfectly capable of living without it. Same with divorce. If you keep it on the top shelf, or in your back pocket as an option just in case… you’re setting yourself up for failure, and you will not be able to resist the temptation. But if you put it in the attic (or for that matter, don’t have it in the house to begin with), out of sight, out of mind. You’ll sooner work things out than call the lawyer.
…All right, maybe that’s a stretch. Bottom line is, I guess I’m just looking for whatever formula equals me still getting kissed under the mistletoe in my 80s. (sigh)

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