now!I haven’t had a relationship in my life that even came close to thinking about marriage. In this respect, I should not really act as a marriage counsellor. 😀
But already through my profession I know many old people, also many old couples.And since I know couples who after 60 years (still???) are happy together and who are unhappy with each other after 60 years (still???).
Just two examples from my time in the retirement home.
1) Ms. A. came to the home because the care at home could no longer be done.She was wheelchair-free and had a stiff knee. The stiff leg always stood almost horizontally forward when she was in a wheelchair. With the bulky wheelchair nothing went in the narrow old apartment at home. When she moved into the home, Ms. A. was accompanied by her son and daughter. The two of them came to visit them very regularly and took care of everything that had to be done. Ms. A. always asked only for the two children, never for her husband. Since she had no cognitive and intellectual limitations, I simply assumed that her husband could no longer visit her because he was restricted himself. When Mrs. A. celebrated a round birthday in the home after a few weeks, her husband also came to visit. I was astonished to learn that Mr. A. was fit like a sneaker.
I also did many night vigils in the home.One night, Ms. A. rang because she couldn’t sleep and asked me to hand me the cigarettes and the ashtray. She also offered me a cigarette and we talked. Asked about her husband, she laughed and said: “He should stay at home and flirt with the widows in the village. I’m flirting with the Lords here.’ I also had to laugh and realized that this doesn’t sound like the great love. Then she became a little more serious and told:
Yes we were in love.I was in love with a handsome and universally popular young man and he was in love with the pretty, fun-loving young girl. I got pregnant very quickly and then got married before anyone could see anything about the pregnancy. We then had a seven-month-old child and were as proud as all the other parents. And we were just as proud of our second child.
But at some point the pink glasses faded and we realized: We got married the wrong one.Divorce was out of the question at the time. This would have been a scandal, presumably we would have been tarred and feathered, but at least we would have been chased out of the village. So we turned “Good Face” into the “Bad Game”. We played the happy family and everyone went their own way. When the children left the house, I moved into one of the vacant rooms. At the latest from then on, my husband and I were honored neighbors as a married couple. The architect had only made the mistake of not installing an apartment door enough.
When Ms. A. was dying, all her loved ones had come.The daughter, the son, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren and even her favorite brother (who was already quite old) came from about 400Km with his wife and son. The only one who did not appear in the days of farewell was Mr. A. And Ms. A. still didn’t miss him.
Mr. A. was then at the funeral.He made a loose and light impression. As if a neighbor had died.
2) Ms B. came to the home because she needed help from qualified nurses at least every 3-4 hours.In these circumstances, home care was more expensive than home care. And because the family wasn’t so well-heeled, Ms. B. had to go home. It wasn’t a poor family, but they didn’t have it so thick that they couldn’t care less about 1500 euros every month. Mr. B. accompanied his wife at the move in and then came to visit daily at about 9:30 a.m. Ms. B. then sat in a wheelchair and waited for him. The two greeted each other each morning with a kiss. Mr. B. always stayed there until after dinner. He went with his wife to the garden or to the cafeteria and/or to community events from the house. He helped her with food and made sure that he brought her back to us in time so that we could take care of her every 3-4 hours. And that’s what Mr. B. did every day for a total of six years.
When Ms. B. was dying, Mr. B. had a bed placed in his wife’s room and rented as a short-term care guest.He stayed with his wife for almost three days, around the clock.
I could write my fingers sore here with examples of happy and unhappy old couples.And of the unfortunate ones, the example of the couple A. told above is still an absolutely harmless case. After all, the two still managed to live in a peaceful coexistence. I know other marriages in which the two have fought each other for more than half a century.
In my further education as a specialist nurse for gerontopsychiatry, a lecturer once said: “I think it is a very idiosyncratic hypothesis to say that most of today’s old couples married out of love.The opposite will be the case. Most of them had a marriage of reason at that time.”
I have often talked to old couples or widowed spouses about marriage.And it seemed to me that it was often the original marriage of reason that later became happy marriages.
This would, of course, allow the conclusion that this is somewhat lower or lower.has to do with high expectations. A couple who marry out of love look through the rose-red glasses and go into marriage with high expectations. A couple who marry for reasons of reason probably goes into marriage with quite low expectations and then becomes possible. positively surprised. So from the low expectation comes the great happiness later.
I am convinced that this plays a role.But there are also couples in whom the marriage of reason led to misfortune and couples in which the love marriage led to happiness. So there must be another aspect.
Back to the couple B.:
At some point I was present when Mr. B. said goodbye to his wife in the evening.That, too, happened with a kiss. I smiled and said, “Oh, that’s nice when two people still love each other after so many years.”
Mr. B. looked at me and said:
“Still?no! Our marriage was not a love marriage. It was originally a marriage of convenience. But when we got married, we had to promise ourselves: -I will love and honor you until death divorces us!- We did not say at the time that we would love each other at the moment, we promised ourselves for the future that we would love each other. My parents raised me to keep promises, and their parents raised them to do so. And that is exactly what we have done. Now we love each other as we promised ourselves.”
So love, real deep love seems to be a decision.