Sixty one years. That’s how long my grandparents have been married.
That’s why when Katy Widrick asked, “What does inspirational really mean?” I thought of them instantly.
Sure, triathletes and marathoners and Ironmen are inspirational. But anyone who is or has been married will tell you that sixty one years of marriage is like running a marathon every weekend every single year. It takes hard work, dedication, and commitment. Lots of times, you wake up and think, “Why did I sign up for this?” Sometimes it leaves you exhausted. There are even times you wonder how you could possibly keep going. But you do. And throughout it all, there are amazing moments that make it all worth it. The ones where you realize that you couldn’t possibly have it any other way.
My grandparents joke that the reason they have lasted so long is “whoever left had to take the kids.” (They have seven children.) Having spent years watching them interact, I can tell you with certainty that this is not the case.
I have never seen a more selfless woman than my grandmother. She dotes on people with affection, kindness, and generosity. It is all straight from the heart. She goes out of her way to make sure all of her children and grandchildren know they are loved. (And all equally, of course.) I remember sleeping over at their house as a child and mentioning to my grandma that I wanted cereal for breakfast. When I woke up, every kind of cereal they had was neatly displayed on the kitchen table, bowl and spoon waiting for me beside them. If doting on her loved ones ever gets old or tiresome, she never lets it show. My grandmother definitely shows her love through acts of service.
My grandfather is a proud, mostly serious German man. He values his family and the family name is important to him. As he ages, I have seen him become more expressive with his emotions. But as long as I’ve known him, his love for my grandma has been clear. His eyes light up when she walks into a room. When he tells the story of how they met, his whole face lights up. His smile is from ear to ear as he animatedly shares that he was so ticked off that my she wasn’t available the first time he asked, and he fully intended to “date her until she was hooked and then drop her like a hot tamale.” Well played, Grandpa. Well played.
I will forever be in awe of their solid marriage, and I’m sure I will spend my whole lifetime trying to measure up to it. (And my parents’ marriage, too! Thirty three years, people.) The older I get, the more I appreciate the hard work that they have put into their marriages to make this possible. Marriage is the most fun I’ve ever had, but it’s also a whole heck of a lot of work.
And man, sixty one years is a long time.
So who do you admire? Who inspires you? Do you agree that marriage takes a lot of work?