Together Forever?

“Two people. Together Forever. It’s just not realistic.”

Those are the words of Jamie Buchman ( aka actress Helen Hunt ) in the popular ’90’s TV show “Mad About You”. It’s always been one of my favorite programs and I do have the “The Best Of …” DVD. The line is from one of my favorite episodes when Paul and Jamie ( Paul Resier and Hunt ) are on the verge of splitting up. Here’s the link to that scene on You Tube.

I started thinking about that scene because of all the people I know who are having trouble in their marriage and all the people I know who have already gone their separate ways. They say half of married couples are divorced. Sometimes I begin to wonder if its higher.

I’m not sure why this is. I mean our grandparents stayed together forever. However, something began to change with our parents generation. Now, those vows that we exchange on our wedding day don’t hold the same significance or power as they once did. For that matter, marriage seems to be less of a commitment and more of a phase for many these days. Think about it. Entertainment publications have their own “divorce” beat writers.

“Together Forever”: I know it’s TV but they did it. Why can’t all of us.

“You put up my my crap and I put up with your crap. That’s marriage?”

More words of wisdom from Paul and Jamie when Paul tries to size up what marriage is. To a degree, it’s true. Date behavior goes out the window once you get married and then it becomes dealing with the differences in your personalities. The funny part is that over time, those small differences are just that: small. The things couple bicker about over time become less significant to the point that you can’t remember what the fighting was all about.

While I come from the Mad About You  school of marriage, I realize that marriage is not the funny and comedic adventure portrayed on television. It’s a wild ride for sure, but it’s not for the faint of heart. It maybe the bravest thing we do and that’s why it takes not only two special people, it takes one special characteristic: the ability to put your spouse’s needs ahead of yours.

The late professor Randy Pausch told us many things in his Last Lecture that leave us a clear road map for how to live our lives but it was something he said later … in this year’s commencement address at CMU … that leaves something for all of us who are married to ponder:

“The reason I waited 39 years to get married is becauser it took me that long to find someone who’s happiness was more important than mine.”

 That, in a nutshell, appears to me to be the secret to success in marriage. Putting the other person first. Some learn that lesson from the start and that’s why they are together forever. Others never learn that lesson and are forever adrift in the search for their partner for life. It seems so easy, but if it was than everyone would be doing it.

Together Forever. Is it possible today? Of course, it is. I certainly hope so. It happened, ultimately, on Mad About You so why not in real life for all of us.

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