It’s my parents 27th wedding anniversary this week. Not a bad record these days!
In an age where the topic of marriage is littered with statistics of divorce and the generational upheaval of the traditional marriage, I think it’s good reason to celebrate and perhaps reflect on the complex institution that is marriage…
My parents were married at the ripe old age of 25…the circumstances of their engagement you might also call ripe.
Both my parents worked in Croxteth – a rather down trodden area of Liverpool in the north of England, more recently famous for its gun crime but even then a place which had the highest level of juvenile delinquency in Europe. 60% of its teenagers were heroin users. My father was a parish minister and my mother a community nurse at the time. They met at a community workers lunch meeting one Tuesday where a talk was being given on “The training of fire service drivers”. In a bit of a Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks moment my father decides to pull the chair out for my mum. Apparently this impressed her enough to contrive a coffee meeting later in the week – on Thursday. On Saturday they had dinner and on Sunday my father proposed. He said he knew he was in love because he could not eat his breakfast cereal – a sure sign he told me! Three months later they married.
27 years later and they are still going strong. I love that story…but all my parents have ever told me since a young age is never to consider doing something so stupid.
I think often as kids, we look to our parents as a kind of indicator to the timeline of our lives…hence as a dreaming eight year old I thought I would be married off with children on the way by now.
I’ve always been a strong supporter of traditional marriage, but nothing puts you off the idea like a divorce or separation in the family. In the last year I have had two of these…both couples whose relationships I looked up to and thought could stand the test of time.
I found myself thinking…what’s the point of it all when the chances are I could end up alone with eight cats and singing Celine Dion’s “All by Myself” on a daily basis.
In moments like these I like to remind myself of something the minister who married my parents said to them on their wedding day…”Every marriage has an element of the sportsman’s bet about it…”
Well if that’s the case I might as well stop worrying about it.