Last updated on June 21, 2015 | by Aet Suvari0
55 Years in The Lovebug
I bet the latter is easier to imagine than the first – after all, this is what our parents and grandparents used to do all the time. But imagining something and actually getting something done is not the same thing as many of us have experienced. How to keep a relationship going? How to stay married for 55 years? What’s the secret?
Well, turns out it’s not as mysterious and difficult as it sounds. There was a heartwarming article in an American newspaper Tampa Bay Times telling a story of a couple who have been married for 53 years – and all of those years the’ve been driving the same car, a Volkswagen Beetle that they bought even before they were married in 1960.
The couple’s secret to such a long-standing marriage is simple – you just have to take care of things before they overwhelm you. George and Charlene Gaskill are comparing their marriage to their little old car: if you pay attention to the little problems before they snowball into bigger ones, it’s easy enough to maintain both car and the relationship. As soon as they saw flecks of rust on their car, they took care of it and if there were issues in their marriage that needed attention they didn’t postpone talking about them. Apparently that’s all they needed to have both their marriage and their car in such a top condition even after half a century.
And come to think of it – they make an excellent example of dedication and perseverance. Nobody is saying that our present day society lacks love – or at least the ability to love. We are looking for it much the same way as people have done for centuries. It’s holding on to love and making relationships last that is the problem. It’s easier to let go if things aren’t working very well. Partly, it’s the fault of the modern consumerist state – everything can be replaced easily with a newer, better model.
That’s another point that the Gaskills’ story so poignantly illustrates. Not only have they held on to their marriage, but they’ve also taken good care of their tiny old car. George Gaskill held the same job for 33 years and has lived his whole life in the same house. His take on things is that people discard important things way too easily, throwing them away and thus letting go of precious stuff that could add value to their lives. So not only is this story a great example of long-lasting love but also of sustainability! There is no need to throw out stuff that can still be used, no need to give up friendships that can be held on to.
Holding on to things takes a lot of work but sometimes it’s just worth it. I love the way George explains it: “The longer time you have something, be it a relationship or a car, the more experiences, the more things in common you have. That’s the real joy of our life. Everything we can remember doing, we remember doing together.”