I was watching Entertainment Tonight the other day.
Now, that is not a show I would normally be watching, but it happened to be on and I was too lazy to change the channel. No, I take that back. I was waiting for Last Man Standing, and it just wasn't that important to me to change the channel.
Anyway, I was watching Entertainment Tonight, and they were doing an interview with Jane Seymore, who recently celebrated her 62 birthday. The topic of her recent separation from her fourth husband came up. Afterwards, when they cut back to the studio, the person who had done the interview remarked that Jane Seymore had had four long and happy marriages.
I was both shocked and saddened by this statement. Four long and happy marriages? They can't have been too long, because she's had four of them. And if they were so happy, why did they end in divorce? In the interest of full disclosure, I suppose it's possible that one or more of her husbands passed, but frankly, I'm not interested enough in Jane Seymore's marital statistics to google it. And I'm saddened that Hollywood -- and thus the American culture-- seems to accept this as the norm.
I know some people that Hollywood could take a lesson from.
This is my aunt and uncle.
Aunt Martha is my dad's oldest sister. She and my uncle will be celebrating their 68th wedding anniversary next month. I'll let that sink in a moment.
Sixty eight years. They had already been married 6 years when Jane Seymore was born. They are both in their 90s now, and their health is becoming a struggle, but they are still as much in love as the day they married.
A few years back, when Aunt Martha was visiting here, she told me the story of how Uncle Lavergne had surprised her coming back from the war.
Yes, THE war. World War II.
This was before they were married. She knew he was coming home, but he'd told her that he'd be home at a later date. She was working as a bank teller, and rode to work that morning with a coworker. They had to park about two blocks away, then walk the rest of the way to the bank. She told me that she turned the corner and saw my uncle standing there and, psewwww off into his arms she ran.
Her boss was kind enough to give her the day off, and they went and spent the day with his mother. At this point in the story, my auntie looked me straight in the eye and said with all seriousness, "And that was a good day."
Aunt Martha's health is gone now. She's like a newborn baby in many aspects. My uncle has to pretty much do everything for her. He has to dress her, and bathe her, and change her Depends. He could put her in an old folks home, but he's not going to do that. She's his wife and he loves her.
Aunt Martha's mind is pretty much gone, too. She doesn't know who anyone is. Half of the time she doesn't even know who my uncle is. She just knows he is the man who takes care of her.
And she knows that she loves him.
And that's all that matters.
I have a friend, Amy, whose husband has a horrible, horrible debilitating disease called neuromyelitis optica. It attacks the spinal cord and the optic nerves. It has robbed Gary of his sight and most of his ability to move. If he can walk from one side of the room to the other, they consider that a good day. Most days, he can't even hold his head up straight. Eventually, the disease will claim his life.
Amy has to do everything for Gary. Everything. She has to get him out of bed and into his wheelchair. She has to bathe him and dress him, and make sure he takes his medications, and at the same time, support the both of them with her own screenprinting business.
She works herself to exhaustion, and worries herself sick, but you will never, ever, ever her mention that anything she does for Gary is a burden. You will never, ever, ever hear her even so much as hint that Gary is a burden to her. What she does talk about is how much joy he brings to her life.
And how much she loves him.
And that's all that matters.
You know, maybe someday I'll get married again. Maybe not, I don't know. But if it turns out that marriage is part of God's plan for my future, it won't be Hollywood, or the pop culture that I look to as a role model. No, I will look no further than Aunt Martha and Uncle Lavergne, and Amy and Gary Clark.
It is these two couples who have taught me what marriage is truly all about.
Jane Seymore could take a few lessons from them, too.