Their whole lives since getting married in 1937, Helen and Les Brown of California never spent more than a few hours apart from one another. They were even born the same day on New Year's Eve in 1918. And now, after living to the ripe old ages of 94 (and being married for 75 of them), the two have died just one day apart. Even their memorial services were joint.
According to their son, the two weren't perfect by any means. They were different from one another and they had issues like every other married couple. But they worked on them. They prioritized the family and each other and they made it to 75 years. May we all be so lucky.
In a world where it sometimes feels like love is a short-term kind of thing and marriage is disposable, it's so inspiring to hear this kind of love story. The reality is, we celebrate newlyweds every day in this culture as if they were some kind of beacon of love for the world. But, sweet as they are, they really have no idea.
It has taken me more than a decade of marriage to realize that marriage isn't about what happens in the months and years immediately following your fabulous wedding. Those are the years when you are young and tight and there are no kids weighing you down. Those are the years when your free time is yours and you can do whatever you want.
Marriage is about the other times. It's about the times, seven years in, when you are dealing with serious issues involving finances and moving and children and worries, and you still look at one another and realize you are in love. It's about the hours after those times when you find yourself laughing hysterically at some joke your spouse made and realize even though you wanted to kill him an hour ago, there is no one in the world you would rather be with in your life.
It's about the times when your spouse looks at you, still fat and bleeding from birthing your children, and doesn't use platitudes like "you are so beautiful," but instead brushes your hair out of your face and looks at you like you are the only thing he sees. That's love. And it's not the kind that is found in the early years. It's the kind you find along the way, in the moments where you least WANT to love him.
When a couple makes it this long and they never spend time apart, some might criticize or call them "co-dependent." I say otherwise. I say these two found a once in a lifetime love and each knew the other was their best friend, soul mate, lover, and confidant all rolled into one person.
That's real love. That's real marriage. I can only hope I get as lucky as these two and have as many years with my spouse. And I also hope we die just one day apart as well. Why would we ever want to live without each other?
Do you know anyone who has been married a long time?
Image via Rich Bowen/Flickr