Relationships change over time

By Rose Nolen Contributing Columnist

July 18, 2014

When my friend received an invitation to her aunt’s wedding anniversary, she was suddenly troubled. She couldn’t understand why all of her long anniversary invitations were from older people. It seemed that all of the friends her own age had been married less than 10 years.

My friend is in her late 50s and she has been married for 30 years. The fact that her 70-year old aunt was celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary, she found disturbing. She couldn’t think of any one else among her acquaintances who had been married that long.

This event had provided my friend with some thinking time. When she called over the next few months, her aunt’s invitation was most of what she talked about. Finally, we decided, she needed to get it out of her system.

In the first place, Aunt Gertrude had been the oldest of three girls in her family. Her parents were old-fashioned, and lived in a small town. Her husband, Arthur, had been her one and only boyfriend and they had been dating since she was 16. The young couple had remained in the same small town where they were born. Their experiences had largely been limited to the same friends and the same lifestyle they had always shared. They were both quiet, non-adventurous individuals.

My friend was from a family of four boys and two girls. She was born and raised in the city. Her parents had divorced and her mother had remarried. Her sister and two of her brothers were her step-father’s children. My friend had dated several boys, lived in her college dormitory and been engaged once before she married Jimmy. Most of her friends had lived equally adventurous lives.

Aunt Gertrude and my friend live in two separate and distinct realities. They live in different worlds that are out-of touch with each other. It would be extremely difficult for them to exist in each other’s world.

My friend was generally relieved when she finally figured it out. There was a time when many people shared similar lifestyles. Now, lifestyles are different in many different ways, for many different reasons. Two people sharing uniquely similar ways of life are rarities these days. When two people are able to match up, it’s miraculous.

Many people are sharing 50th anniversaries. Hopefully, my friend will someday be one of them.