Posted by: Kate | June 13, 2009


I got home a about an hour ago – you all weren’t very nice to Gretchen, with only two comments, and she posted almost exactly what I was going to post, had I been within spitting distance of an Internet connection, so shame, shame – and have to leave shortly for a graduation party. But in the meantime, a point to ponder:

If a relationship (in this case, a marriage) is entirely dysfunctional, with the two players being as emotionally, intellectually and interpersonally as different as two people could possibly be, can it work?

And, if they’ve already been married 50 years, is it worth trying to change anything?




  1. I don’t think it’s any less worthwhile to try to improve a 50-year marriage than to improve a 5-year marriage.
    And sorry, Gretchen! I don’t really do a whole lot of Internetting these days.

  2. Are you describing my marriage in 48 years? I think there’s always room for change.
    And I almost never comment on anyone else’s blog.

  3. It’s the case of emotional need vs. financial need and the need for stability. And let’s not forget the power of habit… we do get used to being with a certain person, and whether or not it’s a “good thing” it’s certainly comforting in its familiarity.
    Then again, I’ve heard this from people who were actively being abused… I guess I’m saying that a marriage is always worth a second look and an evaluation, and sometimes, emotional heavy lifting needs to happen. But it needs to happen on both sides.
    If it doesn’t… I guess I’m coming down on the, “end a 50 year marriage” side, with the caveat that financial security is very important at that age. You can’t just go out and get a job until you figure out what to do with the rest of your life — you have to have your ducks in a row.

  4. I have almost 2000 posts in my reader, so sorry Gretchen!

    I don’t think it’s ever too late to improve any relationship, as long as at least one person is willing. After all, many changes in any relationship happen because one person gets committed to changing something – even their own behavior.

    I also think the only 2 people that really know a marriage are the two people in it, ergo they are also the only 2 people who can change it. Outsiders can provide support and feedback, as long as the participants are willing. But often people get complacent, get used to their roles, fear change, fear things getting worse, fear…whatever.

    My husband and I are very, very, very, very different. Very. Different. A lot.

    It’s working pretty well so far. Check back with me in 20 years…

  5. Nup. Unless it’s your marriage, there’s little you can do as a third party other than point out the fact. My grandparents had a tumultuous marriage for 55 years. Living together, not living together, fighting, hurling stuff yet in the end, they lived together, happily, peacefully resigned and one died within 2 weeks of the other . .perhaps it wasn’t that bad a marriage after all, just misunderstood by others.

    And yaya! I’m a goodie two-shoes!

  6. I’d guess that it is working if it’s lasted 50 years – maybe not from your pov or mine but there must be something there that is keeping them from parting even if that’s only habit. Sorry to Gretchen I did read but had nothing to offer.

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